“I am and affirm luxury.”

“I don’t bother nobody, as long as nobody don’t bother me.” My grandmother must have said these words to me three or four times during my visit home this weekend. She means them. I know she does because I mean them when I parrot the phrase to others. She and I are a lot alike. It’s only destiny that we would be. I understand that the reason I am like I am is because she is like she is. 

My grandmother played the quiet game her whole life. For as long as I can remember, my grandmother lived a matronly, holy and humble existence– so I rarely noticed her beauty. She doesn’t play it up very much at all- never too showy or flashy. She’d be so chill and humble with her Wal-Mart jersey knit sweat suits that almost missed it completely. 

I had the pleasure of attending her 91st birthday party this past Saturday and so much about her became clear to me. The first insight is that my good sis is 100% a baddie.

Seeing her with her hair done and glamorous new outfit on was everything I needed to see in order to step into the next realm of my own power. She is a force to be reckoned with, which is why I don’t reckon with her. I recognize the etheric light she exudes and bow in her graceful presence. Mary Francis will much sooner cause hell for the people around her than she will ever cause for herself. Please know that.

My grandmother has been doing her own thing for YEARS. The same way that her life growing up in Alexandria, Louisiana is just a faded blur in her memory–so can the nonsense and mess of my life in Baton Rouge be one day. I’m thankful to be built for a connection with such an endearing spirit as my dear sweet grandmother. The girls that get it, get it. The girls that don’t, won’t. 

In her marriage and even beyond it– she got all the security of a kept housewife with none of the headache. Her husband worked five days a week in a town 3 hours away for the bulk of his career. 

During my visit, I wanted to connect the dots on her nonchalant nature so, I asked if her husband ever got on her nerves. She said, “No, my husband took care of me.”

I was so shocked and surprised at this response because I know for a Fendi fact that he was running around “doing him” throughout their marriage. That’s quite alright though because my grandmother is so blatantly, obviously having the last laugh. She had my grandfather in check on every imaginable level. After retirement, he clocked in for the role of her personal chauffeur everywhere. He would drop her off, wait outside in some cases and/or pick her up from the hairdresser, the mall, Piccadilly even on road trips in the Cadillac. Luxury or nothing!

She has now outlived him by 20+ years. That’s an entire lifetime. My grandmother has a completely different reality than the one she had during the seventy something years she was with my grandfather. What I also know for sure is that she was always running the show. She said what she wanted, did what she wanted, stayed in shape, stayed fly, and stayed clean out of the neighborhood mess. She wasn’t on drugs, she aint been a drinker since I’ve been alive and she always ate fairly decent food. She lived an incredibly enjoyable life with stress kept to a minimum. She was never competitive and told me to treat everyone like they’re my best friend. 

She gave me the blueprint for having benevolent queen energy.

My grandmother also told me this weekend that her children, all five of them, also did not get on her nerves. In the 1960’s, my beloved went and got a job at the school cafeteria down the street from her house. She could walk to and from work everyday and earn income while watching her elementary aged children grow up. A finesse.

Her children were all very well-known around our way. They did well and kept themselves occupied for generations while she just sat back and got taken care of. Everybody in the whole hood rocked with her. It could be because of the kind way she fed them at school and welcomed them to play under her car porch on the weekends. 

She did not try to control her kids. She let everybody do them! She quite arguably may have been too hands off. But fast forward, everyone is not only self sufficient enough to care for themselves, they are taking care of her too! She got these people paying all her bills, buying all her groceries, amenities and waiting on her hand and foot. Her life is an affirmation of luxury and provisions.

I come from a lineage of beautiful women who are baddies when they want to be. My grandmother has all the features of a beautiful woman, plus an amazing spirit to boot. Life is good from here. 

Mary Francis, I have you to thank. Thank you and happy 91st birthday, diva!

-Ariel (01/31/2022)

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