Mama’s Best Advice:Words of Wisdom Digest
And I’m still growing: Life is not a 50 yard dash, it is a marathon. When you get it, you become a winner.
by Wandra Chenault, MSW MamaSezWisdom™
Langston Hughes’ poem Crystal Stair is like my brief biography. I am an African American black female, fathered by a Pentecostal Minister, my father was often physically absent but always mentally inescapable. He lived a dual life, professing Christianity while moonlighting in Islam. My father was a man whose wife operated like a single mother. So growing up, I got a lot of mixed messages.
There was a whole lot that happened in the gap of being the child of an entrepreneurial minister and his missionary wife and becoming a psychotherapist. The gap was filled with obstacles, challenges, confusion, struggle, hardship, reflections on childhood traumas, depression, polysubstance abuse, alcoholism, sexual molestation, teenage pregnancy, failed marriages, low self esteem and domestic violence, in no specific order.
Seasoning is something you can add to enhance flavor, I’ve had lots of seasoning as I’ve grown into this person.
I GREW INTO THIS PERSON
The process and the processing of my past contrasted with how I see today and my vision for the future all gives deep meaning to the idea that I grew into this person. And, I am still growing. Growth is something we think about when we think about children but, growth is a lifetime process, if we allow ourselves to keep growing.
I’ve learned to appreciate the power of gratitude as I’m able to continue to recover from the past, as I continue pursuing my journey into the future. Gratitude has also been the impetus for some of my growth. Everyone doesn’t recover from the disease of being black, a female and “poor,” (a debated subject when we compare what is wealth). Despite all the horrible experiences I suffered, I was instilled with values – and even amidst those instilling those values there was doubt and mixed messages but, these values penetrated me and my ultimate desires. Faith-Family-Freedom, entrepreneurship, ownership, education, decency and modesty were core values. I’ve learned to add “and the greatest of these is love” beginning with self love.
Most of us want to become our better selves—best at what we do, better at who we are-being “better” is the improvement we see as success, while being best is the epitome of success. Unfortunately, many of us look across the room and see someone else who seems to have or be so much more than we do or am and, we can tend to think what we have to offer won’t make a difference: We see ourselves, our personal accomplishments as insignificant in the scheme of things. But, our accomplishments as well as our losses and failures can make a big difference to ourselves, others and how we see ourselves and the world. When we decide up front that it’s not going to make a difference to ourselves or our families, community or to the world because the impact didn’t set off a blast – it’s like believing that each tree, each flower, each baby’s cry doesn’t matter. The tiny bird that sings outside your window on the that single tree that gives you shade natters. We all have something good to offer to ourselves and humanity, even if it’s a lesson on what went wrong, what not to do. We don’t always know right away what that thing is. Sometimes it takes what seems like a lifetime to hone, to realize or to bring our break-through to fruition.
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