What do you want to be when you grow up?
I'll always remember sitting in my third grade class and the teacher asking all the students what do you want to be when you grow up? When it was my turn I said a model. I wanted to live the glamorous life of beautiful people, expensive clothes, and attend fancy parties. In my eyes that was the life. I used to live in that fantasy world. My real life was a dark contrast of the life I wanted and the one chosen for me.
I didn't know it back then, but my family was considered to be poor. As a kid you don't fully understand the full meaning of being poor until you see someone rich. The people on the television screen were rich and wealthy. They drove nice cars, always smiled, always had their photo taken, and looked cool. The people I saw everyday were poor. In my eyes poor meant you lived on the street inside of a cardboard box and begged for food. We were a family that lived in a nice size home, hot meals were prepared constantly, and family was always close by. The adults worked and the kids went to school. In some ways my life resembled those on the television. Except we were on food stamps and medicaid, lived in the ghetto, and the neighborhood candy man did dope. Every Christmas my mom would get the big JCPenny catalog and my sister and I would circle all the things we wanted for Christmas that year. We never got any of those things. I'm still waiting for my Easy Bake Oven and Barbie Dream House.
One night my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said a model. He smiled at me and said that was his wish for me too. Growing up and dreaming are two different things. I dreamed of a glamorous life because the one in front of me meant a life of struggle and living just to get by. People either did drugs, sold drugs, or both. Deep down inside I knew there was something cooking inside of me that said you're going to be somebody, you're going to be someone special someday. I could feel it in my heart and deep down within my soul. Growing up in an impoverished neighborhood allowed me to see the ugly side of life. But, it also taught me that this life will never be as picture perfect as the one on TV or in real life. Sometimes we have to see the ugly in order to appreciate the beautiful. I never wanted to be a product of my environment. I never stopped dreaming. I'm no supermodel, got my mom's gene's to thank for that. I am a writer. I create stories and characters that resemble real life and someday my words will touch the hearts of millions. In my book that's priceless.
I'm still growing and changing as long as my feet are able to touch the ground. This journey will either make you strong or weak. My past is my past and I stand in front of you grateful for all that the Lord allowed me to see. If it were not for those drug addicts and drug dealers, I probably would have folded and conformed to this world. I'm on my way to my destiny. So, if someone asked you, what do you want to be when you grow up? What would you say?