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Two Sides to My Coin

April 9, 2010

I remember the first time I heard this poem.  I laughed, cried and  thought: “well damn, now there’s some shit I can relate to”.  My past may not have been as extreme as the poet in this piece, but my past is different from most of my present day friends and colleagues.   I live my “upper class lifestyle” now but it wasn’t always like this and that’s something I try to forget.  I’m not embarrassed of my past, but I want to “fit in” so I bury my humble beginnings to the outside world.

But overtime, all that “burying” makes me forget:  Forget that there was a time when we lived paycheck to paycheck (and not always successfully); forget that there was a time when my mom had 3+ jobs to make those ends meet; forget that I have family members who chose the wrong path and paid the consequence; forget that there’s a strong likelihood that many of my childhood friends from around the old block probably ended up like some of my family members who chose the wrong path.

Never forget your past, where you came from, and how you got here.   Although this piece is about race, the message applies to any of us who knew struggle, overcame it and find themselves trying to forget it instead of embracing it.  Not embracing it to boast, but embracing it so you can cherish just how far you’ve come.

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