The Facts Of Life

I live near a high school and while sitting on my porch writing one day, I overheard a conversation between two young teenage girls.  One them said, “My grandma doesn’t want us to call her grandma, but to call her Cookie instead.”  The other girl responded, “You mean Cookie from Empire (the television show), why does she want you to call her that?”  She shakes her head and while laughing replied, “Girl, I don’t know!”  Going on to say some unfavorable, unmentionables about her grandmother, which I cannot quote in this article; but honey, believe me, it wasn’t nice!

It’s somewhat difficult for us to form a connection with our teenagers.  Rule of thumb, they love to appear as if they’re ignoring our examples and the advice we give them.  Yet, according to this conversation, it’s apparent that we most definitely have their attention.  Leading my ear-hustling to ask…  What example are we setting for our up and coming young ladies nowadays?

She was wise, resourceful, and hard working.  Owned her own businesses, wasn’t petty with her money and was always lending a helping hand.

I was raised by my grandmother, whom I called, “Big Mama.”  She was a mix between June Clever and Madea if you could imagine that.  One of those, flower dress wearing, at church every moment, sweetest but don’t cross, could never pronounce our names type of grandma. She was wise, resourceful, and hard working.  Owned her own businesses, wasn’t petty with her money and was always lending a helping hand. From Dothan, Alabama, she was a teenage single parent who could barely keep food on the table.  The only choice she felt she had was to leave her starving children with her uncle and move to California in the mid-1950’s to provide a better life for her two sons.  The opportunities for “colored people” (as they were called back then) was not as open as today.  However, she did not allow racism to interfere with her dream of becoming a model.  After years of hard work she wined and dined with the elite. Met and married my grandpa, relocated to Denver, Colorado, and purchased their dream home on Monaco Parkway in the early 1970’s.  Now able to provide a fruitful life for her children, she sent for her two boys, now men, which my grandfather proudly accepted and adopted.  My father and my uncle were the only survivors out of eight children and she desperately longed for a girl.

When I came along, she wanted me to be and have the best of the best.  My grandmother was very strict and although she taught me how to be a young lady, she never taught me “the facts of life.”  My pre-teen years hit and I found my birth mother. Hastily moving from the strict, old-fashioned environment of my grandmothers’ teachings; to what I thought would be an open door, free of conversation.  Hopeful in believing that all these feeling and questions I had circling around would finally be answered.  Unfortunately, my mother and I didn’t bond as well as I hoped; leaving me to learn “the facts of life” from girlfriends and from some very heartbreaking encounters.

I know my grandmother and maybe even my birth mother did the best they know how in raising me.  However, I wish someone would have sat me down and talked to me.  Explaining, not just how to sit, speak, and behave like a proper young lady; but also the hardship of becoming one, how to love me, and how to value my worth. It was only later in life through the blessing of my god-mother that I learned these valuable lessons.  She taught me things that you would think a woman the age of twenty-eight would automatically know.  Not just through her words but also through her example.  The following are just a few of her teachings that have stuck with me the most.

  • “What you’ve got is precious. Rather you’re a virgin or not, you have a When you allow someone unworthy, you devour your self-esteem and self-love.”
  • “Leave something to the imagination. Although the trend is “less is more” put on more!  You’re valuable, a jewel that should be cherished.”
  • “You’re beautiful just the way you are. You do not need to enhance or chop off anything!”
  • “People will only treat you the way you allow them to. Set boundaries!”
  • “If you don’t know, ask. Closed mouths don’t get fed!”
  • “Be independent. You don’t have to rely on anyone to pay your bills; you’re smart enough to do it yourself.”
  • “Always put God first and seek his kingdom.”

I believe we can teach our young ladies the best of both worlds, but without communication, without our leading by example; our young women fall prey to being raised strictly by entertainment not REALITY.

~ Oddly Bloomed ~

One day my grandmother clarified why I had been given such a unique name;

Tilling the garden, she began to share with me a parable of how all flowers are beautiful, although they do not all blossom the same;

Some need the birds and the bees in order for them to reproduce,

Not all are brightly colored; take for instants the daylily called the “brown recluse”—

Unique amongst its kind, it’s magnificent still to gaze;

Its blooms are rich with mahogany brown and once it captures you, in awe, you’ll stand amazed;

Something so different has been so beautifully and wonderfully made

And there’s a reason why they choose to name it after a poisonous spider in which everyone is afraid.

The more I grew, the more I pondered, and then one day that parable became clear—

I do not have to conform to be accepted in this world, even though being labeled as different is what most people fear

~From Exposed Poetry Memoirs


Pre.Kaya' Gilkey
Pre.Kaya' Gilkey
Pre.Kaya’ Gilkey is a Poet, Entrepreneur, Author of debut book Exposed Poetry Memoirs, and Featured Contributor Writer for BIZCATALYST 360°. She passionately developed her website HOPING1WORD.COM to inspire and uplift others. The website focuses on self-improvement, unity, encouragement, and love through poetry, positive affirmations, quotes, and more; while hoping to encourage the world one word at a time.

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