Published on August 11th, 2013 | by Mannie Ramos0
WHY I am Passionate About My Will to Succeed
“And she loves to show me off, of course
Smiles every time my face is up in The Source
We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us
No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us” – Notorious B.I.G.
These words hit equally as hard every time I hear this song. Growing up in Camden, New Jersey is no joke. The statistics are staggering when you look at Camden. Philly.com and MSNBC recently reported that Camden is the poorest city in America. The average median income was $21,191. The crime rate is even more shocking as it is five times the national average and still the worst in the country per capita. I’m not going to lie, there are people where I’m from who wear these numbers like a badge of honor. You’re probably wondering by now why I bring up these stats. My father’s side of the family is a prime example of these statistics materialized- I don’t say this to be negative but rather with the realization that that wasn’t the life for me.
I used to think my “Why” was money. Man, was I ever wrong because I made great money and lived in some pretty nice places. I used to be the guy buying all the new sneakers and taking trips to exotic places when I felt like it. With that being said, I was still empty. The reason I lived like that was because I couldn’t afford anything growing up. My mom was an awesome mother but she had her own demons as mentioned in my previous article http://beingencouraged.com/2013/03/13/someone-i-love-struggled-with-addiction-too/. My father was there in beginning but he bounced when his dad died. My grandfather was killed by Colombian drug dealers because that’s the life he led. I was only five but I remember his funeral and it must be deep rooted because I told myself, I didn’t like that feeling. I am the last male Ramos on my dad’s side of the family. A lot of unfortunate events on that side led me to want to make a change contradictory to the way my grandfather and several of my cousins lived their lives. I digress to show that your “Why” is something deep rooted, usually due to things that have affected you.
I realized that I wanted to do something that changed the way people perceived my last name. I want my children to wear it like a badge of honor and if I have to sacrifice for the generations to come, I do not mind one bit. I choose acting not because of the fame and money- that’s an empty life. I choose this path because of the passion I have to connect to people; I want to be a vessel of change. I want to change my family moving forward and become a charitable person to the people of my city. My “Why” is simple because I want to be an outlier- to show people that you can come from a tough upbringing and still overcome all odds.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”- Zig Ziglar