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Evelyn C. Fortson

African American Author of Women's Fiction


When you were just starting out on your independent life. The life that you would have under your own roof. Could you have imagined that you would have gone through so much and still be standing. Sometimes when I look back over my life, I wonder how I got here.

The first part of my life was good. I wore homemade dresses, ate spam sandwiches, but yet I didn’t know that my family would have been considered poor or lower income. There was nothing poor about my childhood. My early years were full of laughter, people, music, fights, loud characters, and loving parents. My parents shared their home with others even though they had six mouths to feed. People and sometimes families stayed with us until they could get a job and find a place of their own.

My life was pretty easy, even when I left home and paid my own way. The life lessons that I learned were hard from a young woman’s perspective. But they were nothing compared to what I would endure in my latter years.

Sometimes I sit down and look back on the things that I have been through. The things that could have made me give up. The things that could have destroyed me and I thank God for his grace and mercy.

When I graduated from high school, I had no idea who or what I wanted to be. So, I did the practical thing and worked 40 years at Los Angeles Superior Court. It wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always hard. I am thankful for the opportunities that job afforded me. I was able to support myself and my son. But it wasn’t until after I retired that I found myself. In my sixties I have become a writer of African American Women’s Fiction. So, the things that I went through, and things that I saw other women experience have all worked together to allow me to find myself. I can not tell you how cathartic it is for me to write these blogs and books about the African American Women’s quest for love, joy, peace, and the answers to who she is, and how she came to be in the place that she finds herself.

My books examine the complexities of women’s lives as they go about living their lives. I hope that you are entertained by my work, and I hope you will find something of value in it.

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We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, ----

This debt we pay to human guile; ….

The poem, "We Wear the Mask," by Paul Laurence Dunbar, still rings true. There once was a time that we wore the mask to insulate ourselves from the attacks and the ugliest of hateful people. We would slip on the mask as we left the comfort of our homes. The mask was an unspoken tool that we used to retain our humanity and protect our hearts.

As a child we witnessed how our parents were at home and how they were in the world. As we grew up and ventured into a world where people assumed things about us because of the color of our skin, the shape of your lips and the length of her hair, we too slipped on the mask. But today more of us are wearing the mask everywhere and all the time. Some of us are unable to remove the mask even in the presence of the people that we love. Because people have hurt and disappointed us, we don’t trust anyone, and the mask has become more than it was used for in the past. The mask not only covers our pain, tears, disappointments, and fears, it keeps us from being ourselves. The mask can keep us from revealing who we are to our children and loved ones. It can also keep us from knowing ourselves.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

We wear the mask.......

I agree with the above stanza of the poem, but that applies to the world. We have to let the people that matter the most to us see our tears, disappointments, fears, and failures. We have to acknowledge to ourselves that we hurt, that we have been disappointed and that we have missed the mark.

It’s not always easy to take off the mask, but to me the mask is a tool that I use when needed but is not how I live.

Do you wear a mask and if so, do you remove it with the people that you love?

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Are you listening to the world instead of someone that loves you? The younger women who are letting social media guide them may want to talk to an Auntie.

Auntie can be used as a term of endearment or as a nice/nasty way of putting an older woman down. Either way you want to use it, sometime Aunties have sage advice. We Aunties have been there and done that. We know that there is an expiration date to bootie shorts and dropping it like it’s hot.

Back in my day a menage-a-trois was the most adventurous thing that a guy would try to talk you into. Now, menage-a-trois are quite pedestrian. Girls today are letting guys talk them into doing all matters of things sexually. Polyamory is being sold as a sophisticated form of sexuality whereby all parties involved are sexually free, happy, and honest. But Aunties will tell you that polyamory is a pimp move. Polyamory is just another word for dating. If a man tells you that he’s dating other people; he is telling you that he is having sex with other people. And that’s fine in a dating situation, that’s being honest. But if a man tells you that you’re his woman and he want to be in a committed relationship with you and have sex with other people… Baby, he’s just using pimpology on you. He isn’t committed to you; he’s committed to himself.

Aunties would probably tell you to respect yourself enough to not go for the okey doke. Aunties have lived life and have been down the road that you are travelling. They can tell you about the emotion harm, trauma, unwanted pregnancies, and sexual diseases that may also be waiting for you if you choose that path.

When I was coming of age my mother didn’t talk to me about womanhood and relationships. I had to figure it out on my own. Even my peers didn’t talk about our worth, we were not that enlighten. But with age hopefully there is wisdom. So, seek out an older woman that you respect and ask her how it is that she made it to where she is now. That woman if she is not your mother will be affectionately known as Auntie.

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