I don’t remember the day I was born but, story be told, my mom had a doctor’s appointment that day and was told I would grace them in another month. Someone forgot to give me that memo. My dad decided he needed a nap and shower before going to the hospital. This is very typical of my dad, still till his day. While he showered, mom called someone to come get my older sister and then off they went to South Chicago Hospital. A few hours later I graced the world with my presence on April 8, 1981.
My dad had my name all picked out. I was named after an actress named Michele Lee. Dad watched on Knots Landing as the character Karen MacKenzie. Her character was “edgy”. Best known for storylines about family issues, addiction and kidnapping. My interpretation of her character was “Town Whore” but later turned into a wholesome character. However, if my mom got her way and named me, I would have been a Stephanie after her grade school nun. I was doomed with both (LOL). Growing up and until I went into the corporate world, I went by Mickey which later I changed the spelling to Micky.
I was brought home to the same house I left when I was 18 years old. It’s a nice house on the Southeast Side of Chicago and my parents still reside there. Over time, I wish we would’ve moved to a different area. I went to Catholic school from kindergarten to senior year in high school. My dad worked hard to provide and my mom worked at the church to help pay for our education. We had a “white picket fence life” except the fence was black.
I had a sister who was three years older than me. We were never close when we were young and as adults we have an estranged relationship. To be honest, growing up with her was a battle sometimes. A lot was jealousy that we both had against one another. She is my sister and unfortunately growing up I could not pick who may sister was, it was given to me. She was a huge sports fan, book smart, and played sports. I was more interested in boys, street smart, played sport and worried a lot about how to fit in. I was a trouble maker and always getting grounded, she was just the opposite.
Growing up especially my pre-teen and teen years I tested the limits and wasn’t an easy child. I struggled with reading and could not read in grade school. I eventually learned how to read with tutoring and encouragement. In high school, I tried to commit suicide, had an eating disorder, and I was a lost soul. My life changed for the first time when my sister went off to college. It was nice when she left because I became the only child. I did not have to fight for attention whether it was good attention or bad attention, I had the attention I was seeking from my parents. Seeing my parents struggle sometime financially over the money she was spending made me choice to go into the military. I needed to leave, become independent and change the road I was going to walk down. I had college acceptances, a job from the time I was 16 years old, nevertheless I needed more.
On my 18th birthday, I went to downtown Chicago and joined the Navy. I wanted to sign earlier however, my dad would not sign for me. Smart Man! I left for boot camp four days after my high school graduation in May 1999. When in boot camp, I fixed my relationship with my mom- she became my best friend, wrote my dad constantly because he was home recovering from open-heart surgery and never once heard a peep from my sister. I changed my life going into the Navy and came out of boot camp a different person. I thank certain family members for that because they said I would never make it and I would be home. They were my motivation and my reasons for not quitting. They should’ve known me better than that. I always succeeded when someone told I couldn’t do something.
My family is my family, many stood by me since the day I graced this world and others have not. Life is a Journey and not a competition, embrace what God gave you and overcome all.