Today’s writing prompt for the #30DWCDay21 #WritingChallenge is to write about a favorite quote that has stuck in my head ever since I heard it. Now I know there are many other profound philosophers that I can quote but sometimes the simple stuff just sticks with you. My Mother had a knack for pulling out those good old Trini sayings at the most appropriate times. There was something about hearing those simple bits of wisdom in that lilting, melodic accent she had that drove the point home every time. Ms. Atlanta was quick with the wit and she could steupse with the best of them. All my Trinis know exactly what I mean by the steupse, eh? Anyway, I had to pay homage to her by sharing some of these sayings that have gotten me through my adult years with their basic wisdom. Here are my top 5 favorites.
- Blood Is Thicker Than Water
My mother emphasized this to me and my siblings early on to teach us always to have each other’s back. You know how when you become a teenager, sometimes even in middle school, you want to distance yourself from your siblings due to embarrassment? She always told us that no matter how close you think you are to your friends, when it comes down to it they will choose their blood family over you and we should do the same.
- Everyone skinnin’ and grinnin’ in your face is not your friend.
This was drilled into me time and time again because I was always the one bringing home new “friends”. It took me awhile to get this concept but it started me on my quest for discernment of who truly meant me well. I guess she was a good judge of character and could tell who had an agenda over who was my real friend. This advice really came in handy when I moved overseas and had to navigate social life without any family as a safety net. I even had this phrase ringing in my head when I entered the corporate world and had to move craftily amongst the snakes on the come up.
- It Don’t Take Nuttin’ Off Yuh To Say Good Morning
Growing up in New York, I prided myself on giving everyone the blank face. To me that was the NYC way, show no emotion. Mama wasn’t having any of that. If we came out of the house and there was someone on the elevator, she would say Good Morning or Hello. She didn’t care that was not the norm in the big city, she decided to keep her island polite sensibilities. If I acted like I didn’t want to speak, I would get the swift backlash in front of the stranger. You know I complied to avoid the wrath and the embarrassment.
- Eh Eh, I Thought Yuh Die A Natural Death
I got this every time I hadn’t spoken to my Mother in a while. Actually, she said this about anyone she hadn’t heard from in some time. I would always jokingly retort that the phone works both ways. She cracked me up because we never really went any length of time without speaking, only in her mind. She could be complaining on the phone about how no one calls and no one visits but I hear my brother in the background at the house. I swear this is the same thing I hear from all my senior island Aunties. Why do the old folks throw shade? LOL Gotta love them though and I sure do miss them now.
- 2 Man Rat Cyan Live In De Same Hole
My siblings and I heard this all through our teenage years until we got put out. Basically this is a way of saying we weren’t running anything but our mouths in Atlanta’s house. She was the sole authority and if we didn’t want to adhere, we had to get out. Period. I think the only one of us that didn’t get put out for a period was my youngest brother, only because she was tired by then. Now, I never had kids but when I listen to stories from friends dealing with their teens, I can’t help but think of this phrase. Hell, even when I had roommates I had this phrase ringing in my brain. I eventually realized that I am not cut out for sharing my space, I need to be the boss…well now that I’m married I guess I had to relax that a bit.