I was born in Newark, NJ. Beth Israel Hospital to be exact. I was raised in East Orange and a few years sporadically in Newark. I was trying to come up with a Menu Title.

I shared my thoughts with my younger brother “Bash.” My original brainstorming idea for the title was An Urban Girls Journey Outside Of Poverty.

He said to me “when did you ever live in poverty?”

According to Google the definition of poverty is the state of being extremely poor. My mom was never poor and she gave us the best life she could provide. She was a “hustler.” I, without a doubt inherited my Drive from her. She was a great cook and she made dinner platters and sold them to everyone she knew (And those she didnt). She even created flyers that she posted everywhere and handed out to everyone.

She bought inexpensive items and supplies/ decorations and made homemade baskets that she would sell on holidays like Valentine’s Day and Easter.

This picture is old. I found it in one of my mom’s photo albums. I think it was 5th Grade.

I could remember being at her tables and helping her sell the baskets.

 She was a vendor at different local events and flea markets. She had a table and sold water, beverages, her homemade dinner platters, treats and baskets. She would buy bulk bodywashes and body lotions and sell them to make a profit. Growing up when didn’t have “Labels” (brand names) unless my mom felt like it or when we grew older and started to be “brainwashed” by our peers and the social standards. But we did have Gameboys and Computers, our own rooms that were furnished, we were groomed and well dresses and well fed.

Okay, so I switched it to An Urban Girls Journey Outside Of The Ghetto.

He then said to me “when did you love in the ghetto?”

According to Urban Dictionary ghetto is an impoverished, neglected, or otherwise disadvantaged residential area of a city, usually troubled by a disproportionately large amount of crime. The streets my brothers and I grew up on weren’t in poverty. They were always surrounded by poverty but never smack Dead in the middle. A few bloscks over? Yes. The next city over? Yes. But I didn’t grow up hearing gun shots outside, I didn’t grow up seeing cars get stolen. I was never roaming the streets with no home to go. (until I was a teenager and going through a rebellious phase). I was so close to it but still too far to “live in it.” Almost like living in bubble all of your life and at the same time living outside. You can say you’ve been outside but at the same time being in a buble outside but not quite the same as being outsid… You will have similarities and commonality could never relate FULLY!

I switched it to “The Other Side of The Tracks.”

He said ” sounds like Eminem’s 8 Mile story.”

I yelled out “Eminem has a story so in that aspect what is my story?”

He then said, “your story is each day you are a different Woman so each day you are Living Outside of Yourself.”

Ha! That’s it… that’s my story.

The title will be “The Urban Girl’s Journey of Living Outside of Herself.”

Basically it’s true stories of me venturing outside of what I know. Like the first time I drove to New York City, the first time I took a road trip outside of the state of New Jersey. The first time I ate Sushi. My road trip to Washington, DC with the kids.

Living in an Urban city that is known for violence, poverty, negativity and lack of diversity; we often times don’t venture out of “what we know.” I don’t want to be A product of my environment and I surely dont want to be on the outside looking in. I know there’s plenty of woman who can resonate with My experiences.

Here I’ll document my journey. I hope you enjoy!

I want to challenge you today to get out of your comfort zone. You have so much incredible potential on the inside. God has put gifts and talents in you that you probably don’t know anything about.

Joel Osteen

photo by: Sole Treadmill