The Thoughts, Ideas, and Updates section is for the posts that don’t fit into the other categories. It will contain thoughts (random musings about life, my feelings and opinions on currents events, how they affect my life or perspective…), ideas (talking about possibilities of the direction of the afro.girl.beauty, personal goals I want to achieve…), and updates (updates on personal things that have happened to me that impact my life).
Today, I want to talk about how about two weeks ago, the biggest shift in my life thus far happened and how it’s affected me.
My Grandma, Inez, passed away.
My grandmother, along with my mother, are the foundation of the person that I am. My grandmother stopped working to help raise me while my mother worked. All of my childhood, the routine after school was to be dropped off at Grandma’s and stay there until my mom came home from work. I would come home to Grandma’s, knowing a warm hug, a good dinner, and a place where I did not have to worry about my social anxieties were waiting for me. Growing up, I struggled with self-confidence, insecurities, and social anxiety. I was painfully shy and quiet. I could go days without really talking at school. I am a naturally reserved person today, but I have full confidence in myself and my abilities. Back then, I was constantly crippled by the fear of what people thought of me and making the wrong move in their eyes until the point where I would just be choked into not saying anything. I felt uncomfortable being myself, denying myself of so many things, opportunities, and just fun and enjoyment. And the fact that some kids (and honestly adults and people in general) prey on that type of personality to make themselves feel superior didn’t help. Also, the fact that I had quirky interests in music, shows, movies, and video games as a growing black girl made me feel even more alienated. I felt out of place almost everywhere except home. And home meant either my house across town….or Grandma’s house. Grandma’s house was my haven of peace and comfort.
Although there so many memories of Grandma that fly through my mind, there is one thing that strings them all together. When I think about the family gatherings, the big Christmases, the Easters and Mother’s Days where her, my mom, and I would wear coordinated outfits, the dinner that would be waiting for me when I got home from school, the friends of the family’s kids that she would help take care of at the same time, the making sure we did our homework, the playing in the small backyard, me coloring or drawing in the bathroom or under a chair, my cousins and me playing on the computer I got in middle school, her calling me to get something, her face and voice when we did something wrong, her home-grown, tough, and resilient spirit, her stories about our family history, her sweet Southern generosity that she showed her family as well as strangers….
There is one thing that ties it all together. That thing is love. Pure, spiritual, true love. The love that let’s you know that there is something greater than yourself. The love that even though when someone is gone, it carries on beyond their physical being. So that there is not a void, but a space that is filled with peace and hope for the future.
When I found out Grandma left this world, I was devastated despite knowing it wouldn’t be much longer. Even when she became very frail in the last two months we had her, just knowing she existed was enough. When she would look at me and half-smile or hold my hand when she really couldn’t speak anymore…I knew I was loved. There was no question.
While I will miss grandma tremendously, she is always with me. She will be with me in everything I do. She taught me to love me for me because she loved me for me. She showed and made me feel like I was enough and I deserved. Period. And that as a young black woman trying to navigate life and make a place for herself is priceless.
Mom was upset once she realized her celebration of life would have to be on my birthday, January 13th. But I told her she did the right thing. She was thinking of Grandma. And I believe everything happens for a reason. At her service, I was able to speak with a clarity about what she meant to me that I have never been able to do before about anything…much less in front of an audience of people. The confidence I have today and the strength I have is because of her existence. I know I can achieve the life I want and do the things to make it possible because of the love and sacrifice that has built me.
When I was helping out clean out her apartment and give away her possessions earlier today…it kind of hit me that all the stuff we try to amass in this life is so temporary. We stress over this and that, and having the latest whatever, or this person having more, or looking down on that person because they have less. We stress over who doesn’t like us or what someone might think. When your life on Earth is over, you do not take anything with you. The only things that lasts beyond the grave is love. It’s the only thing that will matter in the end. The love you showed to someone…or the lack of love. It’s the only thing that lasts.
I am 25 years old now. I have a more concrete vision for myself than ever and I am not afraid to see what’s for me and to face the road ahead no matter how challenging it gets. I have a motivation like never before to just live and achieve and experience things on my own terms. Most of all, I realize that my biggest goal is to actively show people, especially the people I truly love and care about, the love that Grandma showed me. I want the legacy of love, strength, toughness, resilience, kindness, generosity, and faith that she has established so it can be passed on…like she has passed it on.
Thank you Grandma, for everything.