I Believe In Struggle

Jeremy - Christiana, Tennessee
Entered on December 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I Believe In Struggle

I believe in struggle. Many would say I’m crazy, but struggling is all I know. I believe in crawling before I walk through the pits and storms of life until I’m able to stand scarred and slightly wounded. I believe in the struggle of my African American ancestors. I admire how they endured so much pain. I can only imagine how our nation would be if Martin Luther King Jr., Fredrick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, and others didn’t struggle to gain our rights as African Americans. Would my race still be segregated, mistreated, prejudged, and in oppression? Would I have ever been able to gain a higher education, or would I still just be that colored boy?

Those questions give me the willpower to bear the burden of struggle. I believe struggle separates the strong from the weak. If my biggest problem is breaking a nail or getting a flat tire, how could I withstand the flames of life? I grew up rough, living what one would call the “thug life” surrounded by drugs, prostitution, and violence. It was a struggle just to make it to the next day. If lucky, I made it to school. There were few positive things around me. As a result I started to engage in the deeds of my surroundings. I started selling drugs, skipping school, and smoking weed. Everyone in my house was a high school dropout and I was on the path to do the same. On December 14th, 2007 I failed my test of life. This guy, named Pork Chop, that was a part of the blood gang, gave me the wrong look. Of course I responded. “Look at this slob as nigga.” He knew I meant business since I disrespected his hood, but he didn’t react. Frustrated about with the non-reaction I chose to hit him. Some my homeboys even joined the assault. If felt good beating my rival gang, but I knew I was creating maze of struggles for myself with each punch I threw. Pork chop ended up snitching and I got kicked out of school before second semester of my senior year, killing my hopes of being a success. This was my breaking point. I realized I couldn’t live this lifestyle any more. The only way I would be able to even get a glimpse of a successful life of my own was to struggle. I used my mother’s math tapes she used to obtain her GED as part of my study guide. I gathered all of my books I kept from school to cover the rest of the required subjects. I studied night and day for roughly six months. The hard work paid off because on July 21st, 2007 I received my GED. I was proud of myself for once, but I couldn’t stop there. As I continued to move through my struggles at a snail’s pace, I was fortunate to score well on my ACT and get accepted to Middle Tennessee State University I would have to accept the fact that I am a year behind my graduating class.

Now I believe that it doesn’t matter where I started but where I finished.