hold me up

hold me up

This week’s Series Sunday features a song from Noname’s earliest project, What the Fuck is a Noname Gypsy?. Noname wrote “Hold Me Up” for her parents but also about the criticisms she’s received about wanting to be a rapper. I decided to dedicate this post to my parents because every time I hear this song, I ccan’t help but think about them and all they’ve for me.

“Mama hold me up, when I fall
Mama give me a place to call
When I get cold
And I get hungry
And I get weary”

20 (and a half, as of next Friday) years ago, my parents officially took on the responsibility of raising me and literally holding me up. Let me start by saying this to my parents: thank you for always encouraging me to be myself and always accepting me for who I am, regardless of which phase I was going through. Thank you for always providing for me and encouraging me to go after what I wanted even if it seemed slightly out of range. Thank you for embracing my choices, both in childhood and adulthood. Thank you for your advice and your guidance. Thank you for your unconditional love and all the lessons and values that you’ve instilled in me. You two will always be the reason I go so hard in everything I do and why I strive to be the very best in everything I do.

“Daddy pays the bills, but mama holds me up
Daddy pays the bills, when that ain’t good enough”

Although I grew up living with my mom, I’m blessed enough to have had a relationship with my dad my whole life. He may not have always been there for the first days of school or every single birthday (especially with him being in the Army at the time) but I knew that if I needed him, he was just a phone call away. Growing up, I’d see my dad on Christmas back when he and my stepdad were both stationed in Hawaii or during summer vacations when I would travel to wherever he was stationed and spend the summer with him and my brother, watching movies and going to amusement parks.

As I’ve gotten older, we’ve kept up with watching movies together and TV shows too (we love Insecure and I recently got him hooked on Game of Thrones). We actually spent a few days over winter break just watching random movies we found on Netflix. It’s simply just one of our favorite pastimes and an easy way to spark conversations about just about anything from real-life issues to problems in the film’s production, writing, or casting choices. Aside from our father-daughter movie time, we enjoy just talking about music and anything in the news. He’s really into sports so there’s a lot of times where I’m just sitting on the couch watching whatever game is playing because I don’t want to feel as though I’ve never spent enough time with him.

Just because I lived with my mom growing up, doesn’t mean that my dad missed out on all the drama that I brought with me into my teenage years. There were plenty of times that we had big discussions about my juvenile spending habits, my social media content, or simply just about us not calling each other enough. Now that I’m older, we still have big discussions about nearly everything under the sun but most times we’re on the same page about the issues now that I’ve gotten more experience with life and can partially understand his point of view.

One thing that I absolutely love about my dad is that he’s never once questioned who I am or the choices I’ve (at least not to me anyway lol). He never clowned about constantly enjoying the music of Paramore and A Day to Remember. In fact, I distinctly remember getting four boxes of Paramore merch from him and my stepmom for Christmas one year. He’s always encouraged me to keep reading recreationally by buying whatever book I asked for. He never questioned me about my sexuality after I came out to him in middle and he’s always supported my choice of higher education (no matter how often it changed before I decided that Howard was the one and only place for me) as well as every time I’ve changed my major or applied for an internship. Overall, I’m just really grateful for my dad and the way he has always been there for me, even having my back when my mom and I would get into it. He’s a rockstar dad and I’m happy that he’s mine.

“She holds me up and tells me she’s a soldier with two hearts
She got that love for me and she got that love for papa
My mama holds me up, she loves me like I’m good enough”

When it comes to my mom, this double Leo sun and double Cancer Mars energy has made a fiery, yet incredibly emotional combination. My mom had me at the tender of age of 17 and has spent the past 20 years teaching me self-worth, selflessness, and the importance of independence. When thinking about this part of the song, I really relate to it because while my dad is an actual Army soldier, my mom is a soldier with two hearts for real. Although she got married after having me, my stepdad was in the military so during deployments she was basically doing it all on her own and she’s truly a superwoman.

With five daughters involved in literally everything, she’s so good at keeping her cool and making sure each of us are experiencing as much as we possibly can. She’s always encouraged us to go after what we want and to do it with our best foot forward. She’s always made sure we at least give things a decent try before giving up. Growing up, I was involved in Girl Scouts, gymnastics, dance, cheer, theater, soccer and softball. She’s always encouraged my writing and was so proud of me every time I got published.

Like with my dad, I grew up watching tons of TV and movies with my mom. Our specialty is Lifetime movies, reality TV, and prime time shows like Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder. My mom and I also love to just play board games and sing our hearts out to Fantasia and Destiny’s Child even though we’re both tone deaf. My mom and I have a really close bond and I know that I can tell her everything, which I pretty much do. Even the college shenanigans. We’re really similar people but that also backfired when my puberty started kicking in and we started the mother-daughter battles. Whether we were arguing about my music being too loud, me wanting to wear red nail polish, or me picking out clothes that she just didn’t approve of, it was always an explosion. Slammed doors, snarky comments said under one’s breath, and rolled eyes were a regular occurrence. I pushed the boundaries but only because I was raised to know that everything I feel and everything I have to say is valued and deserves to be heard.

Now that I’m older, my mom and I definitely still butt heads every once in a while but we’re closer than we’ve ever been. Ever since her divorce right before I entered high school, I officially became her second in command and have assisted in raising my sisters (#LifeOfTheOldestDaughter lol). As I’ve gone through college and started going through the motions of adulthood, we’ve connected more on things that I didn’t really understand before even though I tried really hard to. I love my mom a lot and every day I’m so grateful to have her in my life. I can’t wait to make her even more proud and pour into her as much as she’s poured into me over these past two decades. Alexa, play “letter 2 my momma” by 21 Savage.

My parents & I after my 10th birthday party

“I’ve been trying to find my way
I’ve been trying to find my way
My way home
My happiness will hold me up on the darkest day, I say
Hello to sunshine
Hello to good times
Goodbye, goodbye
Yesterday, tomorrow look so new
Tomorrow look so new
Tomorrow look like me
Tomorrow look like you

I’m honestly very happy with the way I was raised and I’m so grateful to my parents for keeping me involved, putting me in check when need be, and always encouraging me to follow my dreams. I was the first child for both of them so I know they had to be nervous about how I would turn out but they’ve taught me so many lessons that have resulted in my growth and success. I can’t wait to continue making them proud not only by graduating from college and getting a good job, but also by being a good person like they raised me to be. So here’s to Candace and Delanzo, my first supporters, my first best friends, and the first people to know all the good news in my life. Thank you.

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