As a child, one of my favorite movies was Crooklyn. The Spike Lee joint gives a glimpse of coming of age and rearing a family in 1970s Brooklyn. It is unfiltered and unapologetic. I couldn't wait to watch it with my daughter, hoping she'd have the same feelings rise up inside of her. I must admit, it was hard to actually watch with her. She's use to fairytale cartoons and carefree musicals. This was contrastingly heavy. She wasn't quite grasping the love amongst the chaos in this movie. Instead she asked, "why was the mom so mean?", "why are they always fighting?" and ofcourse "why did their mommy have to die?". I tried to explain that people show love differently, that family dynamics, no matter how chaotic they may appear to be can help shape one's character and that sometimes mommies and daddies have to say goodbye too soon on earth, but never from our hearts. She wasn't buying it. She enjoyed the movie for the great soul music and because watching it made me happy, but I could see that she wasn't envious of this loud but loving family and its crazy colorful neighborhood like I was as a child.
After watching powerful scenes in Crooklyn with a different set of lenses, I thought about how dysfunction can become part of our normal expectations, not just with romantic relationships, but even familial ones too. It'll take some time to unpack normalized dysfunction, but I wondered how many times, like "Carolyn Carmichael", did I take on too much only to let stress eat away at my physical health and mental peace. How many times did I hurt my child's feelings with catchy comebacks and defensive actions? Or perhaps like the movie's matriarch, I simply refused to sugar coat life for my child because I want my words to stick and my impact to be felt. Maybe I want my child to know that love isn't always sweet and soft, being perfect isn't real and that parents make mistakes, but we learn and grow everyday.
As the movie credits play and she sits between my lap while I finish retwisting her locks, I decide in our crazy, colorful and sometimes chaotic love story maybe I can be both soft and hard, sassy and sweet. And that's okay too. #Crooklyn #SpikeLee #ImperfectMom #ImperfectFamilies #LoveIs #huntsvilledoula #doulas #hsvdoula #Huntsville #doulasoul #doulasofcolor #blackdoulas