I didn't have the traditional Urban American youth struggles as an upbringing as most do. My background is different, and from my background being different, I call it my distinction.
I grew up going back and forward from Richmond, California, to Atwater, California, traveling between my parents and grandparents home. I come from Suburban America, yet I choose to be raised in Urban America. I felt more at home in Richmond because I was able to define myself within the hood and Urban communities. But I had to train myself to survive in two separate, different ways of living.
While I grew up in middle class America, never wanting for more or in need for anything else. So I learned early on how to humble myself as a child, I learned how to appreciate living. I was taught to be a giver, and never a taker.
However coming up in Suburban America the struggle is to fit in. I attended Atwater High School my freshman year in Atwater, California. It was different and so was I.
I was teased, taunted and bullied about my African American features, I hated my figure as a black woman, so I began to hate myself. That made me permit others to define me, to silence me.
By being in two separate environments therefore shaped who I am. And I learned how to be myself. To be appreciative, to give, and yet be outspoken, to fight back with whatever I had.
To fight I learned the most dangerous weapon for any African American to have is voice. Respect Is powerful, though a sharpened voice is everything.