Shit’s about to get real here for a minute.

I’m pretty open and honest about my youth if you get to know me. A big part of that is that fact that I have a momma who doesn’t gaslight me, or try to pretend that the shitty as fuck circumstances that we grew up in didn’t exist.

Do you know why that is?

Because this bish -my momma who I love and will actually hurt you for disrespecting- taught me to do better.

Better than her. Better than I was. Just. Better.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

There was this time we took the bus to and from some type of appointment when I was little. And we had time to kill because public transport doesn’t wait for anyone. So she took us to a book store.

(Ya’ll — I fucking love books. I always have. I always will. It’s part of the reason I spend all my time writing them.)

My brother and I both wanted a book. Couldn’t have been more than a few bucks. But my mom said no. Right there in the store, she told us that we didn’t have the money for it.
I was like 7 or 8, guys. Tiny. I didn’t understand money. But I understood the fucking tears in her eyes as she couldn’t buy her children a book. A fucking book. And it stayed with me for all these years.

This is just one tiny little glimpse into my youth.

Alcohol, drugs, abuse. The list goes on and on in a way that most people can’t even comprehend. And I wasn’t perfect as a kid, either, don’t get me wrong.

I was a little fucking shit. Yeah, I got straight A’s. But I lied to anyone I wanted to. I hurt anyone who stood in my way. I looked out for myself only. Because that’s what I knew. What I’d been taught to do growing up. There’s no other option when you’re bouncing around from house to house and have nothing real that’s yours.

But my mom, ya’ll. She told me to do better. To be better. To be more than she was. More than I was.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

She heard that I wanted to skip 8th grade. When only her and a teacher of mine thought I was capable of it, this bish made it happen. She cleaned herself up, came home, and made my school listen. Made them give me a chance to be better. To do better. To be more than they thought I was.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

When I was homeless, staying with friends and ‘relatives’ that weren’t really relatives, she did her best. And she told me to do better. Better than her. Better than the family that turned their backs on me because I was an asshole of a kid. More than they were.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

When I graduated from high school at 16 with honors and a perfect 4.0 GPA and went to college, she was there. She told me to do better. Better than her. Better than the people who thought I’d never do anything with my life.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

When I got cancer at 20, a month after getting married. She told me to fight it. To do better. To win.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

When I had R at 21, a fucking miracle considering how sick I was. How terrible the delivery was. She told me to do better. Better than she did.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

She told me that my son’s dreams would become a fraction of my own. She told me NOT to let my dreams die because I had R. To find a way to make MY dreams come true. Because if I didn’t, I would regret it.

She told me that it didn’t matter that her baby had a baby. That I’d be her baby forever.
To remember that I had a chance to be more. More for myself. More for my son.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

She straightened her life out. She got better. She told me that I MADE HER BETTER.

Every single fucking day, she pushed me to do better than her. To be more than she was. To be better than I was.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

Every single day. She made small changes for herself. Not for her children. We’re all grown. Well, some of us. But that’s another story.

She isn’t ashamed of the past. This bish. She’s lost two of her children. Two. That would be enough to cripple most people. But not her. Not her.

She taught me that our past doesn’t define who we are. Our past gives us a stepping stool to become someone better.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

I’m someone because she made me believe in myself. She didn’t give me any other choice. In a world that constantly pushed me down, and made it too hard to breathe, her words were there.

“Be better. Do better. You can be more.”

Why am I sharing this? Because someone, somewhere, is struggling with who they are. With feeling like they aren’t doing enough. That they are done. That they don’t deserve more than they have. That it’s too late for them to change. And that’s bullshit.

Be better. Do better. You can be more.

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