Posted in Cleveland, Education, Faith, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships

Time to Fly

I’m such a chicken…I can go literally ANYWHERE in the country for grad school and I’m afraid to go TOO far from my family and in-laws but I’m too scared to fly from the nest…or at least to fly too far away. Every time I’ve gone somewhere unfamiliar, I’ve always ran back to safety, to my comfort zone. Never mind the fact that I wasn’t always happy there.

When I left for Hampton at 18, not only was I dealing with depression, but I was also dealing with homesickness. I was over nine hours away from home. I had plenty of resources available to me that I could have taken advantage of…counseling, TRIO, I had 2 ‘big brothers’-upperclassmen who adopted me as their little sister & had taken me under their wings.  I opted to go back home instead and deal with depression near my family.

Fast forward three years, I was over 18 hours away when my grandmother passed away-I was in Southwest Louisiana for Alternative Spring Break, and my beloved grandmother was on her deathbed, and I knew it. We all knew it. I remember wanting to stay home instead of doing ASB that year…my mother urged me to go, because I couldn’t prevent anything from happening. And she was right. And just like I feared, I ended up getting that call that my grandmother had passed away, while I was down south. It was incredibly hard, but thankfully, I wasn’t alone.

Why am I telling these stories? Because they have everything to do with me being afraid to leave the nest. I’ve been talking about leaving my hometown ever since I was a little girl. And I’m scared to leave home. Scared to leave my family and the only city I’ve ever known. Scared that I will have trouble making friends wherever I end up next. Scared that hubby & I will have trouble finding jobs. Scared that I will fail and end up back here.

I seem to forget that the times that I DID step out of my comfort zone? Yes it was scary…but it all worked out. And I always had the time of my life. Including this current job now.

I really do need to step out of my comfort zone with graduate school, and trust that everything will work out, because it will. I think also, I stay here in town, not expecting things to change, but they do, and they already are changing. Life goes on, whether you are ready or not, and I’m finally realizing that, as I watch all of my friends step out of their comfort zones and do amazing things. It’s time for me to do the same, to face my fears, and not only survive, but thrive.

It’s time to leave the nest, it’s time to fly. Wherever we land, everything will work out. Might not be smooth sailing at first, but things will work out. And best part is, I won’t be alone this time-I’ll have my husband by my side. In the words of my wise friend/sis ‘yes we definitely need to face our fears and get out of our comfort zone, because GOD knows where he wants to take and place us, we just have to put that trust in Him.’

Posted in Cleveland, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships

#30in30 I Wonder…

‘You can still be who you wish you is, it aint happened yet and that’s what intuition is’-Kanye, I Wonder

I always knew that I was destined to be elsewhere, and yet, I’m still here, in Cleveland, not exactly my favorite place. Evidently it’s for a reason, so no real complaints, but I do wonder what life will be like elsewhere.

I always tried to leave Cleveland with a sense of urgency, for many different reasons. As I get older, I know that when it’s meant for us to leave, we will leave.

Cleveland is all I’ve known. Born and raised here, educated here K-16, and now preparing to do my masters here (well possibly, more than likely). I always wonder what life will be like on the other side of all of this, on the other side of realizing my dreams.

Yes, leaving Cleveland is one of my dreams.

Cleveland will always be here, should I ever want to move back.

But I wonder what life will be like, outside of Cleveland. Away from my family.

I got a small taste of it when I had moved to VA for college. It was short-lived, because I dropped out and moved back home. VA wasn’t my cup of tea as an 18-year-old.

I dream of raising our kids elsewhere. In a perfect world, I’d love to round-up my in-laws and my immediate family and have all of them living in a 3 hour radius on the east coast. But I know realistically, my parents will probably remain in Ohio. Mom in law may move south again (who knows).

I wonder what it’ll be like to have our own little family away from our families. I wonder what it’ll be like on the other side of all my dreams.

My dreams of obtaining a master’s degree and becoming a counselor/advisor.

My dreams of K & I moving out-of-state (only God knows where) and beginning the next phase of our careers and education.

My dreams of teaching. Hubby’s dreams of his career in sports. Our dreams of raising awesome kids wherever.

I wonder what life will be like on the other side of our dreams.

I will say, right now, my current job? A dream.

How does it feel to cross something else off my bucket list?


So now I wonder…

What will life be like on the other side of the rest of our dreams, especially dreaming of life elsewhere?

I’m sure it’ll be scary. I’m sure I’ll be homesick for the place that I don’t even consider home. I’m sure I’ll miss being near family. But K is my immediate family, and to have him by my side will be AMAZING. Trying, I’m sure. Tough moments, tears even? Maybe.

I wonder…

Soon, I won’t have to wonder about that dream.

I can’t wait for my dreams to come true. Because I know they will.

Posted in Cleveland, Education, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships

#30in30-The More Things Change…

…the more things stay the same. It is what I told my friend tonight…and it’s truth.

You may change and evolve over your journey in your lifetime but who you are, at your core, will not change. And as a result, the people who’ve known you for years? Know you pretty well, depending on the closeness of the relationship.

There are things about me that I know will never change.

I love a good city skyline. I appreciate the beauty of it, lit up at night. Acting as a beacon, a representation of the city and its’ people. No matter where I am, it never fails to amaze me. It’s the only time I like Cleveland, is at night, seeing the beautiful city skyline lit up. I like the New York and Chicago skylines the most, there’s nothing like them. Pittsburgh’s city skyline is beautiful as well. Haven’t seen too many others in person at night but I love the city lights.

I love the water. LOVE it. I love the beach. Might have something to do with me being a water sign (Pisces)…there’s something so tranquil about the water and just being able to see the waves crash the shore. I get an overwhelming sense of peace whenever I’m on the shore anywhere. Whether it be Coney Island looking out into the Atlantic Ocean or Atlantic City on the Boardwalk or even Virginia Beach…I love the water. Even when I need to clear my head, when I have a big decision to make? I walk down the street to the lakefront (two blocks away). As the waves move in, they wash all my worries away. I’m able to breathe easier. It’s why I can’t see myself living in a city that isn’t by some type of body of water.

I’ve always been an advocate of education, always been fascinated by it. I was the kid who would make up my own homework during the summers while other kids were playing outside. I was the one breaking down the zoning in my school district because I couldn’t understand why I was being shipped to the Eastside when there  was a gifted program 20 min away on the same side of town as me. I was reading college view-books at 12, because I was that determined to go. By the time I went, I knew the admissions process quite well. Even now, education is just a field I can’t stay away from. It’s why I’m pursuing a career in it first. I may move on to something else eventually but it will always be something I love.

I’ve always wanted to relocate to another city, for various reasons, since childhood. And will continue to desire that until I actually relocate. This won’t go away. As much as I’ve wished for it to go away, it won’t.

I’ve always been a fan of sports. Lover of music. Lover of words, rarely am I found without a pen and paper. And I’ve always been long winded, I can’t do short for whatever reason. (working on that).

I hope K realizes all of this. That no matter how much I change, some of these things are core passions, that will always be part of me. I think he knows this. Clearly, he’s dealt with me six years (and I must say, he loves me quite effortlessly, even when I do irk him lol). Gotta love married life 🙂

There are just some things that will always be part of me. Just as I suspect, there will always be things that will always be part of you. You just learn what they are, embrace them, love them, and deal with them. The people in your life who love you will love these things too. Sometimes they’ll hate them, but they’ll realize, it’s all part of the package that you come with. they’ll either accept it or they won’t. *shrugs*

The more things change…the more things stay the same…

Posted in Cleveland, Life, Relationships

#30in30-To Grandmother’s House We Go

I’m a PK (preacher’s kid) which means that much of my childhood was spent in church. I’ve blocked alot of memories out from my childhood, because well, I feel like much of my childhood was robbed.

But doing that wouldn’t serve me well at all. Because whenever we went to church? I was at my maternal grandmother’s house. Before and after. Sometimes I would be at my grandmother’s house instead of church. And blocking those memories out would mean I am blocking out the good, happy memories of my childhood. The ones where I was allowed to be a kid.

My grandmother lived in a house owned by the church, directly behind the church. My parents, would often drop us off at her house while they prepared for church services at the church, so we’d be there as early as 10am on Sundays. Before my great grandmother (my grandmother’s mother) passed away in 97, they shared the house.

I definitely considered my grandmother one of my best friends. I inherited my love of a good crossword puzzle from her. Honestly? My temperament is most like hers, not my mom or my dad, but my grandmother. Everyone loved her, she had such a quiet strength. As she aged, she began to speak her mind more and more-everyone went to her for wisdom.

My grandmother’s street was where all the kids were. On my street, there were no kids at our end, and the nearest kids were down the street in the projects, where my sisters and I were forbidden to go, so that was that. Playing with kids our age (and getting to play in the street, which we couldn’t do on our busy street) was always fun. I met my first ‘boyfriend’ (it was puppy love lol) at age 12 on my grandmother’s street.

I have so many fond memories of childhood, mainly from my grandmother’s house. Sometimes she’d give us money (or my mom would) and we’d walk to the ice cream stand a few blocks away. Or we’d walk to the corner store across the street and get ice cream there. We’d walk to the CVS up the street. We’d skip rocks or race in the church parking lot. I’d sometimes go a few doors down to my friend’s house and hang out with her.

I am a little sad that I didn’t get to spend as much time with my paternal grandmother, since she lived 14 hours away in Mississippi. I saw her once a year, at Thanksgiving, so I didn’t know her as well.

I’m thinking about the upcoming time in which K & I will start a family (eventually, for those wanting to know lol), and I know that I want our kids to see their grandparents on a regular basis or at least a few times a year. Grandparents are important to a child’s upbringing too. My grandmother’s house was one of my favorite places to be. I so wish my grandmother was still here on earth with me (both of them actually) but the memories I have will live on forever.

Posted in Cleveland, Life, Married Life, Sports

#30in30-Back to Me

So for the first time in 3 years, I have weekends off from work and I have no idea what to do with myself!

Growing up, my mom always warned me ‘when you get married, don’t lose yourself. Make sure you do things you like’

I know what she meant. Her life, after getting married, quickly became a flurry of activity, none of it really being anything she loved/liked to do.

Her art went on the backburner, as church, kids, marriage, keeping house, and taking care of her mother became priority. Not that any of that wasn’t important, but it was clear that there wasn’t much time for her. 

I’ve been married 2 years now, and me and hubby haven’t had the same days off until now. And I’m very happy about it, but I am also happy about finally getting a chance to get back to me.

I get to discover what i like and don’t like in my adult, post-college life/world. Immediately after i graduated, I started a job that required I work on weekends…and I didn’t really get a chance to discover any hobbies that didn’t conflict with my work schedule.

Now that I’m off on weekends?

I finally get to get back to me.

I’m gonna try new things. Definitely trying to be active, since exercise, for me, is a struggle.

This weekend?

Think I’m gonna go play Ultimate Frisbee…I LOVED playing in  high school, but it’s been TEN years since I played. This should be interesting.

Next week I may try something else. This is the beauty of discovering who grown up Deidre is, FINALLY. I’m excited!

Cheers to the freakin weekend y’all!

Posted in Cleveland, Education, higher education, Life

I Love College: How Community College Changed My Life

I knew at the age of 4 that I was going to college, when I found out that my mother didn’t get to finish. I had already resolved that I was going to finish what she started.

How did I even know what college was? I don’t remember how I knew, I just knew that going wasn’t an option, it was something I was going to do, by any means necessary. What I wanted to be when I grew up changed a million times, but the decision to go to college did not. Where I ended up, was the last place I expected to be; yet, it ended up being the greatest blessing of my life.

After high school, I went away to Hampton University. My father had suggested I stick closer to home for the first couple of years of college, but like all kids with strict parents, I just wanted to get away from home and from my parents. Depression surfaced shortly upon arriving at Hampton, and the combination of depression and homesickness proved to be more than I could handle without a support system. I packed my belongings midway through first semester and moved back home.

I sat out the rest of the semester but decided to begin college again, at the local community college. The last place I said I’d ever attend college. No, I was too smart to be there, I thought. I remembered the jokes we told about community college in high school in my honors/advanced placement classes. ‘Tri-High’, or ‘Tri-Again’, we called it. I had no idea that I’d blossom the way I did, at community college.

The first year at community college was an adjustment. The second year was when I began to hit my stride.

A uno game, along with an urban sociology class, brought me out of my shell. I found a group of friends that became my second family. I met my now husband. I loved my classes.

As time would go on, I excelled in and outside of the classroom. I assumed leadership positions on campus and the community college quickly became my home away from home, my refuge. Community college gave me the confidence, the support I needed to succeed. Classes were small, allowing for us to get to know our professors. They knew our strengths and weaknesses, and they often pushed us to excel beyond our own beliefs. I didn’t even know I liked math, until my summer math professor pushed me to do my best each and every time. The first time I had ever gotten an A in mathematics, was in his class.  I found out I loved economics, sociology, political science, psychology, and english. And math. Community college reminded me how much I love learning. By the time I finished my associates degree, I was happy to be continuing my education, but sad to be leaving. I absolutely loved that place. I loved the experiences I had there. 

The nearby university was overwhelming. Suddenly I found myself in classes with 150 other people, with professors who didn’t care like the ones I had at community college. I returned to the community college to take classes and gather my bearings, and had the most amazing experiences of my life.

I was a big fish in a small pond, and I loved every minute of it. I had access to professors who were leaders in their fields, I had access to college deans and even the president of the college. I had opportunities available to me that I would have never gotten at the university, such as getting to be Editor-in-Chief of the campus newspaper, without having been on staff previously. Or going to New York City to a college journalism conference. Or getting the community college to sponsor my trip with United Way’s Alternative Spring Break program three years in a row. Or appear on local cable television representing the college with two other college newspaper editors. The community college was where I found out that I really could do anything I put my mind to.

Now that I have my degree, I want to give back. There were several professors, club advisors, the dean of student affairs & her staff, as well as my newspaper advisor who made college an unforgettable experience for me. They set the tone on campus, with the programming, the teaching, the advising, and really made being on campus a refuge for me of sorts. There were times when my home life was rather challenging, trying, but I knew that being on campus, involved in activities and excelling in the classroom was an oasis for me. I learned so much, inside and outside of the classroom. That community college was home for me. I knew it every time I stepped on campus, I never wanted to go home.

I hope that someday, I can help make a college campus a home away from home, a refuge, a place they can go to find peace, find themselves, and become better, especially for disadvantaged/first generation college students. There were things that my parents and family didn’t understand about me being in college, that my mentors and advisors and professors often did. To me, college is all about preparing young adults for life after receiving their degree and helping them become engaged adults ready to contribute to society.

I know that it’s a must, that I give back. I look back at my community college experience fondly and believe that everyone should have a college experience as amazing as the one that I had.

Posted in Cleveland, Education, Life

What If? My HBCU/PWI experience

I still remember my first day at Hampton like it was yesterday, when my parents dropped me off. I met my roommate, a girl from Brooklyn, moved my stuff into our hot stuffy fourth floor dorm room, and went to the store to get a few things I had forgotten. It was either that day or the next day that I went to VA Beach with my family, then they dropped me off at Hampton and drove nine and half hours back to Cleveland.

I was cool for the first few weeks, then depression and homesickness set in. I had a rough time adjusting. I ended up dropping out and moving back to Cleveland. I would later finish both an associates and bachelors degree and have a decent college experience, but I sometimes wonder ‘what if’? As in ‘what if I had stayed at Hampton’?

As I look around and see many of my Hampton/other HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) graduates doing great, while many of my friends who graduated from non-prestigious Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) without connections are struggling to find jobs, I wonder if I should have stuck it out with the HBCU experience.

Yes, I had some amazing experiences in college, with Alternative Spring Break, with the programming board at community college, where I met my husband. Made some awesome friends at community college, and a few at university. But I was feeling quite lost and like just another number at the university.  Had I known then what I knew now, I think I would have transferred to a different HBCU.

I look at the invaluable network & connections my HBCU counterparts have. I look at the course offerings available to my HBCU friends, as well as their required reading. They didn’t have to deal with the institutionalized racism we had to deal with at the university level. They were privileged to have certain experiences that black students at PWIs miss out on. I feel like I missed out on that through attending a PWI.

There were definitely benefits to attending my university. I saved a ton of money, and graduated with far less in loans that I would have if I’d stayed at Hampton. I was able to interact with a variety of different races and cultures on a daily basis. I was exposed to many different opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I’d been anywhere else.

But when I have kids? I would prefer they attend a HBCU, or a PWI with a strong African-American community both on campus and through its’ alumni as well. I want them to benefit from networking opportunities, internships & career opportunities, scholarships & fellowships geared towards HBCU students & graduates. I want them to experience that HBCU culture, as there is nothing comparable to it.  If they obtain a full ride to a non-HBCU school? I won’t be mad. I do want them to at least consider an HBCU for their post-secondary education though.

I don’t regret my PWI experience. I just wonder what if. If I ever do graduate school, if the opportunity presents itself, I’d love to attend an HBCU for a masters degree.

Though at the time, I was too young and distracted by personal issues to appreciate it, I learned a lot in my short time at Hampton University that sticks with me to this day, . I realize even now, I have more in common with my Hamptonian friends than I do my friends who finished college with me at the PWI. Even though I earned my degree at my PWI, I will never forget my HBCU experience and I will always have a soft spot for my ‘Home By the Sea.’