One of the things I learned early on is that if you take the sweet, you will have to swallow some bitter. Just the way it is. A few weeks ago I was at a book conference and when I was done speaking one of the sisters asked, who mentored me, since I mentored so many. For several minutes I was speechless.
Because it occurred to me that in the past several years I had been left mentorless. My mom died in 03, my godmother in ’04, my aunts Elouise and Sadie in ’05 and with a couple of teachers, those had been my mentors, nurturers and more importantly the women who gave me a bit of bitter with my sweet. They all told me how smart I was, in some cases how beautiful and what I was worth. But, baby, they all especially, mama, aunt elouise and my godmother they straight told me what I needed to work on, straight up. And when I think of them, I smile at some of the things they said and how they said. So, finally, I answered, 'they prepared this child in the way she should go..."
I recall when I went to work at 14 and I was going on and on to mama about what the lady I worked for had said, mama looked at me in that way she had and said, ‘Angi, that is all well and good, but don’t let that white woman fill your head with a bunch of foolishness, there are a lot of things you can and will do, but the one thing you can never do is change the brown skin you in.’ and she said it hard!
My feelings were slightly singed, but there were so many times over the years, I had to thank my mama, for ‘keeping it so real.’
Then there was my aunt elouise who would just jack you up, out of nowhere and remind you where you came from, she would make you homemade biscuits or sweet potato pie, but baby, she would cold-cock you with her cutting wisdom. Her motto was, ‘no matter what your man got, take yo ass to work.’
My godmother on the hand thought I was the chosen one and made no bones about it, she was there when I was born and helped wash that proverbial ‘veil’ off my face. She would give me the man talks, ‘Don’t take no wooden nickels and sex should be as pleasurable for a woman as a man…”
I miss those women who loved me soft and hard.
Now as a mother, mentor, grandmother, friend, et al one of the hardest things but necessary ones is when I have to pull off the gloves and just say it. Because we are not good mothers or mentors or friends if we always say what they wish to hear….
We have the responsibility to tell the loving truth…
“We have to say son, I love you, I do, but you need to get a damn job! Also, don’t make any more babies you cannot raise.”
“Daughter, you look real good in those tight jeans, but you better make sure what kind of message you want to send. Because I know you think it don’t matter now, but one day you will need to be more than fine.”
“Girl, that is really a cute handbag, but you know doggone well you cannot afford that when the light bill is due and Christmas is coming.”
“Child, love him all you want, but love yourself more and when someone anyone, tries to get you to do anything that is not right for you and if they say, you would if you love me, say, ‘Hail to the no…” and get gone.
“Son, pull up your pants when you go on a job interview. I know that’s the style, but you need a job not prove to anyone how hip you are.”
Because I kid you not, if we just give them the sweet stuff and none of the bitter, they are going to be so unprepared for the world, because the world is not going to mollycoddle them.
But remember they also need some sweet with the bitter. The goal is not to beat ‘em down but to build them up, realistically…
Angelia Vernon Menchan
Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author, publisher and public speaker who owns two publishing companies, MAMM Productions and Honorable Menchan Media. Mrs. Menchan is also a Budget Officer and former Job Corps Counselor. To date she has published twenty-three books of her own work, both fiction and non-fiction and more than eighty ebook novellas on amazon.com. You can access her bibliography on www.amazon.com search words: Angelia Vernon Menchan
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679