“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
A woman who always told me ‘there is no such thing as perfection’ was, in all her flaws, perfection to me. “Treat others how you want to be treated,” “be kind,” and “be fair” were just a few of her simple tips to navigate through life’s complexities. Defined by her strengths and not her weaknesses, she showed my sister and me what being your authentic self means. In other words, dancing to the beats of our own drums, and so I did, here to Baltimore, with my sister at the young age of fifteen. Through her sacrifice, I found my own path, and though we were over 300 miles apart, she was always cheering by my side.
“As long as you do your best, and learn from your mistakes, there is nothing else to worry about,” she would tell me. It always seemed as though she had everything figured out, when in reality she just kept it simple and moved at her own pace. She wrote her own story, inviting characters in along the way, building lasting relationships. My mother taught us to appreciate our relationships with others because you never know the reasons why people come in our lives. Beyond the classroom, personal life experiences and those of others can be our greatest teacher. She constantly reminded us education is the one commodity that cannot be taken away from you.
As I continue to write my story, I try to stay true to these principles, which makes my work personal. Engaging with my surrounding communities, the work I create allows me to build relationships, generate dialog, educate, and hopefully inspire others. My mom encouraged me to stand for what I felt is right, so I aim to honor what life presents and what it has to offer, good or bad, through my artwork. By doing so I can only hope to be half as strong as she was.
Photos courtesy of Tiffany Jones