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Motivation

"I am committed to finding time and space to seek peace within,

which is what powerful women do."

~Marilyn Joy Pitts Horton


My mother, Marilyn Joy Pitts Horton is a huge pillar of motivation for me. I believe that my mom put her dreams on hold to pour everything into her family and I am grateful for that. She trusted us with her hopes and gave us resources, even if it was her last $40.

From selling posters of my poetry in high school, to producing a play in college, she was right there cheering me on. I used to crawl into bed with her, drink hot tea, and watch a good movie. Now here I am, learning how to write movies.


In my book Free to Fly, published in 2009, my mom penned sweet words to me and my sister in her chapter entitled "Silent Tears of Hope and Joy." When I thought about what motivates me, I reread her words and was overcome with emotion. For a few minutes I had to allow myself to feel the grief of her not being here for the last six years. "I was not able to raise you to have everything you wanted, but I did try very hard to provide what you needed. I smile as I look at you - determined women of God." Although I keep lists of favorite quotes in my journals, nothing captured what motivates me to do well in my writing class and pursue my dream than what my mom imparted into me, my sister and my two brothers. She wanted us to win. Period.


In 2016 my mom passed away from an aggressive form of breast cancer. She was gone within 2 years of getting her diagnosis. Her passing rocked me deeply, not because she died, but because I don't believe she had the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of her labor. In her 60s she was slinging boxes, sometimes after hard days of chemo therapy, because she was a food pantry supervisor. She worked at the same agency for 20 years and they did not always seem to appreciate the gift that her presence was to the community. When she applied for positions outside of the pantry, she would get passed over because she only had a Bachelors degree. A degree that she had to stop because she had me at 21. A degree that she earned in her 40s when all of us were grown. A degree that she hoped she could pair with all her years of experience to advance in her career. A degree that meant everyone in my birth family is college-educated.


For a long time I didn't believe in myself. I was so consumed with thinking about what other people needed and wanted that I did not make myself a priority. I was lost in a way of thinking that I needed to care for everyone else and developed a Superwoman Syndrome. Jazz Keyes in her Essence Magazine article, "Put Down Your Cape: Solving the Black Superwoman Syndrome" (2017) said this, "Black women are reared to believe that we have superhero attributes. Our special power? The ability to take on the weight of the world and not fold." I first learned about the Super Woman syndrome in graduate school, right after my aunt attempted to take her life. Yes, I was reared to believe that I have to be strong. You can find the article here: https://www.diigo.com/user/penscribed


Within the last six years, although it has been tough on our family, my husband has allowed me to work my business and pursue my dreams without having to work a full time job outside of the home. In contrast to my mom, she worked sometimes 12 hours a day and made less than $40k. This is a gift that I need to be fruitful for his sacrifice.


I want to contribute to the significance of my family the Horton's who are my birth family and the James' who are my married family. I want to bring honor and respect to my parents, they deserve to see their seed thrive. I have wrapped my mom's essence around me like a scarf. I have stood on my daddy's shoulders. I am walking in my ancestor's footsteps. These things hold me up, they push me forward, inspire me. I want to be a powerful woman and to do that I have to pursue what brings me peace which is helping people find their voice and tell their authentic story.


Something in me is always . . . always looking to give, serve, support, provide and encourage somebody else. When I am fruitful, I can do that. This time, I am motivated to do it differently. In the words of Kelly Price: "It's My Time." (to rise, shine, live, fly)


In honor of my mom, let's dance. . .


Penda



















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