Blog: The City I Call Home (Not by Choice)

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.

12 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing from your heart. And thank you for listening to what He has to say that you are and not allowing a label given to define you for life.

    We are not who people say we are…..we are defined by who God states that we are, His children, made wonderfully in His image, made to carry out the passion and purpose He has placed in our hearts.

    And He has given you a special talent that captures through a lens what your heart sees as you travel amidst your city, that the reader can feel that we have visited your city……that we have traveled right down that road where you went to school and where your Aunt used to live.

    So relatable, so beautiful.

    So real. Thank you for your transparency. What an encouragement to everyone to pursue their dreams!!!!!!!!

    1. You’re welcome. I knew it was time I opened up about where I live, it shows how God has taken an ordinary life and made it beautiful. Thank you for your comment, so encouraging!

  2. Wow Monica, what a little gem this one is, a very raw look at your hometown. I agree with you that you need to strive to not be part of a cultural mindset that would drag you down. But this blog made me realize that the most amazing and gracious thing about your hometown is you! That someone as sweet, beautiful, and wonderful as you (and others like yourself) could live in a place that some would just consider a rest stop or another town off the freeway. Your town has beauty and hope because you’re there and that already makes it a better place.

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