The Stigma of Where I Lived!
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
The Stigma of Where I Lived
It was the early 70’s and we lived in what was called the Pueblos in Los Angeles, California. I recall I was 5-years old and I remember my aunt would walk me to kindergarten. It’s amazing what you can remember. I remember we had an earthquake and recalling being told where to go for safety. It would be years later when due to a fire at our home on 87th Street in Los Angeles, we would have to return to living in the Pueblos… 55th and Holmes and on the backstreet, as we called it. I would have to catch the RTD from the Pueblos to Compton where I attended school at Walton Middle School. The bus would have to go through Watts and on occasion it would break down in Watts… or something happened that we would get stuck there, at least once a week it seemed like. I can also remember living in what was known as the Pondarosa in San Bernardino, which is where all the alcoholics would hang out and drink all day long. I recall living in motels because that’s all my mother could afford.
When I got older, I became increasingly concerned about where I lived growing up. I thought am I going to have to lie about where I lived to be given a chance? Would the “stigma” of where I lived be a determining factor in what I would be able to achieve or not? Would I be looked upon differently? Would it be assumed I was uneducated? Doomed to fail and more? Where did these thoughts come from? Why would I even be thinking such things? All these experiences weren’t bad, so why would they come with a stigma associated with them. The truth is, sadly, they did. But it was not my denial that was going to make the difference. I was my making a difference that would make the difference in how I may or may not have been perceived.
Never let where you live be a determining factor in your future, your dreams, or your destiny. Yes, where we come from will influence us, but that influence does not have to be negative. It it only negative when we allow it to be. We’ve all heard the cliché, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. We have a choice in all circumstances and situations in life. The choices we make day-to-day, determine or tomorrows. I eventually arrived at a place where I was no longer trying to hide where and how I grew up, but I came to understand and accept there was richness in the experiences the areas I live in offered. They offered me life experiences and opportunities to gain insight and wisdom I could have never otherwise witness or gained and, in many ways, molded my life and offered the very inspiration, motivation and material for many of my works of writing today. Remember the Word “All things work together for the good, for those who love God and who are the called according to His purpose!
Also, often time it’s our perception that makes the difference in our outcome. I would encourage you to see your current situation as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle. I am not saying nor am I suggesting this will be easy. I am only encouraging you through my own experiences, understanding they may be different, that it is possible. Be encouraged!
Father God, thank you for the life and all its rich experiences that have helped to mold and shape my life. The experiences that have given me greater wisdom and insight, including a deeper compassion and empathy for my fellowman. I pray it continues to make me a better, stronger, and wiser person in you. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.