Since I was around 5 years old I knew what it meant to be the "less fortunate." Before Thanksgiving and Christmas would come around and until I was about 12 years old I started bracing myself mentally to be viewed as a charity case. 

No matter if I was at school or church and I heard about giving back to the less fortunate in the community, I just knew in my heart that majority of the can goods and nonperishable food items would show up to my house packaged in a huge brown box in the arms of someone who sees me and my family for what we were "poor." 

And poor we were. My mother used to work in the scorching hot sugarcane fields during the summer months in Napoleonville, Louisiana (my hometown.) 

The money was difficult to make and it took a toll on my mother's body physically and mentally. I use to fight back tears seeing my mother come home from a hard day of working covered in mud and her once brown skin complexion scorched to a deep dark chocolate. 

I never wanted her to work that damn hard to provide for me and my siblings. Seeing what she went through really matured me on so many levels at a young age. I knew my mother use to be exhausted and burned out. 

People in our small town knew how much my mama went hard for her kids and many of them still laughed and judged her and us. 

It even hurt me to see my mother's effort to provide for me and my siblings. She slaved to make a couple of hundred dollars. It just made me feel like she was reliving the life of a true slave in the 21st century. 

It was definitely painful being a young poor black girl in a small town. I knew that there were many folks who were sorry for my well-being. Around the holidays I understood that blood damn sure isn't thicker than water. I never experience sitting around a table with my family to enjoy a meal. 

I never experience putting up a tree or hanging stockings that will eventually be stuffed with goodies early on Christmas morning. Plus, when you grow up poor you learn at a very tender age that Santa Clause is not real. 

Santa Clause to me is for the rich folk who can keep their kids spoiled with any and everything on their Christmas lists. The thought of Santa Clause not being real messes with your mind when you are poor. Being poor made me look forward to seeing an old fat white man bless me with all the gifts my little heart desired. 

Being poor made me really feel like I deserved to smile and have a chance to experience a joyful Christmas like the kids in the holiday Christmas movies.

It also didn't take me long to finally stop writing out pointless Christmas lists. I realized that my mother couldn't read and my auntie didn't give a damn to know what the hell I could have wanted or even my siblings.

Just the thought of some man being Santa Clause pissed me off way back then! It took me becoming a teenager and growing within my struggle to let those twisted emotions go. I had to realize that to others I was less fortunate, but I was fortunate to have a heart of gold. Even though no one was able to see my golden heart; I knew that God lived within me.

If I continued to seek Him with all my heart and soul every day of my life then he would continue to bless me beyond my imagination. 

Now that I am a mother I'm determined to make my struggle in life look beautiful. I want to mold every set back into a set up for my come up. I'm humble more than ever to be thankful for everything that I have experience. 

I remember many Thanksgivings people would bring the most unworthy leftovers (food that looked like dog scraps to eat) to my house from their get-togethers for my family to eat.

I pray to God that I would never have to relive that struggle. There's no shame in the truth or in the come up. 

One day I will be able to give back to the less fortunate. I will have benefit meals and actually, share my story with everyone who will come out to support and even get a hot meal. When I was going to my church in my hometown they use to get on the mic and say be a cheerful giver, and a cheerful giver I sure will strive to be. One day I will be fortunate to not only fund my goal but to also help my people. I'm motivated because my inner strength that comes from God keeps me pushing.

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