A Legacy of Strong Women

Lessons Learned from my Grandmothers

I am always surprised when people describe be as strong and courageous.  I often do not feel that way.  Sometimes life seems to hit me hard and I fall down.  However, regardless of how hard life hits me or how high the hurdle I always seem to get back up.  I know God has my back and without him I would be nothing.  However, it was just recently that I realized I come from a legacy of strong women.

As a child I was fortunate enough to have both of my grandmothers around.  My maternal grandmother was too sassy and kool to be called grandmom, so we called her Momma Connie.  She passed away suddenly when I was 15 years old.  My paternal grandmother was more of the traditional grandmother.  She could cook anything and would talk about everybody.  She would crack me up.  She passed away last year.  Both of my grandmothers were bound to say anything.  They would speak the truth and let you know exactly how they felt. 

So sometimes when I have a hard day, I think to myself what would Momma say or what would grandma do.  I often have to remember that my grandmothers were a force of nature, so I have to tone down how I think they would respond.  Nevertheless, even when I am not thinking about it, I do or say something my grandmothers would.

One day I remember making a mistake and frantically apologizing to Momma about it.  She told me, “ You do not need to say sorry.  You do not need to apologize for anything.”  On that day, I learned I was entitled to make a mistake and not only was I entitled to make a mistake, I did not have to apologize for it.  Now, I am not saying I am reckless, but I am also not going to beat myself up for failing or making a mistake.  I try not to dump down on myself, when there are plenty of people in the world ready to do that for me.  Often times we are our own worst critics. I learned from Momma not to criticize myself for the ups and downs of daily life.  I am not always successful at doing this but when I start to feel self-pity or think poorly about myself I hear Momma’s voice telling me “You don’t have to apologize for anything.”

Grandma showed me how not to be bound by social norms and stigmas.  She understood her worth.  So once her children got older she left an abusive marriage.  She took the journey of being a single woman.  Although, it was very stigmatized in her time to be divorced.  She did not let society dictate to her, who she should be married too or the treatment she should tolerate.  She defined and set her own standards and boundaries.  I use her life as a lesson as why not to enter into relationships for the sake of just being in a relationship.  I recognize the importance of being in a relationship with someone who not only compliments me, but also makes me better.

My grandmothers taught me many things such as: how to make potato salad, how to bake pound cake, how to tell somebody off, how not to back down from a fight, read someone without them even knowing it, and how to be a strong, brave, courageous woman.

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