A birthday story
“You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.” James Baldwin
The birthday cake has been eaten, and the champagne bottle is empty. Today is my birthday, I am 56 years old. I was born in 1964, a time of great change in this country. My life is a testament to that change…but we have not gone far enough, in fact it seems that we are always in a mode of two steps forward, one step back.
I was the first in my family to get a 4 year college degree, then went on to get a PhD, something my grandparents, sharecroppers, a barber, could never have dreamed of.
I have been fighting the world’s idea of me all of my life. I have succeeded in spite of those who would try to put me into the box they created. I am a wife, a mother, an athlete, an entrepreneur, a writer, a feminist, spiritual, proud of my roots: Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, West Africa.
I come from a family of strong women, and it is our women who will save us in the end. My mother gave me life, her seventh child, she was determined to have me, and I became determined to live out her dream. My parents made choices to ensure that we had a life that was better than theirs.
I will fight to ensure my sons have a better world to live in. I stand on the shoulders of all those who came before me, who suffered and died for the right to vote, the right to love, the right to live as they choose…and in the end, I will be me.