Monday, July 13, 2009

What My Mother Taught Me

I have not mentioned my mother at all when I write. I think I know why, maybe.
Because it's painful to think about her sometimes- a tragic thing happened to her, as I knew it would.

In school, I'd hear a siren and would become horribly worried that something was wrong with my mother. I'd tell myself it was someone else probably, and to quit worrying like that, but I clearly remember sitting in my third grade class, obsessing that something was wrong.

And the time she made me cry at my dance class because I'd be worried about her when she'd drop me off, "Where are you going to be when I'm dancing?"
And she said, "None of your business."

Something did, in fact, finally happen. Which some time, I might say what it was; but I don't want to say it today. Maybe another day.

But my mother was a tough, drop dead gorgeous beautiful woman who was one first class act. You didn't screw with my mother. It was always a bad idea.

Though my mother did not own a business, what she did own was the mindset of someone who does. She did have the creative mindset of an entrepreneur.
The two best things my mother taught me were:
(1) Be Creative!
(2) Have some damn back bone!

She taught me you don't let anyone push you around for any reason.

I know for a fact that I could not do what I have done, in life or especially in business, if it were not for that kind of steely determination and grit I learned from my mother.

My second grade teacher told my mother, "I know Marilisa can speak because I've heard her on the playground."

When I was a child, I was horribly shy. I wouldn't say a word to anyone. I was afraid of people. Finally, by the time the eighth grade rolled around, I figured out that people didn't bite, and if they did, I'd bite back! Which my mother taught me.

I wrote last time about playing cards- once, when I was about eight, she sat on the edge of my bed at night giving me a pep talk. She was forever giving me pep talks because I always needed a pep talk. (As I was so shy and withdrawn as a child.) People who know me now find this very hard to believe.

She told me, "Listen, I was invited over to my friend's house to play bridge. So I went over and I pulled up my chair with total confidence. I shuffled those cards like a pro. I acted like everyone was going to lose. I was going to win. I dealt those cards like no body's business. And guess what? I didn't know the first thing about playing bridge! But I acted like I did! That's what you've got to do. You might be scared. You don't show it. You have just as much right as anyone else to win, and don't you ever forget it."

My poor mom though. Really. I'd love to tell you that I always took her extraordinary advice and was just this amazing child and super trouper; which is, sadly, not the case.

I'd just exasperate her. We'd pull up to my elementary school and I'd feel the tears welling up. I'd try my best to hold them back but couldn't. I just didn't want to go to school. There would be people there and kids there and I've have to... {{{{{gasp}}}}} talk to them.

She'd pull through the semi-circle drive that all schools have, reach across me and open my car door and say, "Get out of the car, you Titty Baby."

Well, somebody had to set me straight. I don't know what I'd have done, if she didn't.

Around our house, we have a saying when someone tries to be mean to us or take advantage of us, or basically is just an ass to us. "Oh, you've got me bent!"

What we mean is; "You're confused! You think you're going to push me around? You've got another thing coming."

Elizabeth, though the term "Ghetto Girl" was not in vogue yet; was one Pushy Ass-Ear ring-High-Heeled- Shoe-Weave-Takin' -Out- And-Oh-It's-On-Now! broad. The first Ghetto Girl. Even if she was from Oklahoma. She said, "In life, you've to to toot your own horn because, sure as hell, no one's going to toot it for you."

This has uniquely equipped me to be an entrepreneur.

She preferred being called, "Liz".

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