Mama used to say…

I’m walking around cleaning the other day and an influx of sayings come to mind. I laugh then run to my journal. Had to write them all down before the thoughts left me. Growing up whenever I heard any of these, I’d roll my eyes while in the comfort of my room, back seat, or a few seats over (notice these are all outside of arms length, lol) thinking to myself there they go running their mouths, like ALWAYS. Pssht uggghh. But now?!?… I understand them! I FINALLY get it! What did Duh Duh Man say in New Jack City? They were “p-p-pure u-un-unadulterated” geniuses!! Now I find myself applying these sayings as I encounter different situations. Let me give you a few examples. Be forewarned, some of these are from my mom who has been known to cuss like a sailor.

Situation 1: Met this guy, man he’s fly! Looking good, smelling good, pretty smile. Conversation is cool but then he starts with , “look baby I’m taking you on a trip. Where you wanna go?”, “you the ONE”, “I seen these new Air Ones today, I got you”, “….you ever been to Miami? No? Let me be the first one to take you” anything that ends with a “I got you”. In my Waterboy voice, my mama said “a mufucka can show you better than they can tell you anything”

Grown up application: A person can SAY a lot of things… albeit most of it sounds great but what it boils down to are the actions! The ability to follow through with everything they said. Consistency. Honesty. Otherwise they’re just full of … well, you know… and the once knight and shining armor is actually a regular schmegular dude with dusty clothes who you now look at with the side eye.

Situation 2: Met this girl by all appearances she has it going on and she knows it! Pretty girl, married to her baby daddy after 5 years of dating, nice house in a nice subdivision, two nice cars, nice jewelry. In my mind, she has it GOING ON! What am I doing wrong?? Let me step my game up!  Come to find out nothing she spoke of was true, it LOOKED good but it actually wasn’t good. As my great grandmother told my mom, “All that glitters ain’t gold”

Grown up application: Let me stop comparing myself to other people, you never know what goes on in someone else’s life. As J Cole so eloquently put it “..ain’t no such thing as a life that’s better than yours” know that, believe that and you’ll be much better off. Nowadays my only competition is myself. Being a better person today then I was yesterday.

Situation 3: It’s Wednesday I was just invited out with the girls. No sitter planned. Aw man this sucks. As much as I hate calling in favors now’s the time. It’s been a tough week and a while since I let loose. Let me call my mama I know she’s about to give me an earful but she’ll help me. She loves me!  All pride aside… I’m calling Grandma. In the back of my mind I hear her telling me, “A closed mouth don’t get fed”

Grown up application: Still working through this one. I’m fiercely independent. Not used to getting help so to ask for it is extremely uncomfortable. I have learned that people are here, ready, and willing to assist all I need to do is ask. You can miss out on so much by keeping your mouth shut. ‘No’ never killed anybody, just made you work for it OR find another sponsor.

Situation 4: Sitting here crying over a relationship that ended. Well actually someone’s mask finally fell off and my eyes, mind and heart opened enough to accept who they really were (a bum). With blinders off I now see what everybody else seen years ago. He was never as committed as I was and did not come to the plate with as much to sacrifice or compromise. I hear my mom tell me, “You knew the gun was loaded when you picked the mufucka up”

Grown up application: Tears dried, head held high, shoulders back and I’m back ouchea. In other words, didn’t they tell you I was a savage? LOL That’s putting it mildly, it took a moment to accept that ‘L’ but when I did, I realized it wasn’t an ‘L’ at all. I’m where I should be and much better off because of it.

Situation 5: This one is NOT from my mom, but my 8th grade teacher. A young Serena was not fully applying herself in school especially in this class. Rumor had it, that wasn’t coffee in that coffee mug he held so tightly everyday. Why would I listen to him?!?! Anyway. During Parent Teacher conference he shares this saying with me and I… well… normal response…roll my eyes and suck my teeth. Fast forward several years, I’m sitting here having a conversation with my 7 year old and find myself telling him, “You need info under your afro before you make your intro”

Grown up application: How freakin profound! That man was a drunken genius! Nothing more attractive then a person who has something to say. And definitely nothing mo-betta than an educated African American man or woman.

Situation 6: At my granny’s house, rest her soul, spending the night as I regularly did. Asked for something to drink even though it was bedtime. Closely followed Mama to the kitchen where she poured me a small cup of water and said, “a dab’ll do you”

Grown up application: Sometimes a little bit goes a long way. My manager once told me I tend to build spaceships on a Yugo budget. She’s right. I always aim high then end up upset when things don’t work as expected. I have learned to take smaller steps and appreciate the moments along the way. Smaller steps keep me grounded, humble and grateful.

Those are just some of the sayings I heard while growing up. As I read back over the blog, these sayings are embedded in my psyche. Giving me the direction and self motivation to pull out of some pretty difficult situations. I’d like to hear from you. What sayings did you hear growing up? Do you apply any of them now? Has your understanding changed now that you’re an adult and/or a parent? Leave me a comment. Let’s talk about it.

So Real, So You, So Chill







5 thoughts on “Mama used to say…

  1. toyasjoy says:

    My mother had so many isms, and yes, she was mostly right. Don’t tell her I said that though. My fav had to be “one monkey don’t stop no show.” I’m sure it was her outer exterior and inner strength that would cause her to declare this. I’m sure mixed with some pain. But daggoneit, she was right. Be it man or woman, ex or friend, doesn’t matter. If they don’t act right, move you show because it must go on. Can’t wait for someone forever.

    Mothers wisdom is priceless.


  2. Jameyde says:

    One of the most important things my momma and daddy use to tell me was, “You only get out of something what you put into it. So always do your best,that is all you can do. Leave the rest of it in the past and don’t carry it with you.”… Some of the more funny things they would say though were “If I wanted any shit from you I would squeeze your head”, “You don’t know shit from apple butter” and of course anytime I would ask my dad where mom was, he would say (and he was normally a quiet military type man)… She went to shit and the hogs ate her!…


  3. kosmickrisi says:

    Ahhhh yes…oral wisdom passed down through our Mothers. I always find this to be the best form of religion and tradition. Sometimes we are so busy looking for divine wisdom out in the world…when all you gotta do is listen to the crazy mfs around you (which also happen to my family lol). It never makes sense in the moment…but it will occur to you in the RIGHT moment and open shit up like the pearly gates. I definitely got some old timey advice under my left tit…excuse my french lol

    Liked by 1 person

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