Growing up, my Na Na (grandmother) always told me, "Tionna, you should write a book about your life. it’s interesting baby" Me? I laughed it off and didn't pay much attention to her shenanigans, you know grandma, and she’s always saying something crazy that we "young folks" just wouldn’t understand, but then I got to thinking. . . My reality is kind of like what they sell in the stores today and what the media try so desperately to sell. So maybe Grandma isn't so crazy after all. But if I would make a book, who would publish it? Where would it sell? I mean I’m only seventeen, who will take me serious, but like my daddy always told me, "Never sell yourself short, no matter what you are being faced against." So I took that and ran with it. Some may call me crazy, man I think I'm crazy, but isn't this what dreams are made of. I mean it starts with this really insane idea that no one believes but you, something that seems unreachable to the rest of society but you know in your heart that you can do it, no matter how impossible it may seem. As a little girl I always put my dreams over good enough. I was always trying to be the best in whatever I did. It was the mentality I was forced to have growing up, not only because I was African- American, but because I was an African-American female. I was always criticized for what I did. I played basketball, I enjoyed videogames, I watched football, I hung with the guys, I didn't too much enjoy any females company, I didn't chase after guys, I was very independent in everything I did, academics always came first, and I was every guys dream girl. You see why I had a lot of controversy right? Girls just didn't like me. I never really cared either; I mean it was what it was. Being a writer I knew I would always have that criticism, even if it was one out of three hundred, I was ready for whatever people had to say about me. I grew up with the mentality, "If you don't have haters, you’re doing something wrong." So I mean hey, I live my life, regardless of the people who try to bring me down. I just see it as another hurdle I have to get over. Well now my life is filled with college applications, scholarships, college tours, ACT prep, boys, drama, friends, lectures, high school, and work. I'm living the teenage dream here. I guess you can say I’m a little weird; I’m kind of like a goofball. I really don't take anything serious, my dad always told me that would get me in trouble later on down the line, but whatever that's the joy of being a teenager, I don't really care. I want all my mother’s to know and understand that this is a very emotional topic for me and I cried while writing this myself, and if you ever want to know how to love your child even when you think you can't this is for you. I mean no disrespect while writing just trying to let my readers know the life I was forced to have. Fresh out of grammar school and fresh into Dunbar High School, my mother is out ripping and running the streets like she owns them. Shutting down every block when she approaches; at the age of fourteen, my mother made one of her biggest mistakes she would probably ever make in her lifetime. . . Me. See somewhere between her mentalities somebody forgot to tell her that all that wears off soon, baby girl slow down. So at the tender age of fourteen she was pregnant, lost in this cold lonely world with no one to guide her. From the womb I was doomed and neglected. On April 25, 1995 at the age of fifteen my mother gave birth to me, she named me, Tionna and she made a vow to me. That was to be there for me when she couldn't be there for herself, to laugh at me when I tried to take my first steps across the living room floor, to make sure I got out of those pampers and into my big girl panties, to tuck me in at night, and to comfort me when I felt like the monsters were in the room, to heal my swollen knee when it skidded on the concrete from my mistakes without my training wheels, to see me off on my first day of school, to walk me across that graduation stage, heal me from my broken heart, and make sure I never made the same foolish mistakes she did while growing up. My mother never made half of those vows that is why I hurt so bad, but now I’m learning to let go and live free not for her but for me because you can never truly love without being able to forgive and I will never let my mother take my love away. I made a vow to myself that I will not be another statistic and I will follow my dreams into modeling, acting, and singing regardless of what anyone has to say or think about Ms. Norris. This is my life and I’m writing my story and sorry if I’m not perfect but I was born this way and I’m damn happy about it. My mother missing in my life has made me one a hell of a woman, I’m stronger than most people my age because I was forced to be and if you think for one second you can take me down with your bitter twisted lies think again because I’m a phenomenal woman, phenomenally. I raised 5 children by myself while maintaining a GPA above 3.5, handling honors classes AP courses, tests and as well as my career. I am super woman; It’s been days where I just wanted to give up and let go but I can’t because that is what my mother wants of me, that is what society suspects of me, and sadly that is what some of my teachers are waiting for. Most want to see my fail, and boy do I love that feeling. Being able to say I made it with a smile will be the greatest moment in my life. I don’t care too much about the fame, or the money, or the fast lane. Modeling, acting, and singing make my heart pound, my mind race, my feelings flutter, and my future bright. It’s the only way out of my generation’s cycle. So mark my words, I will graduate from high school on time, I will attend college, I will follow my career, I will not be another statistic, and I will not fall product to my environment. I have to make my mother proud, I have to show her that I was her best mistake and even though she is the way she is, it’s alright because I turned out fine. And I will make everyone who ever second guessed me, regret it. Write it down, take a picture, record it, I said it first. I have to move my family out so far from here and you’ll never see me settle because they want us here. I am the words between the lines, I am the truth behind the lies, I am the words unspoken, I am the dreams while you sleep, I am the tears that you weep, and I am a story waiting to be told. I used to be the victim but from now on, I am the victor. Don’t feel bad for me, don’t cry for me. Smile at me because I am blessed, I’m living life the way I should and I found the strength to forgive in order to love. Judge me, criticize me, but you will never break me down and you will never see a sweat. I am who I am, and before I go, I want the world to know I WAS HERE!