She is from poverty

From welfare, hunger, and second hand clothes

She is from an aluminum trailer in a town aptly named Starke

Where afternoon thunder & rain

Wash away your hopes, your dreams, your everything

They told her that she could never escape

Her father’s crime, her family’s scandals and her destiny

She has proved them all wrong

She is on the precipice of achieving her life long dream

In May she will graduate from college

She has struggled with her personal demons

Self-doubt, insecurity and the constant need to be anything they want her be

But please whatever you do don’t ask her to be herself

Because what if who she is isn’t good enough?

And what if who she really is doesn’t belong here?

And what if who she really is doesn’t have what it takes to make it at Smith

College?

She has made the Dean’s list every year of her college career

Her transcript is filled with As and handful of B+s

So clearly she does have what it takes to make at Smith College

She has what it takes to make it anywhere

She still struggles with herself

She still hears those voices of doubt in her head sometimes

He thinks those voices are full of shit

He believed in her when she didn’t believe in herself

He encouraged, cajoled and pushed her beyond her boundaries

And into the realms of her wildest dreams

He will be by her side when she gets her bachelor’s degree

She is not religious but she thanks God for him

And for the place that he took her to one sultry summer afternoon

Smith College

The place that changed her life and made her dreams come true

She still believes in miracles and redemption

She believes in happily ever after but wonders if she is too naïve

She loves bright colors, new places and good food

She is hungry for adventure but craves stability

She is brightly pedicured toes and a makeup free face

She can be the life of the party but the loneliest person in the room

She inserts JFK, RFK and MLK Jr. quotes into everyday conversation

She can talk about America’s Next Top Model with authority

She is a daughter of the South

She is a woman of the North

She is grits, y’all and Florida Gator football

She is clam chowder, snow and New England Patriot football

She is the very best of both the North and the South

She is full of contradictions and she’s OK with that

She is perfect in her imperfections

She gambled everything on herself and won

She believes in her boundless potential

She believes that she will get her happily ever after

But she will do it on her own terms

She is me.