Andre. See me, not the noise.

What do you see? Don’t just see me, see everything around me and who I could possibly be.

I have come so far in my life I feel like I can relate to any journey, from anywhere or anyone. I never had it normal; I had every bad situation around me. Everything was like living in a giant cage of violence and endless loss. All I had was my mom. She was every bit of two parents I ever needed. She showed me the value of working hard and staying true to who you are through and through. She made sure I stayed true to who I was by never allowing me to hang out with the bad people all around me. She didn’t want me to be lost in the streets, and I’m glad I didn’t venture out there, even though I wanted to so bad.

If I were to go out there, I would have ended up like a way to many of the friends I grew up with and now have to say I lost. What do you see me as yet? I was raised to never blame anyone for my situation I was raised to work for a better situation every day. I focused on school every chance I got. I learned things I didn’t know but wanted to know. I made sure; I could work as soon as I was able to. Everyone around me wanted to spend money, right away. I saved my money. And when school finally paid off for me, that discipline pushed me further.

I walked across my high school stage doing what so few people in my family did, and what an even smaller of people around me would ever want to do. I walked right across that stage into a situation that allowed me to create concrete steps into something I knew I could be. Am I becoming clearer? I went to the university I always dreamed of. My high school was not regarded as a feeder school or a place some colleges came to, to set up booths to recruit. But I made sure I can be that signal for other behind me. College was everything I hoped it could be. I was away from home. Away from the sirens and constant helicopters looking for someone. I was able to learn the skills that propelled me to my path. My unique path. I took classes that others found boring, but I found intriguing.

I used my opportunities because I knew I was going to get my mom out of there. And give her everything she ever dreamed. I get to live my dream every day, and I get to live that dream the way I shape it. I hope everyone who ever lives in that concrete chaos filled environment. Gets one shot, one moment to chase the future they want, no matter what that may be. Am I visible yet?

I can see that I am me, I am that kid from that part of town people fear. I am the first in line to further and better myself. I am the man my family needs me to be. I am NOT a statistic. I learn to grow, and I grow to achieve. Don’t judge based on the surroundings, learn from the character. Never give up. Don’t ever give in.

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