You know that feeling when you have a kid and you’re impelled to be greater because you’re now responsible for another human being’s life? Yeah, me neither. And I’m not trying to have that magical experience anytime soon. But I’m no stranger to such powerful invigoration. There is a driving force pushing me towards success.
Mable Growe Beavers, my mother’s mother, that is. Throughout my adolescence, she didn’t quite have the positive reinforcement approach. Doing well did not equal rewards. Doing well was just what I was supposed to do. For example, when I’d bring her a report card with a 3.75 GPA, she’d look at me with dissatisfaction and remind me that there’s no reason I shouldn’t always have all A’s. Granny figured I was capable of certain things and expected nothing less than that. Being the best me possible is a mentality that has stuck, but in adulthood it’s not her expectations that make me want to do better; it’s her.
Born in 1940 to dirt poor parents in rural South Louisiana, Granny recalls “being hungry” most about her childhood. The second oldest of 12 children, she began heavy housework and tending to others before she was even school-aged. She made her way out of her not-so-loving home in Vacherie, a hamlet an hour outside of New Orleans, but life wouldn’t get better right away. It would be another couple of decades before racially-based discrimination was outlawed, and we all know even then it didn’t poof and disappear. Overcoming disproportioned opportunities and unfair treatment, Granny made a better life for her family than the one in which she was born. From broken relationships to burying two of her children, she’s suffered an immense amount of pain, yet she survived it all.
Today, I look at Granny and see a funny, wise and strong woman. I see a God-fearing woman. I see a woman that wants to love on people. I see a woman that ought to be celebrated. I see a woman that deserves the world, and that’s what I plan to give her.
During a text message conversation, I jokingly sent her pictures of Kofi Siriboe, an actor I’d just met at a movie screening, saying we could make her some beautiful great-grandkids. I thought she’d just say something silly or send some emojis, but who knew her response would leave me pensive, wondering WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?! Okay, how’d it get there from that conversation? Well, when she expressed concern about not spending time with my baby because we live on opposite sides of the country, I comforted her by saying I’d buy a house in Atlanta and be bicoastal when I’m wealthy. And here it comes… “I just hope I’m still around to see and enjoy it”.
Reality has a way of smacking me in the face. And that was a pimp-hand-strong pop. Granny won’t be here forever. If I actually want to do the things for her that I say I want to do, I have to get it together … like
People tell me they’re proud of me for making a big move from Louisiana to California, and alone at that. As appreciative as I am for their applause, it’s a small feat. As acclimated as I’ve gotten in my new city, it’s not enough. As much as I work, it’s insufficient. I need to accomplish more. I need to be better. I need to hustle harder. Right now I have that 3.75 and there’s no reason I should be allowing mediocrity to suffice.
This reminder came at a good time. I’m newly motivated.
In the journey to your goals, what motivates you? Comment below!