Mama Raised a Black Woman
M.A.M.A How you think you got that way yo MAMA.... yeah yeah, Yo MAMA! - Part II of a sister piece with Ashley Henry, a friend that I have yet to meet ...
In Spite of and if no one else does. I do.
That assurance is how my mother taught me to not just love myself but to love and believe in everything that I was capable of. She was and is still the inventor of sacrifice. My biggest supporter, front row fan, and first best friend.
Many people don't know that from preschool through eighth grade I attended private school. Yea, Mama paid for me to go to school before I was even really old enough to attend one. This is probably my favorite flashback and random fact about me. Living In the middle of what you’d consider to be the hood - my home; we rode the metro every morning to the other side of sixty-third street. I was dressed in head to toe blue... sometimes red blouse, plaid skirt, black loafers, frilly socks and a mommy in hand.
You'd think that is where my love for books and adventure outside of my own little world began but It started well before me with her. Many people also don’t know that mommy has three degrees, yea three. The last one I watched her walk across the stage and receive.
Associates in Arts
Associates in Applied Science
Bachelors in Social Psychology
Single mom, three degrees and a daughter in private school. Fine, I may get my overachieving from her too. She did her part in raising me on a foundation that was strong. I was built with above average reading scores, a member of the basketball and cheer team and a frequent attendee of sleepovers at the nice house ending with next day drop offs to my side of town. This is when I learned the difference between having and not. Mommy exposed me to two worlds and that exposure still fuels my desire to be on the side that looks different from anything I have ever seen.
After the school I had spent eight years attending closed its doors due to financial issues I was abruptly re enrolled into another private school. I cried everyday on the way there... begging mama to let me go to a school where I looked like the other kids. I wanted to ride a freaking yellow bus and throw away that damn skirt. Economically it started to make sense and the next year I was enrolled in my first charter school. The adjustment was a lot for a girl entering into her teenage years. I got my first set of gold teeth, don't judge I promise Grillz by Nelly was trending at the time. I saw my first fight. I had my first fight..which led to a suspension. I would go on to tell people I was expelled; that wasn’t true, the girl just beat me up enough to where I was too embarrassed to ever go back.
Thankfully, returning was not a decision left up to me,and the following week I was placed in a school for youth with behavioral problems. I know right, one little measly fight and mama had me in alternative school. An alternative school is a place for kids who are labeled "bad" , expelled from traditional schooling, have a history of behavioral issues or like me have dramatic mothers. Yes, apparently the answer is to just group us all together in a building until we figure it out. Another story for another day.
Admittedly as far back as I can remember my future was made a priority, the focal point of her life; and school was the number one thing she did not take lightly. Ever.
I remember a time when I resented mama for not being able to buy my first car or write a check to cover my tuition. Now at twenty-six I've matured to understand that she invested in me something too expensive for any price tag. I have been gifted zero patience (my biggest blessing and curse) and a love that no pink slip, late notice or broken heart can take away... determination. Powered by being the recipient of hand me downs not handouts, metro stops not four doors, and long hours that I learned how to work from watching her.
How do Black Mama’s teach their daughters to Love, Grow, and See themselves when the world has sent a different message?
When people assumed they"knew" me by those few syllables pronounced in Dye-Nee-sha; after being corrected, capital "N" no apostrophe. They decided what was probable for my future and said "start here, then maybe be good enough to go there". Mommy said, over and over again, one opportunity after the next, “YOU BETTER GO GIRL” ! She'd given me permission to become whatever I could dream, and when that vision surpassed her understanding; she never told me to be practical...dream less. Annette was and still is an expert at investing in her daughter. Raising me with little to nothing yet finding a way to give me everything is the purest of magic, and a gift I wont understand until I'm raising a daughter of my own.
M.A.M.A How you think I got this way, My MAMA... yea yea, Thank you MAMA!