I Learned it from my Momma

In watching everyone’s quarantine house make-overs, I found myself working on my summer coursework and daydreaming about my own room make-over. With this in mind, all it took for me to decide I was going to actually do it was a friend of mine bringing it up. So, I jumped into DIY, Handy-Man, Crafty Cathy mode. While I am proud to say that I did redo everything I wanted to, and got it done before school started, I am more proud of the fact that I did everything myself. From removing bifold doors and putting a new system in their place to repurposing my trundle bed into under-the-bed storage, I figured out how to do it all myself. 

I will not compare my bedroom renovation skills to the ones my friend needed to rebuild her motorcycle or the hands-on mechanical mind my cousins have to build practically anything from scratch and scrap materials, but the work I did is worth something as well. I used every tool in my tool box (shoutout to my aunt and uncle for giving it to me), learned how to use new ones, and worked through troubleshooting just about every issue I can imagine needing to live on my own. So why would I take extra time and energy to figure that out when I could have asked someone to do it for me? The answer is simple...I learned it from my momma. 

Growing up, one of the many things my mother taught me was to never be dependent on anyone for anything. The way she said it was “you want to get married because you want a husband, not because you need one.” While at the time, she was trying to teach a young Erika to work hard and have a career, the lesson I took from it was to develop independence in every aspect of my life. Learn how to cook, learn how to paint, learn how to use power tools, figure out how to move heavy furniture alone, be able to do whatever needs to be done, and if you can’t, learn how to figure it out. This is a lesson I have taken to heart. This August, I used it to better my understanding and abilities in an area I have always been less than confident in: using the items in a tool box. 

In the last year I’ve also learned that being independent doesn’t mean there is something wrong with asking for help. I won’t elaborate too much here, as that’s a topic for another time. But I will say that being independent doesn’t mean doing everything alone, but doing what you can and learning what you can’t from others. I was able to put this to work building a bookcase. 

All in all, as small as it may seem, at the end of a long day of class, when I go rest in my room, I look at everything there with a feeling of accomplishment. From the clean line between the white ceiling paint and the grey-blue walls to the DIY collage of pictures and the shelf holding my books, I am able to smile knowing that I did that. It may be small, but it is a symbolic reminder that I can and I will complete anything that I put my mind to.