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Monday, September 3, 2018

home

while I was born in Durham County, NC.
my home is Danville, VA
home to Dan River Mills, Goodyear Tire Company, and a plethora of Tobacco plants
I grew up on K&W's, Biscuitville, and Bojangles.
my place of residence was surrounded by schools on three sides and a library less than 5 street lights away...
I guess it was inevitable that I was a nerd haha

home was the place that afforded me some amazing educational opportunities
where I got saved, sang in the choir, and performed praise dances
at an early age, I loved the Lord.
home was where I would run around with ashy knees and play in the mud
where I recited a poem called "Little Soul Sister" in the 4th grade
where I choreographed a variety of dance routines for my sister and close friends to learn
where I joined the cheerleading squad thinking that it would make me sort of popular...
enjoyed those cheers, but realized it wasn't about fitting in
I felt more at home with my books and fan-fiction stories anyway.
home is where I received several heartbreaks, but victories

my life in my hometown wasn't perfect
cop yelled in my dad's face in our home...I was about 5 or 6. Confusion in my eyes as I watched from behind my mom.
my white friend stopped jumping the fence to my house...we used to eat vanilla wafers together. I never understood why, but always felt like there was something wrong with me
confederate flags donned the last capital of the Confederacy
...three blocks away from the place my great aunt was hosed down, beaten, and jailed for daring to speak up against injustice
my pain when my classmate told me all Black people stole and my teacher never protected me
is this my home?
honestly, I walked away from Danville in 2009 hoping to never turn back

now, home is many places.
home is Charlottesville where I found out that just because you have education, no one is exempt from pressure or depression
no one is perfect no matter how much they front
I found Jesus so clearly in my deepest, darkest moments as a student at UVA.
home is Martinsville, where the Lord walked with me and allowed me to pour into young people
where I worked with amazing people 

home is Lynchburg.
I am a downtown resident and school counseling mama to about 350 amazing high schoolers
this is the place I dreaded to stay in after facing the biggest heartbreak of my life
where I cried many many hours and pondered whether the Lord was near
wondered if He would protect me and take justice on behalf of my pain
in this place, I met Him in the lowest valley and I know Him so intimately
He never leaves me

home is also 
my new pair of Gap jeans, 
my iced Thai Coffee from 5th Street Grind
home is still those good Biscuitville biscuits
those burning candles with flickering lights
home is forgiveness, safety, protection, respect
home is family and sweet friends
home is singleness in the moment 
home is waiting on the Lord
home is where I am my most authentic self 
home is where I create space for others

I've learned that home is wherever I learn, love, and grow
home is what God used and continues to use to shape me...Tonyette.

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