Letter to LJ…
We’ve never met but you are important to me for the simple fact that you are important to “O” someone I love very much. She is so proud of you, wants so much for you… and loves you so much, therefore I… as a friend to her… have some love for you also. THAT in addition to over a million other reasons should be a good motivator for you to keep that Crazy, Old, Smart Azzed, Crusty, Puerto Rican FOOL around.
A little background on me: I was born and partially raised in one of the toughest cities in the world; I’m an Overweight, Lesbian, Black… Woman that didn’t go to college, someone who needs her job in order to ‘get by’… any one of those things BY ITSELF is a recipe and open invitation to be Discounted, Dismissed and Disrespected on a daily basis. Since I graduated High School I have been working in white, straight, size biased, gender biased, homophobic, racist, male dominated Corporate America. Please know I am Discounted, Dismissed and Disrespected REGULARLY. I am self-taught in almost everything and I have to prove myself over and over again EVERY day.
Growing up there were years my family did really, really well… house with a pool… 4 car garage, three family home… Catholic Private Schools, family businesses, a cheating husband/dad, an indifferent mother, a crazy sister and an extended family that overall makes a pack of vultures seem tame. Kind of a Haitian version of the Cosby Show meets the Black American version of Desperate House Wives. There were also years my family did really, really badly… living in the projects, sleeping on the floor, eating Ramon Noodle Soup (all day, every day because they were 10 packs for a $1.00), having no furniture and going to GoodWill for ‘new jeans’, with an absentee deadbeat dad, an oblivious mother, a bully for a sister and an extended family that makes enemies seem like old friends. Kind of like a Haitian version of Good Times meets the Black American version of All in the Family/Jefferson’s BEFORE they ‘moved on up’ (maybe before your time sorry lol).
My point… I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth… but I’ve eaten my ice cream with it. I wasn’t born in the ghetto but I survived it and it taught me how to handle the people, circumstances and situations that I have had to deal with every day. My Senior Year we had little to nothing. The only reason I managed to go to Prom was because my mom and older sister with the help of some of my friend’s mom’s… pulled together some money so the group of us could have that memory. However… there was no one to pay my senior dues, no funds for the senior trip and no class ring. I didn’t get to go to my High School Graduation… no cap and gown for me… I never walked down that isle. My diploma was mailed to me 2 months later and I got a copy of my year book when I joined my High School Alumni Association 5 years after the fact.
I’m giving you this background so you can better understand where I’m coming from… I’m not someone with money falling out of my azz… but when you are filling out your college applications or need to pay for your SAT’s… If you need help paying for your senior trip, I’ve got you. Just make sure you catch me on payday. If you decide you ever want to visit, (or escape Cleveland lol) I will help you in any way I am able. If you need a letter of reference or sponsorship for a program I will hustle up whatever I can. Your life has not been… and will continue… to not be easy, but your efforts are recognized. You are surrounded by people who pray for amazing things for you and people who believe in you.
I’ve been on my own since I was 19. On my own as in… working to pay my own way… full time job, my own apartment… bills in MY name. College was not an option for me; I had to work in order to live. There has never been anyone, and there is still no one… I can ‘call’ for help. That is not a life I wish on you, it’s not a life I wish for anyone. So I try to help… hoping that maybe in some way it will make a difference, and pave the way for someone else’s life to be BETTER than mine was at certain times. I give… hoping to make things a little easier for someone else and maybe take some of the pressure off. I read somewhere once: “The world is full of givers and takers. Takers will eat better… but Givers will sleep better.”
That having been said you are an intelligent young black man with dreams… a sense of decency, aspirations… a good head on your shoulders, and common sense… the Holy Grail, so there is a point to this letter. Being a black man is an obvious open invitation to be Discounted, Dismissed and Disrespected EVERY day. You will always need to be Stronger, Faster, Smarter… BETTER than everyone else. For the things “O” says you want… in life you will always… always need to make smart choices; the circles you run in, the schools you go to, the jobs you take and the habits you form. You will have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You will compete with others who have an advantage; more knowledgeable, more experienced… better connected etc. it is up to YOU to make those tough choices in order to build the life YOU want. Always remember where you come from. Let your roots be the foundation you build upon… in order to become the MAN you were BORN to be. We are molded by the circumstances of our lives… not defined by them.
You have people you can count on to support you and be in your corner, “O” and I among them. You are every BLACK Mother’s dream; a son… with a brain, a good spirit and a future… shaping himself into being a GOOD MAN and NOT STATISTIC. I didn’t have a consistent father figure… my uncles weren’t really in my life and I don’t have any brothers. So please know this care package and my offers are not charity. They are an investment in YOU and an investment in your future… because I don’t have a son yet… but I will… and when I do… I would want YOU to be someone he could look up to… and help me… teach him… how to be a man.
Please… ‘call me’ if you need me.
Always with Love – NovaCSA