Saturday, August 9, 2014

Life Lesson: Never Forget Where You Came From

It's where you been and where you be
And without understanding, you cannot proceed
Complete, the start and the end
Then it just go round again
-Talib Kweli, History

Knowing and acknowledging where we came from is extremely important. We take a piece of our environment everywhere we go. It is ingrained and embedded in our very essence. Knowing who we are, how we think, what motivates us, our values, beliefs, the way we view the world (good or bad), our roots and our historical context impacts everything we think and believe and do.

As a student at John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, I also knew which direction I wanted my life to go, I let my light shine bright and I was determined to be positive and leave a lasting legacy at that school and in my life. Hence, I left home at the tender age of 18, to attend Tuskegee University in Alabama to allow my light to shine even brighter elsewhere. I ask I believe and I was determined to attend Tuskegee University. If it wasn't for my tenacity, drive, and work ethic, I would be stuck with my unknown potential and undiscovered life's purpose. As a Bostonian, I am a tough and resilient person with a kind, serving and tender soul.

Last night, I went to the very city that birthed me, raised me and coached me to be the woman that I am today: Boston. I went to Boston to hang out with middle/high school friends who can into town to visit and reconnect with the people, the city, and the culture. I was delighted to see my friends and celebrate our womanhood, our victories, and laugh at our memories but I was in my feelings while visiting Boston. I was so much in my feelings because I was driving through the city yesterday and recognize the gentrification, recognize that things are not the same and even recognized that I am not the same. Things should progress and evolve and people should progress and evolve but not lose sight from the humble beginnings.

When I went back to Boston yesterday, I discovered a few things about myself that Boston provided for me:

If It wasn't for Boston:

  1. I wouldn't know my own strength! In my life, I had my fair share of adversities and hardships. In my own family, we experienced tragedy early by losing my eldest brother to gun violence. When you lose a sibling it is such a traumatic event that you will never get over in your lifetime. I remember my brother babysitting me, nurturing me and just showing me unconditional love to have that taken away within seconds. You have to find another source of strength to handle such a terrible lost. That's why I live my live fearlessly, loudly and boldly because I know how it feels to have something so beautiful taken away. 
  2. I wouldn't know how to be resilient and recognize my greatness. Before my brother's murder, my parent's marriage was in turmoil due to internal and external factors. My parents decided to part ways after 20 something years of marriage. During this time, not only were we grieving the death of my brother but we were dealing with the death of a two-parent African-American household. I was dealing with this loss while attending the James J. Chittick Elementary School in Hyde Park, MA. I was able to still attend school, thrive and manage to be a top student without any behavioral problems. I have to credit Jehovah, my Mother, and our tight-knit village. 
  3. I was able to celebrate and embrace my mother's trials, tribulations, and triumphs. As a 31-year-old, woman, and wife, I appreciate my mother's strength and she taught me life lessons on being a woman, knowing and owning my worth, and letting my light shine. When my parents divorce, my mother had to learn how to pay bills, upkeep and maintain a mortgage, and raising a pre-teen, I salute and celebrate my mother because she decided not to take ownership of being a victim but decided to be a victor. 
  4. I wouldn't know that I could and would be a leader. I had my first taste of being a leader in the elementary school. I was the first person at the James J. Chittick School to start the school's newsletter on our first Apple computers with the Oregon Trial  as the featuring game. (LOL) Yes, I am telling my age. Being the youngest and only girl out my siblings, I had no choice but to being a leader and standing out. I went to numerous of leaderships recruits, mentored and tutored young ones while being a student in high school, being picked Captain of my High School Basketball team two years in a row and being able to lead various organizations within my 31 years on earth. 
  5. I wouldn't know anything about a strong, healthy, work-ethic and work-life balance. Being on the road of entrepreneurship it isn't for the faint of heart because you have to put in major work in and sacrifice a lot such as "Happy Hours" and "meaningless conversations" lol. Just kidding. But, I started working at the tender age of 14 as a Red Shirt for BYCF and my second job as a bagger and cashier at Star Market (which is now Shaws) in Back Bay at the Prudential Center. I don't shine away from hard work but I know how to work smarter and balance my work along with quality time and celebrating my F.LYness.
  6. I would have never met my husband of 3 years. My husband and I have a 17-year history of puppy love, friendship, partnership, and unconditional love. Unbeknown to me, I didn't know we went to the same school in the 7th grade until later on in life. We official met one another through one of our mutual friends at 14 and worked together at Star Market. My husband and I are two weeks apart, born at Boston City Hospital now Boston Medical Center, both Bostonians (he is from Roxbury and I am from Mattapan). Throughout the 17 years, we went our separate ways but maintain contact. I am thankful for my husband because he is very supportive, transparent, authentic and loving. 
Going back to Boston yesterday gave me a restored and refreshed outlook on patience, perseverance,
and persistent. While driving through the city especially my old neighborhood in Mattapan, I got goosebumps and reminisced about the makings of Brown Girl From Boston or simply Drea! I also reminisced about being a being the little girl at 31 Hollingsworth St. in Mattapan MA 02126, full of light, purpose, creativity and living the simple life. Even though my parents retired back to Alabama and I live out of state, I don't get back to Boston as I like to because home ain't home any longer. It is where my roots were planted and grew from, memories stored and I place I go to reminisce (my God). Home is where you make it but never forget where you can f​rom.

Quick Fact: Mattapan is a Native American name for "a good place to be".

Coaching question: Where are you from? How often do you visit your hometown? How did you hometown helped shape you as a person?

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