“It’s ok to be a cheetah in the midst of snow leopards”

Today, I am honoring my grandmother. October 18th is her birthday. She would have been 91 years old. I wish we were together celebrating instead of me writing in remembrance of her. As long as I live, I promise to never let her name and legacy fade from my mind. I will always honor her and do my best to do things that would make her proud.

For those that do not know, my grandmother’s name is Elnora Townsend Long. She is my fraternal grandmother. My grandmother was one of the sweetest ladies you’d ever meet. She had the best personality, and she never met a stranger. 😊 She would talk and talk if you got her on the phone or if you went by to visit. My grandmother was nurturing. She always made sure you were fed if you came to see her. My grandmother was loving. She always made you felt welcome in her presence. She loved her family and loved being surrounded by my late grandfather, her children, grandchildren, and friends. My mom often calls me lil Elnora. She says I never meet a stranger and love to talk. I count it a privilege to have characteristics similar to my grandmother. Our characteristics make us who we are. We should never be ashamed of how we are programmed. My grandmother was never ashamed of who she was or ashamed of her walk with Christ.

The last years of her life, grandma lived in Reed house in the Traceway retirement home. When I’d go visit, she’d tell me what she’d told her housemates that week as they sat around the dinner table. She’d preach to them about something they’d done or said that she felt was wrong. I’d laugh. I’d say grandma. You can’t tell those people that. Quickly, she’d correct me. Baby, the Bible says….. She’d proceed to tell me what the Bible said. If you didn’t want to hear the truth or hear the word of God, you’d better not be around her. If you were near, she was gonna let you know.

I need to digress for a moment. This is a off topic, but it has a point in the end. In 2012, Tupelo had a tornado that devastated the city. BancorpSouth took part in the cleanup efforts. I’d asked my children to come assist. When they arrived, I introduced them to some people in upper management. I was my loud, typical self. The next day, my boss, at the time, came to me and said my cleanup efforts were no longer needed. Someone told my boss to tell me I was loud the day before (when I’d the introduction) and was an embarrassment to the bank. I told my boss that I was still going to come but would be reserved. Later that day, one of the upper management executive pulled me to the side. He asked what was wrong because I was not my normal self. I let him know what was said. He informed me I was not an embarrassment. If he had a problem with me, he’d let me know himself. He said it’s ok that my energy level is some days a 10, and theirs were a 5/6. Some days he was a 12, but it makes us who we are.

I’ve come to the realization that not everyone will like me. Every house mate my grandma had probably didn’t always like her. When they got tired of hearing her preach, they’d go to their room. It didn’t stop her from being who she was. It didn’t matter if they didn’t like it. She was not going to stop being Elnora. I know if my grandmother was still alive today that she’d still be doing everything she loved. She would still be true to herself, and she’d still be preaching to her housemates. She’d still make a call to tell you hello. She’d still ask how’s how’s those kids of yours doing. She’d still be whispering trying to tell me something she didn’t have any business telling me. She’d still be sitting in her wheelchair looking gorgeous with her jewelry on her neck, fingers, and wrist. She’d still be everything God ordained her to be.

My grandmother was special and unique in her own way. I absolutely loved that about her. I urge each of you to love yourselves and be true to what makes you you. It’s ok if you’re quiet or shy. It’s ok if you’re skinny or one with curves. It’s ok if you’re short or tall. It’s ok if you love spreading the gospel of Christ. It’s ok if you’re loud, like me, when you enter a room. Embrace who you are and live in it. It’s what makes you unique and special. Don’t ever be ashamed of who you are. It’s ok to be the cheetah in the room of snow leopards. ☺️

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