This is the first post to My Journey page. The blogs on this site are about the state of being for many out there looking for help. You may have read my bio, and if you didn’t you can click here. But those things are my resume. If you watched the short video explaining what this site is about you know I believe in a shared experience. My resume outlines my experiences that contributes to my knowledge base, but it doesn’t tell you about me. So outside of the blog I would like to share my journey with you. Your goal may be to get where I am or it may be to partner with me on where I’m going. However, you need to know where I came from, where I am and where I’m going.
Let’s start with where I came from – in a small nutshell. I come from a typical black middle class family. Really middle class means above the poverty line. Education was job one in my house. If the grades weren’t good, nothing else was going on but the rent. I had a blessed upbringing with both parents, two sets of grandparents, and one set of great grandparents. Both of my parents come from large extended families complete with family reunions, holidays, graduations, weddings, etc. My mom earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and my dad became a professional photographer.
My parents kept me VERY busy. My Mom drove me to be an athlete. My grandmother drove me to be a lady. I’m a weird combination of tom boy and diva. In my life I have played soccer, ran track, swim team, and a brief stint with cheer leading. Until high school I played these sports with mostly boys as other girls were not encouraged by their parents to be “aggressive”. Her main goal was to instill in me not only is it okay to play with the boys, it’s okay to beat the boys – and I better beat the boys. My routine was school, practice, homework, sleep. When I got to high school it was practice, school, practice, homework, job, sleep. I can’t stay they taught me a whole lot about money, but seeing as how I went into the field of money I ended up okay on that front.
We’ll fast forward through the college years, the business school years and the in-between years. I will sum those years up by saying I was incredibly blessed. As a black girl from Chicago the expectation society had for me was to get pregnant and not get a college degree. Well, now I have three and didn’t get pregnant when I wasn’t supposed to. I was sheltered to a certain degree in the fact that my parents provided an environment for me that set me up for success. But make no mistake, there were always people along the way that wanted me to fail simply because I was a black girl.
My freshman year of high school I was on the debate team. I was doing well. In fact my partner and I lost every round at a meet on weekend but I still won a speaker award. I wasn’t great, but I had greatness in me. I was put with a different partner and she was extraordinary. I stayed home on weekends to try to come close to her ability. She made me want to be better. My school made it to state finals and my debate coach paired me up with someone else. I asked my coach why would you break us up. He was always a straightforward man, he told me the competition is in southern Illinois where they can be racist. He didn’t want to lose finals because they would vote against me as a black girl. I was devastated. I respected this man. I never debated again. That was my first hard lesson that even though someone doesn’t subscribe to that sort of bigotry, it doesn’t mean they will fight against.
Even in my career, there are times when I am extraordinary, but it’s perceived as just okay. I tell you this so you know that maybe our backgrounds are different, maybe they’re very similar, and though I am very blessed I still have struggles. In spite of my education, in spite of opportunities, I still have to fight against the negative stereotypes associated with being a black woman.
I’ll set the record straight. I am happy, well-adjusted, beautiful, funny, blessed, wealthy and every other positive thing in the universe. The two most powerful words in the Universe are “I” and “Am”. Joel Osteen said “whatever follows I AM will come looking for you”.
This is the last time I will look to the past on this site, except to tell stories if they are relevant. Please join me in my journey.