Today is my Grandmama's birthday even though I doubt I will get this posted today. I have mentioned her in dozens of my blogs and have spoken about her at length with my friends. I was around her for the first part of my childhood (the smart years) and learned a lot from her that I would later apply to my adult life in terms of attitude and how to behave with people...good and bad. This is going to be Five Things I Learned From Grandmama.
It is gonna be hard to write that few so I'm gonna try and write about the ones that impacted me the most. A little information about Grandmama. That is her name. Grandma was my father's mother and Grandmama is my mother's mama. She was born in Texas. She outlived all of her 10 other brothers and sisters. She was Native American. Had red hair that she finally stopped coloring once she was in her 80's. She loved cooking, the Los Angeles Lakers, and I once saw her launch a boy off the porch. She loved smoking cigarettes and Diet Cokes. She was very sweet, could be funny, but refused to take shit from people.
If You Don't Want To Do Something Then Don't
This was one of the best and worst things she could have told me. At the time I was working at the hospital like she had in the past. She told me that she hated doing it so she stopped and told me that if I didn't want to do something then don't. She said that it was better to not get involved then to do it half-assed.
At the time I was living a life of making sure that everyone was comfortable before I took care of myself. I was always someplace I didn't want to be doing things I didn't want to do and helping people I didn't care for. After she told me that me head exploded and my face melted off. I was just so used to not being happy doing what I was doing it never occurred to me to say no. I thought that that was what being an adult meant. Doing things for others and not yourself. I was wrong. If she hadn't told me that I think I would not still be around right now.
Pick Up After Yourself
This is one that I didn't start doing until I was around 8 or so but once I started I kinda didn't stop. My Grandmama hated a mess but what she hated more was someone who would make one and not even attempt to pick it up. She kept vampire hours so she was constantly having to pick up after a house full of grandchildren which sucked. So I would help with the dishes or run to the store to get her “sugar water” or as we call it “soda” and cigarettes.
Nothing Wrong With Staying Home
I used to talk to my Grandmama when I worked at the porn shop. Yeah, I know how that sounds. I would call her in the early afternoon and be at the front counter talking to her for a couple of hours about what it was like growing up (she didn't like her father's mother) and laugh at her anger towards Kobe Bryant for making Shaq leave the Lakers.
She also told me that she enjoyed being home and left alone. She lied when she used to be able to leave and pay her bills in person when she could but enjoyed sitting at home and watching TV or sitting on the porch smoking. She didn't like being dragged out of the house unless it was to go grocery shopping or to church. I have very few mental images of my Grandmama not being at home shuffling from her room to the porch or the kitchen humming to herself.
If You Can Do It Do It
During one conversation with my Grandmama I was taking to her about not wanting to draw anymore. It wasn't as fun as it used to be and nothing looked how I wanted it to. She told me that she used to draw. I had no idea. She said that her father made her stop because it wasn't “ladylike.” This totally blew my mind because I would have loved to see what she could do artistically.
She told me to draw if I could because it was something that not everyone could do. I disagreed and told her that anyone could if they really tried and she just said “Umm” which was her disagreement sound effect. I knew better than to argue with Grandmama and continued drawing.
Say Thank You
This is another one that always stuck with me...because I was a rude dick. I would get stuff and not say thank you unless it was a present or something I really wanted. But after being popped a few times with a switch things tend to finally stay with you. To me thank you was something you said because you got what you wanted. Not something you said because someone did something nice that they didn't have to.
I know a lot of these sound like basic life lessons and while they are, not many people live by them or they are afraid to. One day my Grandmama told me that she was “ready to go” when she was in her early 80's. I laughed and told her that she would outlive some of her grandchildren. It turned out to be true. She made it to 95 years on this planet and had a sharp memory. Even though since I was little she would always call me my cousins name...
Click here for previous Five Things I Learned.