Updated: May 16, 2020
Society has always told us what is young and old, what is beauty and what is not beauty, and we believe what they say. Have you looked in the mirror and realized that a person who has never met you cannot define you? I have heard “they have it down to a science how a human will be at certain ages of life.” But they never take into consideration that some people are wired differently, their deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has blessed them to outdo the norm: they may blossom later than usual, or perhaps, the Universes did not grant them their time until they went through the fire of trials and tribulations.
I will give you five examples of why you should put aside “what they say” and look deeper into the person.
My Great-Grand Mother, Lula, Mae was Native American and Jamaican. She lived to be 111 years old, but her birth certificate was lost, and we truly believe she was older. Throughout her life, she enjoyed having fun, not taking mess from anyone, and being a pillar in the community. I was fortunate to witness her in her 80’s, dancing and dropping it down to the floor and getting up like she was a 20-year-old twerking. At her age, without taking medications, she should not have been able to do that, but she defied the odds and continued dancing until her 90’s.
My Grand Father Bo-Bo is the statue I am currently. He was an outstanding athlete. We come from my Great-Great Grand Father, Jessie, who was Native American and White and stood 7’2” 360lbs. After losing a leg, Jessie was still able to plow a field that the doctors said, “he would not be capable of.” Bo-Bo is 85 years old now; he still plows, plants and maintains his 20 plus acres of land while doing other community members’ yards. At the age of 40, he manually out plowed a mule – and this was after his 3am shift as the city’s Garbage man.
My grand-mother in-law, Rochelle, is 91 years old, and she will be 92 in October. She is a 6’0” Native American and African American. She gets around and looks like she is in her 60’s. I remember watching her climb the ladder to put up her Christmas lights while telling me stories about how she taught herself to read and write. One day, for no reason she playfully grabbed my head and gripped so hard that I had no other choice but to say, “yes ma’am” while she laughed to say, “Good Night.” Her doctors do not understand how she does all this at her age.
My Father Jack was diagnosed with lung disease after inhaling asbestos during his time as Heat Ventilation Air Condition (HVAC) Mechanic. The doctors wanted him to get a lung transplant, which gives only five years max to live, and allows for only two transplants in a life time. He showed those doctors that he is wired differently and believes in a higher power. Without the transplants, my father lived 17 years with the disease and went to gym to lift weights four days out of the week. That is seven more years than he would have with transplants.
My Mother Cynthia, who is a breast cancer survivor, would not let cancer defeat her. Everyday she kept her spirt high when she could have given up. Despite seeing patients get carted out of the building, losing her appetite, losing my Father (Husband of 34 years) months prior, and then losing her oldest brother eight months prior to my Father, she always kept smiling. Many people would have sunk into a deep depression or given up on life, but she did not. She is persevering throughout life and defying the odds because of a higher power.
I am the seed of this great DNA that has been passed down for generations. I can only imagine what stories are lost in the wind. However, I do have a clue because I am a living example of who my people are and what we become by DEFYING THE ODDS.