From the age of five to the age of fourteen, I lived in what society considers the "projects." My experience of living and growing up in the projects was not physically bad, but on the inside I was being tormented with shame. I often wished that my family and I lived in a better part of town. My desire to live in a better neighborhood stemmed from me attending schools and having friends that lived in what I considered to be lavish homes when compared to where I lived. As I got older, it seemed as if the shame grew stronger and bigger. There was a time when one of my friends invited me to spend the night at her home, and though I was very excited and thrilled for the invite, a large part of me felt a sense of shame. All I could think was, if I accepted her invitation, she would find out where I lived, and she would no longer want to be my friend because of my neighborhood. I guess my real issue was that I felt that I would be judged based on where I lived and not for the person that I was. In addition, when random people would ask me where I was from, I would either tell them the neighborhood in which my grandmother lived or I would give the name of the area in which I lived, but never would I say the actual name of the housing projects. The shame became so intense that when my little sister would proudly tell people where we grew up, I would instantly get upset and angry with her; I would tell her that she needed to stop running her mouth so much. My sister would, in turn, get upset with me because she never knew that it was my own shame and insecurities that kept me from sharing with others the place in which we grew up.
I continued to struggle with this shame for many years of my life. It wasn't until I watched "Akeelah and the Bee" that God began to help me to see the neighborhood in which I grew up as a contribution to the woman I am today. God allowed me to see my childhood shame of my neighborhood as strength and determination to strive for better things in life. I no longer viewed my neighborhood as a place of pity and shame, but as a place that allowed me to gain characteristics of resiliency, strong willpower, persistence, and perserverence. The shame that I endured was no longer a stronghold, but a stepping stone towards my future success. So I say to you, look shame in the face and tell it that it has no place in your life, because the scripture says in Romans 8:28, that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Although we may not see that purpose through a shroud of shame, we must continue to look to Him and allow His love to penetrate so that we can walk in total freedom.
~Peace and Blessings~