My momma always told me and my lil’ sister that if we ever feel ashamed about how we make our money no matter where we at in life then we shouldn't be doing it. I was 17 years old and working my first job at Popeyes in Plattenville, Louisiana. I was working every few days out the week 4 pm until closing, especially on the weekends. 

When my shift was over, and I arrived home my khaki pants would be grease, battered, and Strawberry Fanta soda stained! I would smell of fried chicken, buttered biscuits, and a hard day’s work. Some weeknights, I wouldn't make it home until 1 am. My auntie Beulah and her husband Anthony would have a got-damn fit with coming to pick me up every time. My auntie would do the cussing, his crazy ass would do the agreeing, and I would be tuning both of them out.

It wasn't until my coworkers and manager saw firsthand that they were impatient and mean to me that I started catching rides with one of them home. I hated feeling like a charity case. Everyone who knew me in the 10th grade at my high school knew I was working at Popeyes. It was a little odd being one of the only black girls sitting in class sleeping because I pulled an all-nighter to do my homework and study.

No one knew my struggle. A few of my classmates used to joke with me about getting them on the job. I just knew that it was just a way to clown me while trying to start a conversation. My job was barely paying me $200 every two weeks at $7.25 an hour.

Just this past weekend, I thought about how I use to try to hide the grease stains that didn't budge when I washed my khaki uniform pants that I had to still wear to school. I used to be so embarrassed because I know how horribly I was going to get clowned before I even stepped on the school’s campus. I used to have to give myself pep talks on the way walking to school. Bracing myself for the bullying and bullshit that I was going to have to push through was normal for me.

I was ashamed of how hard I had to work to get basic things. I was working at 17 because I was tired of not having anything nice for myself. I was tired of going hungry towards the end of the month because my momma no longer had any social security money to spend or food stamps. I was working to longer see my momma slave in the sugar cane fields.

Still, to this day, I work hard for what I know I deserve. I strive in life for the change that I want to create. Nothing is handed to the girl who sits in a corner and plays with her thumbs. For real though, you must do what the hell you have to do these days to make a living. If that means stepping out of my comfort zone to make an honest living I will.

I ran into a subscriber of mines while shopping at a local grocery store this past weekend. She was nervous to approach me because she was still in her work clothes. She worked at Waffle House and was scared to give me a hug because she didn't want to get stains on my clothes. 

I told her, “Boo, there's no need to be ashamed of how you make your money. I'm definitely not going to judge you!”

She smiled with tears forming in her eyes and gave me huge hug. We talked about motherhood, how much she loved my videos and being natural. I was so happy that she felt comfortable with talking to me. Putting a genuine smile on her face was one of the highlights of my afternoon. She told me she never likes to be outside of work in her uniform.

I told her that there are women out here in this world who are doing things to make money that the average woman would be dragging for. I encouraged her to stop giving a damn about people's opinions on her occupation.

One thing about it is that those people talking sho’ not going to volunteer to pay your bills or mines. I reminded her that her job is only as temporary as she allows it to be. Now she is a reader of my site and finding her strength to keep pushing to provide a better life for her 3-year-old son.

I want to encourage someone today to be confident in everything that they do. No matter how you are anyone else makes a living is not anyone's business, but the IRS. Well, if it's under the table money, I still say DO YOU. Do not be ashamed of how you provide for yourself and or family. Life is too short to be living a secret life behind closed doors to make a dollar. 

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