Today’s Quote:  “You have to be smart enough not to dismiss where you came from. It may not be all we are, but it makes up for a great deal.” – Julia Roberts

We all have a past, we come from broken homes, public schools, inner cities, or maybe we come from the suburbs but we have things that we have struggled with in our past.  Maybe its family drama.  Maybe its addictions.  We all came from somewhere.  But like Julia Roberts said in the quote above you have to be smart enough not to dismiss where you came from.

My mom decided she wanted to have a get together Saturday at her place with me, my brothers, uncles and aunts.  If you know anything about me and my family you know that I was not feeling this whole idea.  I am 28 years old and in all of my adult life I have never been around my whole family at the same time without a death being involved, so the whole idea was just unusual for me.  I am from Richmond Virginia, my dad was murdered when I was 9 months, my whole family lived together in a house in the city’s west end (me, my brothers, my mom, grandma, granddaddy, and great grandma).  My family is filled with secrets, drug users, judgmental sinners that all claim to be saints – and this is putting it nicely.  But I realize like Julia Roberts said I can’t dismiss where I’m from, I can not dismiss who raised me, I can not dismiss my history because a lot of that makes up who I am.
(Oh and by the way the get together went very well! I am still surprised lol.)

So much of who we are comes from our past.  The values instilled in us, the things we have seen, the lessons we have learned, the trouble we have been apart of, the people that birthed us and raised us, the communities we have grown up in.  All of those things make us who we are and yes it’s not all that we are but it’s a huge part of us.  And for a long time I struggled with all of those things, especially the not so pretty sides but I had to look at the bigger picture.  Because I have seen so much that I shouldn’t have seen, because I have dealt with all kinds of people, because I’ve been around people that didn’t have much, I know how to have compassion for all people.  It made my heart bigger.  It made me sensitive.  It made me want to be active in my community, it made me want to love those that didn’t have anything or anyone.
If I didn’t have my past I wouldn’t be who I am today.

I talk to so many people that follow these letters and the most common conversation I have with people is about their past.  How they want to let something go whether it’s a person or a memory.  How they may have been hurt maybe by a partner, a lot of times a parent, often times both.  We try so hard to hide our past.  Cover up where we’ve come from.  But the reality is all that we have come from, all that we have experienced the people, places, and things have molded us into who we are today.  You can use where you have been to connect with other people.  Because you aren’t the only one with daddy issues, broken hearts, or rough patches.  You aren’t the only one with a past.  Don’t be ashamed of it, don’t dismiss it, USE it!  Use it to better someone else.  Use it to better your community.  Use it to better your kids.  And most importantly, use it to better yourself!

Today’s Affirmation: I transform negative experiences into positive growth!

Love, Teshawn


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