Updated: Apr 26, 2021
During this last encounter in college, I remember a very close childhood friend saying “that’s why your mother’s a crackhead” and I immediately felt a switch flip in me. I didn’t cry for the first time in response to that statement. I didn’t even feel heavy…or empty. I simply replied yeah…and?...
Growing up people would use my heartache for punchlines. I recall getting into arguments with “friends” that would say things like “that’s why your mother’s a crackhead.” For a long time, I was ashamed of my mom, the fact that my grandmother was raising me, and that I’d never known my bio dad. Those things were triggers for me, so as a means of protection, I covered it up as much as possible. Imagine the devastation when people I confided in on these topics used it as a weapon against me.
The last time someone threw that in my face, I’d decided that nobody would ever again be able to do so. The first step in that was owning it for myself. During this last encounter in college, I remember a very close childhood friend saying “that’s why your mother’s a crackhead” and I immediately felt a switch flip in me. I didn’t cry for the first time in response to that statement. I didn’t even feel heavy…or empty. I simply replied yeah…and? “Yup my mother WAS on drugs, yet here I am in college, while you’re on baby daddy #3. Your mother wasn’t a crackhead, so what’s your excuse?” I was genuinely looking for an answer here….never received it. Lol
That’s my attitude now in life. I’m no longer ashamed of anything that I’ve been through, and realize that even in spite of a life that most couldn’t fathom, not only did I survive, but baby I soared! People with more opportunities, more resources, and more support from their parents, still couldn’t keep up with me on my bad days. So again, YEAH….AND?
I’ve learned that people have a hard time coping with people doing well in life, that they’ve decided shouldn’t. It highlights their own shortcomings when you come from what they come from, but you surpass it, and they don’t. They take issue with Keisha from their same hood, who was a teen mom, now being a mogul. They want to know how she did it. It’s because she adopted a YEAH….AND mindset! And instead of sitting down to chat with her to see what she did, and figure out how they can, they are lazy and complacent, so instead they hate. Even worse, they’ll try to break you down by throwing your triggers at you. That’s why I constantly preach taking control of them.
Don’t allow people to weaponize your testimony. If you had a teen pregnancy, tell them yeah…and? If you had children out of wedlock, tell them yeah…and? If you’ve been through a divorce, tell them yeah….and? Those things add to your value, not define it. In fact, it shows that despite tragedy, despite setbacks, despite disadvantages, you’re still unstoppable….even more so.
This was my entire thought process behind creating T.U.F.F. Chicks: The Underdog is Fearless & Favored. Those are more than just words to me. It’s a message that sooo many can stand behind, relate to, and feel empowered by. It’s a lifestyle and what I KNOW to be true. It’s the resistance to caving into shortcomings or feeling any level of shame for how your story was written. It’s the epitome of YEAH….AND? It says that what the enemy meant to destroy me, God used for my good, and nobody can take that from me. Now, because of that, I get to inspire a community of women on the same journey.
Now, your yeah…and is only as powerful as you make it. If your parents dropped out of high school, you go and be the first to get that degree. If you come from poverty, be the first to have ownership. If you had an absent parent, you make sure you’re a present parent. You can’t allow it to leave you stagnant or else you let the enemy win. And let me tell you, the enemy comes in so many different forms, including those who pretend to love you.
Yeah….and is also a message to yourself. We’re often our own worst enemy and biggest critic. You have to tell your problems yeah…and! It’s nothing big to a giant, and definitely not too hard for God. What I LOVE about God is that He gives us constant reminders that He can use absolutely anyone and any situation! In fact, that’s His specialty. What’s so great about using people who already have it all? They then get to take all the glory for themselves. But when He uses people who can give no other explanation for how they made it BUT GOD…..wheeeewww chile! Those are the stories that empower and inspire.
Take Kylie Jenner for instance. I’m happy that she’s a young mogul doing her thing. I love to see any woman thrive. However, I’m not impressed with a millionaire getting richer. Like at all. Instead, I’m blown away by people like Tyler Perry and Oprah, who built an empire from scratch. People who had every reason not to but still did. It’s not because I am infatuated with the struggle. Obviously, that is not the goal. But, the majority of us can’t relate to a Kardashian…given every opportunity, endless resources, every platform, and born rich. That’s not inspiring because it’s unrealistic for most. The majority of us have to build from the ground. We have to make certain sacrifices so that our children and grandchildren don’t have to build from the ground. At minimum, they’ll have a solid foundation already. The building can progress from there.
So take it as a responsibility and an honor. You are stronger for it. You are wiser for it. You are greater for it. You are resilient. Accept the fact that not everyone will be rooting you on. Give them more to talk about! Prophetess Beyonce once said “always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.” So for every person who has ever thrown your trials in your face, throw it right back with a big flex on how it hasn’t stopped anything, coupled with a YEAH…AND?! I promise you they couldn’t have walked a mile. That’s the gem! And they are mad about it.😊
From One T.U.F.F Chick to Another,