Day 16: #BlogLikeCrazy – Just A Small Town Girl with Bigger Dreams
I grew up in a small town called Tallassee, Alabama. A town where everybody knew everybody.
A town where I went to school with the same people from elementary school through high school graduation.
A place where microaggressions were seen but, at the time, lacked a formal name.
A place where those patronizing businesses in the area would refuse to place money in my hand.
A place where a band teacher who once commended my growth as a flute player, placed me in last chair despite my counterparts struggling, musically, and asking if I could take over instead.
A place where those in positions to help were never as helpful as their job title implied.
As a kid, I never fully understood the magnitude of what was going on around me until I was outside of it.
I could never understand why a teacher who supported me in my beginning stages, refused to help me grow and excel in my latter years.
I could never understand why a guidance counselor who looked like me never seemed to quite do her part in ensuring those who looked like her succeeded.
Approaching high school graduation, I was not 100% sure what I wanted to study in college, but I knew I wanted to go, and I knew I also wanted a major change of scenery.
Growing up in a small town like Tallassee, where microaggressions took place in school and very bold racism took place in public, I was determined to see and feel something different.
I was desperate to see more people who looked like me. I was desperate to be around people who just got it, a place where I could grow and feel safe.
In such desperation, that when choosing a college, I took a journey to Huntsville, Alabama to attend THE Alabama A&M University an Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
It was a HUGE leap of faith for me.
Most of my classmates were going to The University of Alabama, Auburn University, Troy University, or local community colleges to later go to one of the three.
I knew attending either of those would drop me back into the environment I had experienced for the last 13 years of my life.
I wanted something different and as I said early on, I was kind of desperate to get away from the small town, where nothing ever changed.
In making the decision to leave, I had no idea what came next, but I was happy for the opportunity to be dropped into something NEW.
After about four months of the college life, I became homesick.
I wanted to transfer, I wanted to give up, I WANTED TO GO HOME.
BUT my mom was NOT having it. I’m very thankful she told me no. I’m even more thankful that she was FIRM.
I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.
Very sternly, she said to me, “I don’t know what you’re going to do, but you need to figure it out because coming home is not an option.”
As I look back over my time spent in college and the decision to leave home, it is HANDS DOWN one of the best decisions I’ve EVER made for my life.
I am 1000% sure I WOULD NOT be where I am today, had I not made the decision to leave.
My mom could see beyond my temporary feelings of being in an unfamiliar place.
Eventually, I did too.
You see, this small-town girl had a lot of life to figure out along the way, but not once have I ever REGRETTED the path that I chose.
My dreams and desires were far bigger than what Tallassee could offer me.
But it was that small town that molded me.
It was that small town that helped birth the vision of The Potts Foundation.
It was that small town that introduced me to my love for writing.
It was that small town that forced me to explore something bigger than me.
I’m just a small-town girl who is determined to show those who look like me that there is GREATER in the world.
There’s so more to us than where we grew up.
I’m not sure why my eyes are getting a little leaky as I write this, but I am utterly grateful for where I’ve come from because it is a forever reminder that it could have gone another way.
I don’t know who will read this, but please know there’s greatness on the other side of your comfort zone.
You are capable of more than you think, and it lies just on the outside of familiarity.
The world is full of so many beautiful opportunities, TAKE THEM.
EXPLORE. GO SEE what the world has to offer you.
If I, this small-town girl can do it, so can you.
To make it more realistic, the current population of Tallassee, AL is 4,763 (1,114 Black) with a median household income of $50,313 and with 17.8% of the population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.
With those numbers, the odds were never fully in my favor, but God forged a path for me to push through to explore something greater, something bigger.
Have you placed limitations on where you can go and what you can do because it’s never been done before?
I’m here, writing this, as a living proof for that excuse to be thrown out.
How can you say what you can and cannot accomplish without trying? How do you know what mountains you can move before you move them?
When I graduated high school, I was clueless.
When I started college and later graduated, I was still clueless.
When I started my businesses, yep you got it, still clueless.
I didn’t know the “how” but despite the unknown, I put on my feet to the pavement and my hands to work.
There was NO BLUEPRINT.
What I had, was grit. What I had, was determination. What I had, was vision.
I could see the possibility for more, so I went for it.
And honestly, I AM STILL GOING FOR IT, clueless on the how, but yet still working.
To be completely transparent, I NEVER know the how, but I DO KNOW THE WHO and I know THE WHY.
I’m just a small-town girl who sees more, wants more, forging a path of my own.
A small-town girl with BIGGER DREAMS.
Until Next Time, #KeyInspires.
P.S Congratulations for making it through the halfway point of #BlogLikeCrazy. I have so much more in store for you.