The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Mom’s words sink in after years of denial

Viewpoint by Keisha McDuffie/ne news editor

All teenagers think they know everything and need no tips or suggestions along the way.

I never really took to heart what my parents said. It was never the expected, “You better eat your greens or you won’t grow up to be big and strong.”

I thought my mother’s favorite line—“Don’t do as I do, do as I say”—profound since whatever she was doing was surely going to embarrass me.

I moved to Austin when I was 19 and didn’t return until I had worn out my welcome in the capital, undoubtedly.

I was 23 when I finally slowed down long enough to notice the debris I’d left behind. I had been quite disciplined from 19-21. But once I was equipped with a legit ID and a taste for some good old-fashioned fun, let’s just say the rest is history.

Literally, the discipline I so prided myself on became nonexistent. My spending limit on recreational activities began to grow as my work habits lessened.

Before I knew it, I was 23 and nearly three years had flashed and poof were gone. I could recall a few of the drunken evenings and received details about the rest from friends. Besides, I had lots of Polaroids to remind me of all I had forgot.

But what really made me stop and think was something my mother had told me many years before. Ironically, it was how my mother explained her lack of parenting skills. 

She told me she had never meant to be so irresponsible for so many years (naturally). She always thought, “I’m only 16; this is what teenagers do.” Then it became “I’m only 21; I’m just now old enough to have fun.” Then it was “I’m only 30; I’m only 34 …” And before she knew it, she was only almost 40 years old.

I was about to be 24, and it seemed like yesterday I had just been 21. I was in a very unhealthy live-in-relationship, unemployed and a total mess. I wasn’t like that at 21.

In the back of my mind, I could hear nagging babble, but for months I couldn’t make out the words. Then one day, like a slap in the face, that babble was my mother in the middle of the “it flies by, and before you know it, it’s too late” speech.

For the first time in my oh-so-wise 23 years, I was going to not only listen to, but take my mom’s advice.

Almost immediately I made arrangements to move home and ended the damaging relationship I was in.

I knew, I did not want to be 30 and in an abusive, controlling and destructive relationship, unable to leave because I was dependent on some guy.

I wish I could say that was all it took. It’s not, but if I had never received those two cents from my mother,

I might have been 30 or 40 before I was smart enough to slow down and not to take life for granted because it sure was disappearing a lot faster than it had appeared.

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