This I Believe

Taschana - chicago, Illinois
Entered on January 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that if I stay true to myself then, I will have the power to change society. Growing up in the midst of the projects I was often told that I was no different than the rest of the females, and I too would end up pregnant like my sister, and I could only succeed in “my” society. I had so called friends try to set me up for failure and family members that placed bets on how ling I could last in the “street” life before I fell into its traps. I was surrounded by drug dealers, gang bangers, hoes, and bust downs, and it seemed that they were always recruiting. But my real friends and family always encouraged me by saying, “no matter where you are, you will succeed because there’s something in you that won’t allow you to fail”. I hung out with the drug dealers and gang bangers and they became my friends, but I held my composure by not giving into the lifestyle, but just mainly being a friend to those who needed it. I learned the lifestyle and its components but not as a participant, but rather an observer to help others and at many times succeeded in changing their minds and hearts, helping them to get off the streets and on their feet.

I was a straight A student at Collins High School (an all black high school) and everyone their looked up to me for my personality and many personal accomplishments. I was succeeding in “my” society, doing well academically in “my” society. I was being looked up to staying strong in the midst of temptation in “my” society.

I moved out of my comfort zone and into Addison IL. I would be attending a predominantly Caucasian and Asian school and I’ll never forget the first words of wisdom that were given to me by my counselor when I transferred in. She said that I should drop all my Honors classes to Regular because I wasn’t academically ready, and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. She told me that “I was setting myself up for failure because the courses were too hard” From that moment on I knew that I had something to prove not only to her, but to myself. So I kept all of my honors classes, and they were hard, but I stayed after school daily getting help and learning the materials that I missed. I promised myself that I would get A’s and B’s and I did. I made the honor roll and gained all their respect, the whole school looked up to me for my personality and many personal accomplishments. For I too helped out the drug dealers and gang bangers there, and even saved a few lives from suicidal attempts. It seemed as though my new home had more issues than my old one, like the drug usage was greater and it was expanded in variety. I hung around those who were cutters, knew devil worshippers, pill poppers, and it seemed as though I needed more protection then than ever. But I stayed strong, kept my composure, and tried to help all those who needed it.

I was just me, puff Ya dig!!!!!! I acted the same way, nothing changed about me, and yet I succeeded at Glenbard East, “their” society, I was doing well academically in “their” society, I was able to help others in “their” society, and I stayed strong in the midst of temptation in “their” society. I didn’t allow my background define my actions, speech or personality. I believe that if I stay true to myself then I have the power to change society and that where you’re from doesn’t define who you are or what you’re capable of. Coming from a poor and bad neighborhood while seeing all the negative surroundings, could’ve affected me and pushed me to follow in its footsteps, but it didn’t rather it inspired me to be more. Like my parents said just because you stay in the ghetto doesn’t mean the ghetto must stay in you.