Star amongst stars...
Extreme personalities generally receive or are met with extreme responses or reactions-which is probably why people either love me or hate me, with me, there is no in between. Growing up I developed ways in which I could deflect or detach myself from the hurtful things that people would say or do. I am or was (depending on your view) a walking, talking, living, breathing, cliché or ‘punch line,’ and or stereotype. Having said that, I am neither ashamed nor embarrassed about myself, my family, friends, or where I come from. I come from a broken home, a family that is riddled with sexual abuse, physical abuse, substance abuse, and emotional abuse. A family that is no stranger to teenage pregnancies, shotgun weddings, cheating spouses, closet gays, living off welfare, high school dropouts, etc. This does not and should not mean that we do not have value or worth, or that we cannot contribute something positive to society.
We may not be able to change the circumstances by which we are born, that does not mean that we cannot or should not just accept them as our ‘fate’ or that we cannot do something with the hand we are dealt. I may not have been born into a family of wealth or ‘class.’ I may be or resemble the stereotype or punch line of what it is to be poor, uneducated, and dysfunctional, this does not mean however, that I cannot or am unable to make the best of my situation and or circumstances. This is why I have never been one to mince my words when it comes to saying what I am feeling or thinking, or calling others out about what they may say or think about me and or my family.
It’s not a quality that is always received well or viewed as ‘acceptable’ behavior in this society. I often jokingly say I was born without a filter; I am disinhibited, frank, and outspoken. I am known for ‘putting myself on blast,’ as my friends and children like to tell me. I do this because I have spent my life listening and being treated as though I should be embarrassed or ashamed for who I am and where I come from-only I’m not. I have watched others being mistreated, abused, mocked, made fun of, ridiculed, and belittled, for their circumstances, or for their heritage, or their past. People make a ‘good living’ doing this, while others just do it for the sake of doing it, either because they do not know any better or they just don’t care if what they say or do may hurt or damage someone else. This is why I am often the butt of my own jokes, and why I ‘put myself on blast’ and do not filter myself. I make fun of myself and make jokes at my own expense all the time, and I write and share my personal thoughts and feelings with perfect strangers. You like me or you won’t, you’ll either get it or you don’t, I seek no approval from anyone. I refuse to feel bad about, embarrassed of, or ashamed for, who I am, what I look like, what I believe, what I have been through, what I have or don’t have, what I need or want or what I aspire to be.
However dysfunctional or disturbing one’s life may appear to be, or seem, however tragic or dire circumstances or events may have been or are, I refuse to believe that we cannot make the best of them. Keeping and maintaining a positive outlook and a sense of humor about life and whatever we may have gone through, been through, or have been forced to endure, are just some of the ways we can overcome the odds and turn things around, in a positive direction. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it, our past does not define us, it refines us.
I have never owned a brand new car or home, almost everything I have or have had was previously owned, used, lived in, or wore, I have always dreamed of becoming a writer, a college graduate, and to earn a good living, providing my children with the monetary things I did not have or possess while I was growing up. The fact that it has not happened yet, does not mean it cannot happen or will not happen, but even if I cannot provide it for them, should not, will not, does not, mean they cannot make it happen for themselves, or get it or want it for themselves.
Some of what my family has been through and overcome and endured may not be ideal or the stuff dreams are made of, may be ‘ghetto’, ‘trashy,’ disgraceful, distasteful, classless, or whatever other word others deem ‘beneath’ them or unworthy, so what. Say what you will, think or believe what you want, we will make no apologies for how others may view, judge, or see us. We own it, we live it, we are who we are, and whether we change our stars and become someone of value and or worth in others eyes or not, I pray we never lose sight of where we came from, and perhaps more importantly, where we are going. I may not outshine, standout, burn as bright, shimmer or glean, as much as the other ‘stars’ do. I am still a light in someone’s life and eyes, and so we all are too. Whether we are the star that burns fast and bright and burns out in a spectacular fashion or we are merely a star among stars, we all shine amidst the heavens.