Photo by Black

I keep thinking about Black's explanation in a recent Ask R&B about exercise that her motivation's "selfish and shallow" and due to the fact she's invested a small fortune accumulating size 2 clothing for decades. What she neglected to mention was that she wasn't always a size 2. And there was no apology just, in typical Black fashion, a statement of fact and an acknowledgment of her reality.

So, yes, on the surface, Black's motivation may seem, even to her, selfish and shallow. But the more I think about it, the more I think it reveals a side of Black that's not about her collection of designer clothing or even the financial investment.

First, there's commitment. A promise or decision to do something and stick with it. Yes, we all make commitments, but let's be honest, the ones we make, let alone keep, tend to be for short-term or one-off things. Like calling a friend or making sure we spend less time on our gizmo and more time with our kids or partner. We always start with good intentions, but how often does it truly become a lifelong habit? How often do we "commit" to something that will require a fundamental change in our behavior that will be difficult to make and even harder to maintain?

Which takes me to perseverance. Let's be real. How many of us could truly maintain a rigorous exercise schedule for years, let alone decades? Forget the motivation. That's a lot of years of keeping to something that at times is difficult and sometimes even painful. (Black hurt her back in high school doing gymnastics, has bad knees because of running on concrete for too many years, and I'm sure has the typical aches and pains that come naturally with aging.)

Finally, we have overcoming obstacles. I've already listed several, but this may be the biggest one of all. I know that Black loves pasta! (Occasionally, I've seen her indulge, but usually see her exerting extreme willpower.) In fact, she loves carbs. Full stop. And if that isn't a big enough obstacle to overcome, then I don't know what else to say to you. Except, keeping with the carb theme …

Cake may not be one of her temptations, but the proverbial icing on the cake regarding Black's "selfish and shallow" motivation is that because of her commitment, perseverance, and ability to overcome obstacles, she's also svelte.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.


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Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.


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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.
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I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it


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This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

At speaking engagements, Black will often ask, “Who likes math?” followed by, “Who likes money?” As you can imagine, a lot more hands go up in the air for the second question than the first. But imagine if she asked if money made them laugh. It’s probably safe to say no one would say, “Yes.” Although they’d be wrong because people laugh (and learn) at basic, but potentially life-changing, stories about Red and how, when it came to money, she was clueless and intimidated.

It could be the story of Red putting her theater degree to good use as she freaked out about vocabulary. Especially since she was a straight-A student and avid reader who prided herself on her vocabulary. (If words set her off, Black could only imagine the “scene” that would have occurred if she had asked Red this handful of questions.) But Red’s financial crisis did prompt the ever-pragmatic Black to envision the power of a sitcom with entertaining money episodes because … Money IS A Laughing Matter!

Want to read other columns? Here’s a list.