Growing up I was the oddball out, always. I never really realized until recently how my unique personality growing up shaped who I am today. At a young age my dad and his side of the family called me “Bunny.” I guess it was because as a baby I was chubby and fluffy. His side of the family knew me as my cute little cuddly self, but because I didn’t really spend too much time with them they didn’t really see all of who I was. My mother’s side of the family is where I spent most of my time. They were how I developed the nickname “Berkeley.” Since the beginning of time I’ve had my own sense of style. I grew up with this care free attitude, but I was never one who was afraid to express her true feelings. Basically, I cried a lot lol. I did my own thing. I was the epitome of walking to the beat of my own drum, but I had yet to notice my power. My aunts always told me I belonged with the random people hanging out on the streets of Berkeley, CA. I was just that “different.” Growing up there were literally no limitations on my adorable little soul. I dressed how I wanted, wore my hair how I wanted and ate what I desired. I didn’t really realize that I was the oddball out for years. I honestly just did my own thing. I was the youngest girl out of a bunch of smelly little boys for many years. I had to learn to adapt to being around my brother and cousins 24/7. I was a bit of a tom boy so to speak. I was the one convincing my brother to climb the roof while no one was looking. My church clothes would come back with holes and tire marks from me riding my bicycle and them getting caught in the rear tire or chain. I had to learn to do all of the things that the boys did because they had burned the hair off of all of my baby dolls, so I had nothing to play with. I was forced to be tough, I honestly had no choice. As I got a bit older, I grew tired of playing cops and robbers. It was either I learned to throw a football or I started to do the things that sparked my interest. I believe that those were the years that I spent most of my time alone being a little creative.
All my life I’ve been an introvert. I only opened up and came out of my shell around those I knew I could trust or felt comfortable with. I never showed my full hand out of fear of being judge. I was always mocked for having such a huge imagination so I didn’t want strangers to have that power over me. I had multiple personalities as a child. It seems crazy, but this was really my life growing up. I was about 6-7 and during that time I was a grade school teacher, a doctor, a secretary, a seamstress, an actress, Brandy, Whitney Houston, a hunter, I mean anything you could think of I was. I would sit for hours and play alone in my make believe world. I remember this pair of slip on sandals that I owned. They were black with multi-color sparkles all over them. I wore them with everything, no literally everything. I had imagined them to be my magic sandals. Only good things happened when I wore them so duh, I always wore them. I would gather all of my family members around in my grandparents’ house and put on plays that I had created myself. I only watched movies with fairy tale endings while eating jelly sandwiches(no peanut butter) in my tent made out of dining room chairs because those were the movies that helped inspire my creativity. I remember my great grandfather being sick with Cancer and right before he passed we were sitting in the living room of his home. He told me that he knew I was going to be someone important someday. As a child those are things you never forget. As an adult I learned to appreciate the significance in Granddaddy’s words and the power that they possess. I grew to believe that he saw something that I couldn’t see at the time. Till’ this very day I carry his words dear to my heart.
The older I got I spent way too much time creating things or using my imagination to be a normal lol. I hardly ever rode my bike or played outside with the neighbors like my brother. I had grown into making my own clothes or just always making something out of nothing. During summer breaks I spent a lot of time in the house listening to Density’s Child, learning new HTML codes, writing poetry and making my own clothes. I would even download instrumentals on the computer and write songs. I was so young at the time it was just fun for me. I hadn’t stopped to notice, girl this is going to be your life one day. I always envisioned myself accepting awards or being a public figure that a lot of people looked up to. What eventually put all of it to halt was being made fun of. I was always bullied or talked about all of my life so I learned to hide the creative side of me. There were those who loved and there was those who didn’t appreciate it. I had morphed into someone I wasn’t because being made fun of made me afraid to be who I was. I think back on that period in my life and I always wonder, how different life would be had I accepted my creativity early on. I thought it made me a “freak.” I thought that if I wasn’t like everyone else I was the failure out of the bunch. One day about two months ago, I was cleaning out my closet and a bag that I had bought in Hawaii was filled with old papers. The bag had fallen from the top of the closet and scattered all over my bedroom floor. As I kneeled down to pick up all of the papers I noticed all of my old sketches of clothes and evening gowns from years ago. I would sit for hours when I was younger sketching clothes. As time passed I had pages on top of pages of sketches. Going through the bag, I picked up more papers old poems and stories written years earlier. It was in that moment that I realized my present life wasn’t by accident. Last night I lay awake unable to sleep, I thought of this little grey stuffed cat I used to carry around. It was a prop for most of plays as a child. (Don’t laugh) As I thought about how things came full circle I was more than appreciative of my mom allowing me to be the “flower child” I was. I embraced the name Berkeley for a change. While all my critics laughed at me I could now smile at them and thank them. Life has a funny way of teaching you to embrace every gift that you’re born with. I didn’t always embrace my creative side. I thought my imagination and caring spirit made me indifferent or inadequate, when in reality God was just waiting on me to realize that it was what made me shine. My creativity is what set me apart from everyone else. It was a hobby as a child that turned into a purpose as an adult.
I am still that bubbly, fun, loving, creative spirit I was growing up. My ability to be able live outside the box and think for myself helped me develop a strong personality. I always knew what I wanted and how I wanted it. I was this shy timid individual as a child who knew nothing of the power or potential that she’d possess years later. The moral of my story is, don’t let this world shrink you! Embrace your creative side. Embrace the fact that there are times in life when nobody will never fully understand you. There will be those who find it extremely difficult to embrace you, but don’t allow that to discourage you. Do not allow the opinions or judgments of others to limit your power. That creative, misunderstood little girl has developed into something that she could have ever imagined. I stopped caring about what everyone around me thought. I taught myself to feed my soul. I learned to do what made me happy. If someone found it difficult to accept that I did what made me happy, it was their loss not mine. Embrace what makes you uniquely you. Creativity and imagination is two of the biggest things that make this world go around. I love the little “flower child” I was once; she helped create all of who I am today. Embrace your creativity. Embrace your imagination. Who knows, the very things you’re afraid of or shielding from the world are probably your life’s purpose begging to be set free.
Be Inspired. Be Encouraged. Be Blessed.