I’ve been avoiding writing this post for a few days now and probably if I were honest, a few years. It’s a post that feels like I’m revealing a secret, a lie I told so many, mainly by avoiding the question:
“Where are you from?”
My city is like a rest stop you’d see off the freeway; small and practical. There’s not much to see but lots to say. First, you have the local grocery store; Have a dollar ready for the homeless man or woman, if you are caught off guard they will bug you until they get something, think of it as, ‘you are paying them to leave you alone. ‘ If you walk pass the bus stop, you’ll see a tree covered in flowers. Next to it is an article of the bus driver that got shot here. He is now a local hero, the article says he was a faithful worker, husband and father, its a shame he had to go that way.
Then there is Jackson Street. The most dangerous street in the city. They even tried to change the name in hope it would improve the reputation. My aunt use to live on that street, she didn’t know it was so dangerous. She was a single mom with two small kids, it was all she could afford. When we found out she was living there, we invited her to stay with my family. I grew up with my aunt and cousins living with me. I remember asking stories about Jackson St., Weren’t you scared? Was it really that bad?
I pass by my elementary school everyday. I remember how they put me in a special class called R.S.P, the kids would say it meant, “Really Stupid People.” They kept taking me out of class for special learning lessons, but it was causing me to fall behind. My doctor later found out it was my hearing that was the issue, that is why I wasn’t responding to my teacher call my name. I blame my elementary school for making me think I was stupid. I wonder what they use to think when I would win awards for my stories. Why is this girl winning writing awards? Isn’t she one of those stupid kids in the special class? Finally in sixth grade I was put in the front row so I could hear better. All through out middle school I got straight A’s, graduated high school with honors, a 3.5 g.p.a.
And now, the only place you might find me in this town is in the local Starbucks. I thank Starbucks for helping my city be a better place. The city of Seattle’s finger print can be found all over the world. If only my hometown could change the world, if only my hometown could believe that it had the power to be an influence. When I drive down the street I can’t help but think I don’t belong here. My city culture tells me this is all their is and to be happy with it, but it doesn’t realize I’ve seen the world. It doesn’t realize I rejected its identity for me long ago when I was a teenager, I will not become this place, I will not become my culture.
No matter where one’s from, they can still strive and be something more than what society says their going to be. Rise above what culture says you should be. My culture tells me I should have never seen the world. Everyday I have to tell my culture I am different… I am not from here, I’m just passing through.