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You hear motivational speakers say it all the time but many still wonder can change happen in an instant?
This is a story of how fast change can happen even when you’re not looking for it.
In the projects of Chicago late one night, everyone in the house was asleep except a nine year old girl.
For whatever reason she was up so she turned on the TV.
Back then there was a show called the Late Show. The Late Show came on with a jingle every night and it was the last movie to show before television went off the air.
Yes, there was a time when television actually went off the air.
The jingle went like this, “The Late Show, relax enjoy a snack and watch the Late Show, channel 2 is proud to bring the greatest of stars here on the great Late Show”.
The movie shown was a bit of a blur for this girl, (maybe how to marry a millionaire) but what she remembers is that some of the most beautiful women of that time were in it.
Not only were they beautiful their lives were full of joy, and fun. They had grapes and flowers on their tables, they drank wine and martinis and they dated some of the best looking and best dressed men she had ever seen.
This movie impressed this little girl so much and at that moment her life changed. Instantly!
Now, she was only nine years old living in a three bedroom project apartment in the slums of Chicago, yet her life changed after watching that movie.
Shortly after watching this movie she went to the welfare office with her mom and noticed there was a long line. It was for rations of government cheese, powdered eggs and powdered milk.
She pulled on her moms coat while they were standing in line and asked “why do we have to stand in line to get food” her mom told her to “shut up”.
She Could Not Get the Movie Out of Her Mind
But she couldn’t get this movie out of her head where she saw women with beautiful bodies and dresses and food and grapes and flowers on the table and with nice looking men on their arms. She was nine, and she couldn’t get this movie out of her mind.
She couldn’t understand why her life looked like it did and the life she saw on television was so different. Her life had changed forever and she knew it.
The movie was just a vision to show her there was something different out there. There was a life that was better than the one she was living and she wanted it.
She got home with her mom and asked “what can I do so I don’t have to stand in line for food?” Her mom said get an education and get out of Chicago.
She stored that information in her head and worked hard and did just that. It didn’t happen without challenges. As a teenager she hated everything and decided to rebel and follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. She became a Muslim at 17.
She was faithful to the religion until she realized that all the Muslim men were after her for sex so she quit. She had not graduated from high school and found a mentor while working in the Mayor’s summer youth program who showed her how to get a GED.
She passed that exam and left Chicago to go to college in Jackson, Mississippi where her dad and many of her moms relatives live.
She got her degree and she was happy she got out of Chicago.
At nine years old she vowed she would never stand in line for food because it was such a miserable memory as a child.
She made it. Against all odds. Where family members and friends were drug addicts, convicts or prostitutes. She got out even while all of society painted pictures around showing her she couldn’t.
There were billboards with folks drinking and gambling, there was constant violence. Many days she had to step over guys who were shot or stabbed to get home. But she never got the movie out of her mind.
She believed and her mom told her what one person can do another person can do if you believe.
She moved to Houston after graduating, fell in love and married a wonderful well dressed highly educated man and had three sons.
That girl was me, who at nine years old DECIDED to change my life. Change absolutely does happen in an instant. It happens with a decision. Once the decision is made things will begin to manifest in your life to make that change real.
My children don’t know what a welfare office is not because I’m rich or anything special but because it was such a bad experience for me as a child that I worked hard so they didn’t have to experience that drama.
Dedicated to the guys and girls who think they can’t get out
This post is dedicated to the little guys and girls growing up in the slums who have to face stuff they may be afraid to talk about publicly. They may be losing faith and don’t believe things can get better for them. It can.
Just make a decision that you want a better life and GOD and the universe will move mountains to make it so. The decision puts everything into motion and the work you do makes it happen.
write by Allison Leigh Downey