This post is sponsored by VH1. All opinions expressed are my own.
I was a wild teenager. I could try to sugarcoat it fifty-leven ways but I am practicing honesty so…I will be honest. I was a headache. Like most Black children though, from the outside looking in, you would not have known. I knew better than to publicly embarrass my mama. I kept my grades up. I went to work every day after school and at the end of it all, I went to college and made my parents proud.
But. Growing up was hard for me. I never felt like I fit in and ultimately, I felt like my mother didn’t understand me. Communicating was difficult for us and it didn’t really get better until I became a mother myself. I didn’t understand her until I became a mom too.
During my teenage years, I used to pen her letters and poems to express what I was unable to say to her face to face. Because I have always been a much better writer than a speaker (I guess that did eventually pay off), I could tell her my hurt, I could communicate my gratitude, and thoroughly get my thoughts out without being distracted. As a mother myself, I have used these seem tactics in getting my six year old to express herself. She has a journal to write in. We write books together. She reads a lot. I want her to know the importance of words from an early stage in life. I need her to understand the power in expression and the joy it can bring another person.
In partnership with VH1’s Dear Mama, I sat down to think of all the ways to create the most memorable Mother’s Day experience this year and I decided to take it old school. I am encouraging everyone to write a letter to their mother. Express to her the things you wish you could have said when you were younger. Tell her how much you love her. Make sure she is made aware of the positive influence she has had in your life. Many times, we forget to tell our loved ones how much we love them.
To My Mother.
This is a little weird, writing to you in the open like this. But. I love you. I don’t think I really tell you that enough. And for a lot of years, I struggled with seeing the strength that you possess. I failed to acknowledge that you sacrificed so much of your own strength so that I could be strong. Everything that I am is because of how you have loved me. You loved me to be free.
You never possessed us as a mother. You allowed me to make my own decisions. Because of this, I have never thought there was anything that I couldn’t do. I knew because of the way you loved me, that if I tried hard enough, I could write the own narrative to my life and that is exactly what I am doing.
I have a hard time letting my guard down around you. I don’t know why but I am working on my transparency with you too. I mean, if I can say all of this on a public platform, I should be able to look at you, woman to woman, and let you see what kind of woman you raised. Thank you for teaching me how to be a good person, overall. Thank you for showing me what kind of mother I am capable of being.
Make sure you catch Dear Mama airing on Monday, May 6th at 10/9c on VH1. It’s the mother of all celebrations as VH1 salutes the sacrifices and enduring love of moms everywhere with its annual Mother’s Day celebration.