Life Lessons from (NOT) Playing Small


My mom was larger than life. A woman full of passion and confidence, with a bold and powerful voice that met the room before she did. She was well known and well-liked, and her presence commanded respect and attention. As a child, I was totally intimidated by my mother—like shook. Not always out of fear (although she was scary from time to time) but more out of envy. I sorta marveled at how she worked the room. My mom NEVER played small.

What is fascinating is that the bold, confident woman who raised me, didn’t teach me to be that way. Her lessons to me were on how to be meek, to stay in a child’s place, to be seen and not heard. She often called me “little girl” to remind me that I was small and she was big and in charge. She didn’t raise me to be tough, or loud, or outspoken like she was. She raised me to be a debutant.

Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately, …lol) for her and for the world. I followed who she was, and not what she said. Darlene never shrank…and I don’t either. Darlene was the type of woman who went after what she wanted and got it. I do too. Darlene was a hustler and as her oldest daughter, so am I.

If there is someone in your life (even if that person means the world to you) telling you to shrink, don’t listen to them. Don’t let them or their opinion of who you should be, stop you from living out all that God has for you. Maybe they can’t imagine your full potential. Maybe they can and fear your achieving it. Either way, don’t play small.

I’m sure my mother had her reasons for encouraging me to shrink, maybe it was to protect me from the challenges of being a bold woman. My mother is and will always be my greatest example of how to live life. Everything I am and hope to be, I owe to her. I’m glad I defied her though. I’m glad I knew enough to do as she did, not as she said.

After following her path, I know she would be proud.

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