“I will either find a way or make one.”
Let’s talk about typecasting and boxes for a spell. We tend to formulate conventional views from watching the world grow into patterns and continually fit itself into its “rightful” space within those patterns. And from that we develop stereotypes, which are usually embedded in some form of truth, however twisted and misguided it may be. The thing about truth is that it’s never static or linear and it changes from one person to the next, one place to the next, one era to the next. So if truth continues to morph into new truths and even downright lies, so too must stereotypes, right?
Let’s take my home for example, the South. I grew up in Alabama… specifically Montgomery. When people mention my city, they seem to forget about the growth and progress that the south has made over the years. Maybe it’s because that’s what the media portrays my city to be. It’s true, there wasn’t much in the south growing up and we had to find creative ways to develop things to do. My city isn’t the same now as it was then. It was still pretty damn good then though.
I left Alabama 6 years ago to travel and explore. I never actually thought about coming back home. I honestly thought I would venture out into the world and find something wonderful, love it and stay forever. I ventured out into the world and the world saw me as something wonderful. They were amazed by what I am and all that I am came from growing up Gump Town.
Talking to people in other states about where I’m from and my plans to go back got so many negative reactions. People think that Montgomery is just what they see on First 48 and it’s all violence, guns and cops. I’ve had people tell me “there are cows everywhere, why are you going back?” I haven’t seen a cow since I’ve been in Montgomery, because I haven’t been in the country since I’ve been in Montgomery.
True, this city used to be empty.
Downtown was mostly abandoned buildings and holes. Now it’s lofts, condos, restaurants, lounges, museums; it’s beautiful. Things change and so did Montgomery. The people in Alabama aren’t what you expect us to be and we’re the ones who changed our home into what we expected it to be. It definitely couldn’t stay the same since progression is inevitable and the 80’s gave birth to a new breed of humans, myself included. We came from the Gump and we are unlike typical humanity.
We shine no matter where we go or who we stand next to. Put me next to anyone else in my field and they don’t compare to my drive, my hunger, my motive, or my intelligence.
Montgomery gave us something; we had no idea it was giving us this, but it did. It gave us heart and an unmatchable confidence in self. Montgomery gave us an awareness of having nothing at all and making everything out of it. That’s the stuff that bosses are made of. That’s also the foundation of a creative soul with the demeanor of a conqueror. Throw in a level of intelligence that reaches far beyond the average human and you have a recipe for futuristic evolution.
We were isolated in that world with each other. Without even knowing it, we were competition for ourselves. We never really sought to compete with each other while growing up in that place. We sought to compete with the world’s view of us and their unjustly made and untruthfully maintained perception of what we could not be. Their stereotypical judgement of what we were supposed to be created dreamers with the means and tools to accomplish, build, inspire, create and invent a new world. And inevitably, we developed the gifts to create something unimaginably amazing….ourselves.
Coming home feels like coming full circle and completing the loop. No pun intended … well maybe a little. I don’t really care if you don’t get that joke. The people are better, the food is better, the air is better, the cost of living is better, the peace of mind is better, everything is just better in Alabama.
Sure it’s not perfect, but It’s home. And it looks nothing like that crazy stuff other people describe to me when they tell me about where I’m from; a place that they’ve only seen on TV. I guess if I watched more TV, I would understand their misguided perceptions. I’ll just stick to enjoying the real thing and being living proof that what comes from Alabama is definitely not always going to fit into that narrow spoon fed view of what they tell you to expect us to be.