Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Greatest Thing My Mother Ever Taught Me

I always seem to find inspiration and something to say at around 2 or 3am. Sometimes inspiration... it doesn't have a normal schedule.

Many can relate to me when I say that the economy has truly taken its toll. I ended up popping on "Cinderella Man" in the wee hours of this morning; for those who haven't seen it, first: go rent it, or download it to Wii, or whatever it is we do now. But for those who haven't seen it, it is the story of James J. Braddock, who was a boxer during the Great Depression, who overcame all odds, and went from an injured, broke underdog to world champion (plus, Russell Crowe is just brilliant).

At this point, I have been freelancing for a surprising 7 months. Read: when I say "freelancing", I really honestly mean "looking for a full-time job, drawing furiously to pay the bills, and drinking lots and lots of coffee." I love the movie Cinderella Man because it really cuts to the heart of the viewer (or maybe I'm just a big softie). For most of the movie, we witness the hardships that the Braddock family endures during the Depression. Watching the movie again tonight, not only was I moved just because it seems like such a hopeless, difficult situation for anyone to endure, but because I feel as though I am living that situation. Perhaps financially not to that extreme, but the feelings of hopelessness, of trying everything you can possibly think of to find work, yet it's not there... those things are such a reality for others, and myself.

I have read that this is "the Great Depression of our time". I will admit to you, honestly, that it has weighed on me. And most of you reading this, I know that it's weighed on you too. I came back East from Los Angeles with the intention to have a full-time job in 2 months. Afterall, it only took me 2 months before to find work. Obviously my skillset is valuable. Obviously I am valuable. Right?


It's been 7 months. After awhile, as most of you know, it's difficult to keep momentum if it's you that you are following. After while, you start to search for something outside of yourself, to renew you, to rejuvenate you, to keep you going when you feel you simply can't do it yourself any longer. You start to search so desperately that you lose sight of yourself, or your reasons for doing anything. All you know is that you need something to keep you high, so you don't sink so low that you can't pull yourself out. I have been here. And I know so many others who are there with me.

When I was a kid, my mother was a single mom. And though my dad was and is a wonderful father and drove 9 hours to see my sister and I growing up every other weekend, I remember my mom making most of my clothes. I remember never ordering soda at a restaurant. I remember laying with my window open at night because we didn't have AC. I remember walking everywhere. But the thing that I remember most is how strong my mother was; and how I knew that I was a strong lady, because my mother taught me how to be.

The greatest thing my mother taught me was that, no matter what, you must always be able to count on yourself, when you could count on no other, and nothing else. That you must be strong, you must make a way for yourself, that you must be proud and confident in who you are and trust in yourself.

Like I said before, sometimes, when we feel like we are in so deep, we lose sight of ourselves or our reasons for doing anything. We forget who we are: that we can endure, and that we are strong. We forget that we don't need something else to pull us up, that we can inspire ourselves to rise above, and rise above we shall. That maybe we are the underdog right now, but that we have the stuff inside of us already to conquer whatever we set our mind to.

I have been needing a reminder of my own capabilities, and tonight was an unexpected and welcome realization. So, therefore, I'd like to publicly thank my mother and, of course, Mr. Russell Crowe.


  1. This post is incredibly thoughtful and very nice. Perhaps I say this a lot to you, but I really do mean it when I say I know exactly how you feel. Not to try and change the subject or deflect the topic, but I to have not had the best of situations growing up.

    Although my family was comfortable middle class and we never really fretted over bills when I was little. It wasn't until my father died, he committed suicide because of the economy and job situation on his end (and other factors, I assume), that things got bad. My mom was left alone to raise three children. Granted I rose up to be the second parent figure and lost all my childhood taking care of my siblings and my mom (who needed someone to cry to), finances just got worse and worse. I think we would've been able to do someone alright if the economy hadn't turned the way it did. But because of the economy, we've had our power shut off cause we couldn't pay bills, put our groceries back in line because our cards were denied, had our water shut off and capped, collection calls hounding us, and men from the bank come to inspect the house to see how much it would be worth for foreclosure and re-sell. Every day I've come home in the last months there's been a post on our door about something we haven't paid or something that will be shut off or taken away. We've become that family that eats dinner together and doesn't talk about why we don't answer the phones when they ring nonstop, because it's collections. But throughout all this, my mom prevails. She's done so much for us and taught me so much, just like your mom. She's working so hard, and we're working hard to help her. Mother's are amazing people, I think. Especially mom's like ours.

    I guess the last point from me is that it does get better. It does and has to. I think hope floats, instead of sinks, so we have to hope and things will get better. They will. You will find a job, whether it's full-time freelance or something else. You'll find it. And 10 years from now you'll look back and go "Damn, that was so hard... but look at where I am now."

    You are an awesome woman, Erin. An amazing person, artist, and daughter--your mother knows it, and you know it inside. It gets better. It does.

  2. first, thank you for sharing
    second, you are beautifully eloquent
    third, i'm there with you in the wee hours my friend;) check my last post or just the time i'm sending this one to you haha!
    four--you are in my thoughts and prayers and it's been a priveledge to get to know you erin and continue that post-messiah
    p.s. thank you Devon Edwards're experience is inspiring as well!

  3. Devon,

    Wow, I'm so sorry to hear about all of that - that must be incredibly difficult :( My prayers go out to you and your family. The economy certainly is tough, but your story really tugs on my heart <3 You're such a talented, inspiring person, and I love our friendship! I wish I lived closer so we could hang!

  4. Kori,

    Thank you so much!! I love reading your blog - you're so thoughtful ;)

    I am so glad we've gotten to chat too! It's been awesome to have you to girl talk to ;) ;)

    xoxoxo I miss you!

  5. Oh my, I didn't mean for that to sound like a Debby Downer! Nor did I mean to take away from your entry. I guess I was trying to relate and to say that things are tough, but you're awesome and shall prevail. :)

    We'll get through, we always do. And thank you so, so much! <3 But this is about you! And you're amazing and talented, and you are valuable. Definitely! I wish we lived closer too, maybe someday in the future. We'll see!


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