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Busta’s Person of the Week: Samantha McSwain truly has an ‘attitude of gratitude’

Busta’s Person of the Week: Samantha McSwain truly has an ‘attitude of gratitude’
November 18
14:36 2020

By Busta Brown

This is one of those stories that doesn’t end with a fairytale romance, a fancy car and a mansion … not yet! 

The best part of this story is that Samantha McSwain is truly grateful for what she does have. So, I asked if she would share her testimony in hopes that at least one reader would inherit her “attitude of gratitude.” 

I’ve heard it said before, that the only person we should compare ourselves to is the person we were yesterday. Samantha McSwain is a faithful example of that quote. After speaking with this phenomenal woman, the song “I Won’t Complain” has resonated with me like never before.

Samantha has had some bad times, plenty of hills to climb, lots of weary days, and lonely nights. But at this point in her life; she doesn’t complain. “My mother was a drug addict, so I moved in with my father, who worked 24/7, and he didn’t treat me right. But I needed that toughness to prepare me for what was to come. I’ve always been grateful for the good and bad times in my life; it helped develop a toughness that I would need in days to come. 

“Eventually my grandmother took me in and everything was going well until I got pregnant. She was a very strict Christian woman, so she didn’t allow the life I was living in her house, so I had to move into a shelter. It may sound heartless to most people, but I love my grandmother for that, because it forced me to become a woman. I was living the party life, hanging with the wrong crowd, and also in a very abusive relationship with my daughter’s father. I didn’t see it then, but moving into the shelter was the best situation for me at that time in my life.” 

During her stay at the shelter, she had plenty of time to think. “I had time to decide what was best for me and my baby,” said McSwain as she wiped tears from her eyes. After leaving the shelter, she moved in with an aunt. “It was truly a blessing, and it gave me time to save up money to get my own apartment. I was always able to get a job, but could never keep it, because I began to fall back into that party life. I partied until I didn’t have a dollar left. I had to ask my grandmother for help … again. I wasn’t responsible at all. As a child I was always pulled in different directions, because I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood with a white mother.” 

Samantha was born and raised in Rutherfordton, N.C., in a predominately white neighborhood. She said her mother was an addict and it created a hazardous environment. That played a major role in her risky behavior and her choices in friends and men. 

“And then at 11, I moved to Charlotte with my Black father, who lived in a predominately Black neighborhood. So, the trials and tribulations came very early in my life. But I won’t complain, because as an adult, it all taught me how to appreciate the little things that others take for granted,” she said. 

While still living with her aunt, Samantha had a beautiful baby girl and wanted badly to build a safe and productive environment for her daughter. But her high-risk lifestyle halted every effort she made. 

Samantha is an extremely beautiful woman, so meeting men was never an issue. It was her choices in men. “Like every woman, I wanted to find my true love and have a family. One night while I was out partying all weekend, I met a man that swept me off of my feet. Eventually we had a son, and at that time in our lives, we had a lot of maturing to do. Our relationship was off and on for seven years and through it all, I could feel God working on me. So, instead of complaining and blaming others, I never stopped praying. I still felt blessed even in all of my mess. I had a beat-up car and a small apartment, but I was still grateful, because it was all mine. It was far more than I’d ever had. But I continued making so many bad decisions,” said Samantha. 

Even so, her grandmother remained her biggest supporter. She always knew there was something special about Samantha. “She helped me get a great job at the hospital where she worked as dietary aid manager for over 25 years. It was just cleaning rooms with housekeeping, but was a step up from my previous jobs. And I lost it,” she said with a heavy heart. “My grandmother was so disappointed in me. It was an embarrassment to her, because she was very well respected and her reputation was on the line.” 

In 2016, her grandmother passed from a heart attack. “It felt like I had a huge hole in my heart,” she said as tears were gently flowing from her eyes. As she softly wiped her face, Samantha continued. “I felt so alone without my grandmother, but after I grieved, I thought about what she would want me to do, and it put that fire under my butt. At that point I had no choice but to do it on my own. I had to figure this thing out. I didn’t have a degree, no money saved up, and my boyfriend and I broke up. My life was a mess, but I refused to quit,” said Samantha. She said that her grandmother’s fighting spirit and praying daily is what kept her going. 

Finally, God’s blessings began to rain down. “One night in 2017, I asked God, what do you want me to do, because I don’t know the first step. I had to trust Him, and then I moved to Greensboro with my best friend. I had no car, no money. Nothing! She was very considerate that I had to start from scratch. She allowed me to live there rent free, and took me back and forth to work. She helped change my life. I found a job as a waitress and every day I came home, I would put my money in a shoe box. I saved up enough money to buy a $700 car, a ‘99 Toyota, which I still have. The paint is chipped and a busted headlight, but it’s mine. I felt so blessed, Busta, because that sucker got me to work and back,” she said while laughing. “For the first time in a while, I was able to drive myself to work, drop off my son and then pick him up. I no longer partied and didn’t allow anything to distract me, because I was on a mission to get my daughter back. I let her stay in Rutherfordton with her grandmother so she could finish Pre-k, because I didn’t want to take away that normalcy from her. 

“Let me tell you how God works. He blessed me with my own place in 2018, and it was the happiest day in my life. Then I told God I wanted more out of life than the job that I had. I want to be able to take care of my children without a man. My relationship with God became stronger than ever. My best friend suggested that I go back to school and walked me through every detail. She also helped me get a job working with her at a prep school, and it’s an amazing work environment. I feel so loved and appreciated by all of my colleagues and administration. It’s the best job that I’ve ever had. My daughter is back with me, I’m back in school, and my son’s father and I are back together and doing great.  

“Busta, my story may not have a fancy car in it, a big house, nor do I make a lot of money,” said Samantha, as tears of joy and gratitude glided down her face. “But I am so grateful to have made it this far, and I want other women in the struggle to know you can make it. To all of my queens, perseverance is your best friend, and just know that God has already worked it out for you. Just like he’s done for me, and I’m just getting started. My story isn’t done yet.” My Person of the Week is the phenomenal Samantha McSwain. 

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