I am from Keith and Darlene and Pauline Baptist Church and Four Oaks.
From the Piedmont of North Carolina, where our house was nestled in a forest of pine trees and my uncles made families around the pond.
From majestic red cardinals and squirrels in trees and deer in the back yard and fish in the stream.
From blue beaches and Smoky Mountains.
From hunting and fishing and camping out and Boy Scouts.
I am from community pig pickin’s and cole slaw and hush puppies and tea so sweet you can’t stand it and 25-layer chocolate cakes and Mama Andy’s cupcakes and maw-maw’s homemade biscuits and chicken pastry and grandmother’s fudge and chocolate chip cookies and covered dishes and community fish fry's and fall harvest sales and turkey shoots.
I am from blue-collar, strong small business owners who go to church on Sunday morning, volunteer at the fire department, and vote every election no matter what.
I am from “bless your heart” and “I declare” and “y’all come over anytime” and “we struggle and work in this life so that we can enjoy Heaven in the next.”
I am from Boy Bands, AOL Instant Messenger, and the age of romantic comedies and MTV movies and the Disney Channel.
From Garth Brooks, Y2K, the Millenial Generation, cell phones.
I am from a community I had to leave in order to be myself and fulfill my identity and dreams.
I am an adult in the world, but I carry Four Oaks and Parker in my heart.
To deny where I am from is to deny my identity.