“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
― Anaïs Nin
There are so many beautiful trees in my neighborhood. Big beautiful oak trees line the side walks giving homes to various birds and squirrels that run through the shrubbery and yards. When you are nice and still,you are serenaded with the sweet sound of rustling leaves,as the wind creates a lovely symphony.
If you sit long enough, you tend to forget that you are living in public housing.
For the 10 years that I have lived in my neighborhood, I spent the first 7 trying to hustle and get out of this place. I knew that my life would be so much better after I moved away,that I began to judge myself on my progress. I would compare myself to others success, striving hard to match what they were doing, that I lost sight of what really meant the most to me. The lust to please others impaired my sight to be an individual, I felt that my environment was more important than the development of my character.
It is not where you live, it is how you live.
Our disparities are merely rocks in our lives. In his book, Grow the Tree You Got, Mr. Tom Sturges says that though rocks present a hindrance in a tree’s life, it also serves as a great source of growth:
“Despite the enormity of the challenge, rocks are key to a tree’s ultimate survival because they retain moisture and water with greater efficiency than the soil. Without them, the tree would have less of a chance to grow and thrive. By overcoming them, the tree makes itself that much stronger.” -Tom Sturges
When the trees in my neighborhood were planted, I am sure that they didn’t expect to live some of their most glorious years unappreciated and taken for granted. Though they are in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation,they have not stopped being trees and providing clean oxygen and cool shade. They stand tall in the face of adversity and used those rocks as a positive source. They overcome the litter and pollution and courageously give us a source of inspiration.
In the past three years I have begun to take pride in the community that I am currently a resident of. There will be threats in any community that I belong to and I will be forced to make a choice of whether I am going to be a part or not. A better community will not mean a better me-that is determined by the choices that I continue to make that lead to the betterment of myself.
Where we live and what we have have little to do with who we truly are. We do not have to be millionaires to help our communities, all we must do is lend our talents and strengths to make our neighborhoods better. We can no longer wait for the perfect conditions to make better choices, with each positive decision we make a move forward into our positive life. Let us embrace our imperfections and use them to begin a dialogue that can help others and most importantly, ourselves.