“Because you are beautiful and smart, there will be lots of people who don’t like that, and they will show you that they don’t necessarily like that. Do you know what you’re going to do?” she asked. “You’re going to smile and wish them love…and then you’re going to keep being beautiful and smart—because that’s what you’re good at.”
I was 6 years old when my mother explained this to me.
It was her “haters are gonna hate” speech.
It was and still is my favorite teaching by her.
She’s the type of woman you want by your side when things hit the fan. This is slightly due to her ability to step up to the plate when it gets tough.
As the oldest of six children, she was essentially raised with the ideology that the safety and care of others comes before that of oneself.
Sure, she’s selfless and her music taste is impeccable; however, those aren’t my favorite qualities.
She’s this huge figure in my life because of one simple yet necessary quality: she’s unapologetic.
My mother is loud, she’s feisty, she’s passionate, she has the mouth of the sailor, she fights for what she believes is right and she sees the beauty in moments or situations that others are absolutely blind to.
She’s not sorry for any of that.
From early on in my childhood, there was tons of commentary on who I was or who I was going to be from friends and family.
I remember my mom constantly reminding me that I never needed to be anything that I didn’t feel comfortable with.
When I noticed I had a small squeaky voice, she reminded me to refrain from letting myself, or anyone for that matter, make me feel small.
When I noticed I had a darker skin tone, she reminded me to always feel comfortable with the fact that it glows in the sunlight and looks flawless in my favorite color of orange.
When I noticed I had a much more extensive vocabulary than the other third graders, she reminded me that I wasn’t abnormal and could use the opportunity to share with others the cool, new words of the day.
This was her thing. As all mothers have a “thing”—the one thing that makes them superior from all the other mothers—this was my mother’s thing.
She consistently reminded me to embrace every single thing that made me different. To this very day, my sister and I are reminded to never apologize for what we are.
Today, because of my mother, I am reminded to remember how loved I am by myself. She’s allowed me to remember how hard I work and that I’d be damned if I let anyone else’s perspective of myself to stand in the way between me and what I deserve.
My mom has shared this priceless superpower with me. For that, I’m perpetually grateful.