“You have to roll with the punches daughter or life will beat you down.”Shirley Ann Dawkins (Mother, Great Human Being, Superhero)
This was one of the many phrases that my mother would say to me, during those times when she struggled to comfort me. Those hard moments in my life that I called her crying so hard that I could barely breathe. It didn’t matter how busy she was, she never turned me away. I am sure that she felt helpless, unable to control when or why life decided to be cruel towards, or sucker punch, her daughter in the face.
As I approach the 2nd anniversary of my mother’s death, I reflect back on my life and my relationship with my mother. There were some good and bad moments, but most of all we loved and adored each other. We were each other’s rock until death did us apart.
I have lost many people close to me over the years. But her death was the worst blow that life had ever given me. I am so grateful to her, for teaching me at a very young age that life can be hard. And that the only way to survive it, is to accept that adversity will arise but that I must move forward either way. I think about our many unconventional mother and daughter moments like when she attended a Rihanna concert with me at 63 because my friend Angel got sick and she didn’t want me to waste $200 on a ticket, or her riding shotgun with me as I scoped out the office location for my job interview or our other unconventional rituals. Unconventional rituals like spending Valentine’s Day together. I knew from my early teens that I could forget spending V-Day with a man, my mother had taken ownership of that holiday, and she refused to surrender her rights to it. It did not matter who I was dating or thought I was in love with, it was our special day because in her words, “she loved me first.” So, I have accepted that I will no longer hear her laugh or see her warm smile. We will no longer spend holidays together, eating our favorite meal or watching classic movies together like Audrey Hepburn’s Roman holiday or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Or my favorite Lana Turner’s Imitation of Life (1959) which my mother banned me from watching after the time I watched it by myself and called her crying like a baby. I am sure I should have told her I had drunk a whole bottle of merlot by myself nursing one of my many breakups. LOL. I have accepted that she is gone, so I must press forward with my life and live every day in her honor.
My mother was right. At times, life will attempt to beat you down. So, we have to make sure that we have the right tools in place to help us navigate through those tough times. As I sit here, I think about how important it is not only for myself but for all women to take care of not only our physical health but our mental health as well. Women, we are superheroes. Women are born with great and miraculous abilities and responsibilities. We are born with the ability to carry life. We can carry future leaders in our bellies. Men can’t do this. No matter how much modern science advances, we are the only ones who will have this ability and right. A right given to us by God himself. We have many stresses and responsibilities. We are required to work either inside or outside the home; we are required to love and nurture our significant other, take care of our homes, and sometimes be an unlicensed therapist to our family, associates, and friends. And for those women who are fortunate enough to be mothers (I am not, sadly), their actions help determine if the world is a better place or not because they carry the responsibility of raising good and productive human beings. Because we all have so many stresses in our lives, I encourage you to take care of your mental health. There is a stigma surrounding mental health that needs to be broken. Yes, we are superheroes, but we are also human. And humans need to protect their peace of mind at all costs. This will require certain tools and self-evaluation.
Experts have found that good feelings can boost your ability to deal with stress, solve problems, think flexibly, and even fight disease. Taking care of your body emotionally, physically, and mentally through creating joy and satisfaction is an important part of living with or without a mental health condition. In this section of the blog, we will discuss the importance of nurturing the mind, body, and spirit.
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Helena Grace Brand