• DeAara Lewis

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I Was Born Into the Red…So I Dared to Be Different…

Have you ever looked at a homeless guy and asked yourself, “How did he get this way?”  Have you ever found yourself imagining what circumstances they were born under and what chain of events were set into motion over their life to cause them to end up on that corner asking you for spare change?  I know I have.

Then I look at other jobs, like the old lady who is now working at Walgreens, earning retirement but is still not making enough to get by and I ask myself the same thing.  I then look at some of my friends, earning a living, but still categorized as being at a poverty level.  Passion no longer being a criteria as long as the money is decent.  And the celebration, if one actually makes  $30,000 a year.  Finally, I look at myself, my life, my circumstances.  The chain of events that set into motion to have me still in a place where I am not yet making a full-time living doing what I love to do.

Things have not been bad, but they certainly haven’t gone the way I’ve wanted them to go…yet.  I was born into the red.  Odds already stacked against me from the moment I took my first breath.  I was first told the lie that I was black and inferior.  I was second told the lie that religion would save me.  I was third shown the lie that if a man did not love me I was not worth anything.  Finally, I was indirectly taught to hate myself because I was different; because I marched to my own drummer.   All of these things played a role in me holding myself back, succeeding and then receding.  Triumph followed by sabotage.

I would get close, then one criticism, one let down, one toxic person could turn my world upside down.  This led to my determination to unlearn destructive thinking and behavior.  I got good at it.  On the way, I decided to try to save others, mainly men.  I unconsciously picked men who struggled emotionally, who were unsure of themselves.  I would fly in, clean them up, fix them up, expose them to new ideas, new ways of existing.  They would accept everything I had to offer and then check out on me.  In my mind, I thought that since I “saved” them, they would forever be indebted to me.  They weren’t.

I was born into the red.  I was taught how to be an employee, not how to own the business, so I taught myself.  I was told not worry about what people thought of me, but wasn’t taught how to actually do that.  So I had to teach myself.   I was told I be could be anything, but wasn’t shown exactly how to do that, so I’m teaching myself .  It isn’t a coincidence that those born into financially successful families, who grow up around financially successful people tend be financially successful themselves.  It is also not a coincidence that those born into poverty and crime, who grow up around poverty and crime tend to grow up and live a life filled with poverty and crime.  Yet, there are anomalies, those who choose a different path, who also ask the question, “How?” and start digging a tunnel until they find a way out.

Just because you are born into the red doesn’t mean you have to stay there.  Attitudes, beliefs, financial conditions, health conditions can all be changed.   Dare to be different.  Dare to not repeat your parent’s mistakes.   Dare to ask “How?” and never stop asking.  Dare to look into the mirror in the sunset of your life and see a stable, well-balanced, financially secure, fully integrated being looking back at you with grace, acceptance, determination and love.


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