I have seen many poems across the Internet of people explaining where they are from. So as a brief introduction, I decided to share my poem…
I am from long country roads, dirt basketball courts, and bicycles.
I am from the country town with only one stoplight
I am from cotton and tobacco fields, endless rows of trees, and everybody knows everybody.
I am from being successful in the classroom, track, field, and court.
I am from the Veales, Gilliams, Millers, and Holleys.
I am from inside family jokes and outside family pride
From “You are a representation of me outside of this house” and “A man should be strong and show little emotion”
I am from a grandmother that will let any and everything come out of her mouth, support telling me I can be anything that I want to be, and high expectations to put the family on his back.
I am from leaving my small town and “making it” when I graduated from a top university in the country.
I am from a side that many do not know and may not even believe.
I am from a room that felt like a prison but had no bars, from a constant fight with myself as the voices try to take over, and tears that I was afraid to show because not only am I a man, but I am a Black man.
I am from solid walls in a psych ward, from my mother telling me “you are not the child that I raised”, and trial doses of medication as I attempted to find a solution.
I am from sleepless weeks, alcohol binges to cope, and mental plots against myself that you would never know of as I flash you a forced smile.
I am from a community that does not speak on mental illness…but after being hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder following flirtation with suicide…
I am from a society that needs a voice for us…
I am from a voice saying “why not me?” and a friend asking “what’s stopping you?”