Comin' From Where I'm From
Anthony Hamilton’s, Coming from where I’m from is the soundtrack that is on repeat. Lately, lots of talk about her. The buzz is she changing. You see, coming from where I from, I seen roots, evolution and now she is flowing. Some will never like her flow because change is difficult to engage with. I been flowing with her for over 42 years and I’m constantly asking questions and exploring her significance and how do I/We take it all in.
Lately, my mama has been telling me cuentos about her childhood. She tells of her arrival to the United States and the endless jobs she had around Downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights. She references how she was the “ticket collector” at the Million Dollar Theater on Broadway. She would rush there from one of her other jobs—she is the essence of hustle and non-stop action. To this day, she and Boyle Heights remind me that comin’ from where I’m from, I have to hit the ground running. I can’t make excuses and I better deliver on what I say I am going to do.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit her, 412—mi casa. 412 helped raise me. In the last 42 years, I have seen her growth and heard from her in various facets. It is now that she calls me back and I must listen. I walked in like these last 42 years never existed.
In awe of her lines—she looks different. Her cracks larger than life—showing her age. Walking around her surface with my mama behind me brings to light that so much has happened. I am grown, and my mom this 70+ mujer spewing out ideas for the future—do this with her, do that with her.
I listen and take a deep breath. What is resonating are the colors she represented, the avocados she gave me from the tree my grandfather planted, and the pink room that allowed me to feel safe with my mama and papa. What she gave me is priceless. But with time, comes changes.
She’s evolved, and there is nothing wrong with evolution. But, she leaves us wondering if she will keep us in her heart, soul and spirit. I encourage you to remind her of where she is from, where she has gone and that you will be by her side as she evolves. I encourage you not to leave her because you might disagree with some of her choices. Rather, engage and flow with her. Have deep conversation and be intentional with your words.
Don’t leave her alone. Don’t get upset if others court her with glossy new projects and ideas. Instead, spend time with her as she details all the roots she set in place, the cracks in her hands and the sparkle in her eye as she tells stories of the past, present and the future of her—Boyle Heights.