Friday, December 7, 2007
I recently had a conversation with someone I am very close to and during that talk I divulged some very personal and admittedly unflattering information. And I mean REALLY unflattering. I will say now that I was a wild teen and like most wild teens I made some extremely bad decisions. But while I look back at my youthful indiscretions as trivial footnotes in the story of my life, this person saw me as a hypocrite. How could I run a site that tells people to do better and write a blog that reminds folks that conversate is not a word, when I have a past that would shock the conscious of most? Do I have the right to tell anybody anything?
It is only by the grace of God that I have come this far. It is true that I have been in situations that could have easily de-railed my life. It is true that I have been irresponsible, selfish and reckless. Does that make me less able to challenge others to do better than I did? I feel like I get it from both directions. People accuse me of being a privileged bourgeois negro who looks down my nose at those less fortunate. Now Ive been accused of being such a ne’er-do-well in my past that maybe I don’t have the right to tell others what to do.
Im not sure. But I will say this, my slogan is WE got to do better. Not y’all. I am included in this. I look at my life and as incorrigible as I was at one time, the only thing that helped me thru was the belief my parents instilled in me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. My household stressed education. And although what I did afterschool would end up on hotghettomess.com, I never lost sight of my goals. I had a strange disconnect between my real life and my play life. As bad as I was, I was good when it counted. And that’s only because of my upbringing. Its because my parents (who were not together) did not accept C’s. C’s were average and I wasn’t average. And they told me that everyday.
And that’s all I’m really saying here. There are some basic fundamental values that we can instill in the next generation that can carry them through tumultuous times and bad decision making they will inevitably encounter. I was a bad kid and did some bad things. Am I wrong to judge now? Does being a bad kid forever prohibit you from challenging others to be their best? Should it stop you from challenging the community around you to excel and to raise expectations of ourselves and our children? From recognizing bad behavior and calling it out?
Can a criminal go back into a community and speak to kids about the dangers of a certain lifestyle? I think so. Who would know better than him about the truth and consequences of crime? I don’t know. I feel conflicted. I have made bad choices. At what point are you disqualified from challenging others to do better? Are you ever? I’ve learned from my mistakes. As my man once asked me, is redemption possible? Throughout this journey, I have made it a point never to put myself on a pedestal because believe me, that’s the last place I belong. I’ve never held myself up as a prototype or role model. I’m just a regular fucked up fatherless girl who happened to do OK for herself in this world. And I want us all to do OK for ourselves in this world and I want kids to have a world that encourages them to be their best.
Yes, I was bad. But Im doing better now. And I want US to be better. I want us to do better than I did.
Yeah, yeah, I’ll be back soon enough talking about more pop culture bullshit but i just really needed to know:
Am I a hypocrite?
I dont know anymore.