Since I tend not to have the most objective and clear view of myself and blogging is about putting oneself 'out there', I wanted to try this and am attempting to add another level to your getting to know me. I asked that the guests write about me and how they view me in acknowledging, accepting and living my blackness and they have free reign to share.
It only seemed fitting that my mom - the woman who's known me the longest and loves me most - should go first.
Guest Writer: Mary Ann Collins, #1
Relationship to Regina: Moms
Favored quality: Tellin' it like it is no matter what.
This is a really good thing you're doing Regina, connecting to your "Blackness." It sure puts things in perspective for me, I was too protective over you and not involved enough through those formative years and was not concerned too much about the kids you were growing up with to notice that you were disconnected somewhat. The only thing I wish to offer in defense of my inability to see clearly how you was struggling is that the effort you made toward fitting in the society forced on you by no choice of your own was incredible. I am very thankful to be able to say I didn't once go to Kromery Middle School or Middleton High School because of anything you wasn't doing. Your behaviour was a reflection of our love for God, each other and the way we loved you in the home provided for you, we supported your choices in whatever you wanted to do in both places. How can I ever make you understand just how much it hurts me to know that somehow I missed a very important time in your life helping you grow into that special "girlie" that your daddy always referred to you as when talking to anyone about you. I pray that God will forgive me, and you can too for my shortcomings of not helping you to love the skin you're in, and to embrace your beautiful brown eyes that twinkle when you laugh, your perfectly placed teeth, your gift for gab - an inheritance from your dad, your hair which was perfectly placed when God gave you to me on February 9, 1973, every curl was perfect. Your continued success came through dedication and hard work you put in and by the acceptance of Jesus according to your own understanding.
You have made some beautiful choices that I know of, and as sure as I breathe I know you've made worse choices too, even more than what I will ever know about, its as it should be I believe. God is teaching you better in these later years better than your dad or I could have ever done. I am thankful for the opportunity to have introduced you to Him which feeds the desire that drives that insatible hunger you have for more.
We had to deal with the fact that you were younger than your peers too, just as smart or smarter as most yet younger and not allowed to do what they were ready to do. You didn't make the decision to skip a grade, that decision was made by your dad and I, after letting Mrs. Phelps talk us into it. Mrs. Phelps was your baby sitter who ran a private academy the Florence Jackson Academy in Atlanta, Ga, when she went to the academy she'd always take you with her and put you in the classes with the other young kids just a year or two older than you and you began to absorb the teachings. By the time you were ready to go to school you were already doing the work of a third grader so why bother putting you in the first grade to just get "bored", is what the test results showed and the principal of Bob Mathis elementary school assured us this would help keep you focused. We listened to the suggestions and followed them, nobody was more proud than your dad and Grandma Collins. I on the other hand was trying to be the voice of reason with the what ifs, it didn't work.
You left Middleton High School and went to the University of Madison where choices still needed to be made and you knocked down some sterotypes there too. I was absolutely sure that you were indeed a trend setter and not a follower. During the next four years of college was not much different than what we aready knew about your ability to sieze and conquer anything that seems too high, too big or just plain hard. The difficulties you faced during these years were hard for you Gina yet you endured. I still admire you for the courage to endure the hardships of friendships, the disappointments, the misunderstandings; all the times you held back from speaking about your inner fears. My heart breaks that I didn't see your actions and reactions clearly, or anything you did as weaknesses, you were just plain strong.
And then after all that came yet another hurdle, you met your first husband. What a ride. More later. Mom