Mashonda Bares All, PART II (Pg. 3)


Have you been able to speak to Alicia since that dinner?
We don’t talk. We don’t have any business talking unless it has something to do with my baby.

Tell me more about this house.
We moved here in 2004. This was his dream house. We moved here with hopes of fixing everything… we needed a new roof, we needed maintenance. We bought this house knowing it was a project and that he had to fix it, but this was his dream house and when he left, he let it fall apart. Black mold, leaks everywhere. Not only was I dealing with that and them, [but] I had to deal with how my son and myself were living. When the marriage fell apart, so did the house.

Is this house under his name or both of your names?
It’s our house. But I just need to get out of here. There are just too many memories, and it’s just too big environmentally [Laughs].

Have you been getting your alimony and child-support payments?
Everything is perfect now, but there was a time where shit was a little rocky. At first there was an issue, but now we’re in a good place. He realizes it’s just something you have to do. It’s a part of divorce. He is really trying to be a better person to me and he’s doing an excellent job at being a better dad. But I still have to get out of this house. It’s too big and I just want to start over somewhere new; some place that has absolutely no memories of my marriage. I’m really excited to leave. I’ve been packing for months.

You’re currently working on a memoir,
Death of a Mermaid. I’m sure there’s a story behind that title.
When this all happened, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I sat in my house for a year. By the second year, I had things more in perspective. I figured, okay, writing is what I did when he met me. Death of a Mermaid stems from my pool. When we first moved in, the pool needed renovation. We had pool specialists come and show me all these different tile samples and I said ‘I want a mermaid in the pool and I want her to look like me.’ So I had them create this mosaic at the bottom of the pool. When [Swizz] left, he stopped paying the pool payments. So my pool became a swamp and my mermaid died because I couldn’t see her anymore. And every time I walked down my bedroom stairs and looked out those big windows, I saw the swamp. It made me remember the good times and the mermaid and how happy I was when I created her. The mermaid represents me. People automatically think that the book is going to be about [Swizz and Alicia], but it’s a spiritual journey. It’s about a young girl growing up in Harlem with nothing but dreams. Struggling. Scrambling up money to get on the train and go to the studio. Doing all these different things without a manager, getting a deal and being involved in the whole beginning of commercial hip-hop. My book is about my life and coming into my own. Even experiencing… Should I say it? [Hesitant] Experiencing… situations with music industry guys and how they treat women.

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