First and foremost, I’m linking up with MamaKat’s Writing Workshop this week and answering the prompt: Creativity (inspired by Crossroads of the Heart) because Duh! it was inspired by me! How awesome is that?
Also, I apologize in advance for the rare use of profanity in this post. Thanks!!
Whenever I tell someone that I’m originally from Cleveland, I usually get the standard response “Oh, I’m so sorry about that.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before. I used to try and come up with an intriguing response like “You just need to know where to go or.. visit in the summer; the lake is beautiful!” Well, from now on, I’ve come up with something more appropriate:
And here’s why:
I’ve formally lived in only three cities so far in my lifetime: Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. (I’ve just proven to you that I have limited experience to write this post, but that is besides the point.)
In D.C., I met the most physically fit and intelligent people of my life. It’s hard to keep up with them most days.
In Pittsburgh, I ran into the most caring and simple individuals. A parking lot and a case of Iron Cities are enough to keep them entertained for hours.
But, in Cleveland… good ole Cleveland; that’s the land of the Creatives.
Covering 82.4 square miles (thank you Wikipedia) just south of Lake Erie, Cleveland ranks as the 7th most dangerous city in the nation. The city hasn’t won an NFL Championship since 1964, the World Series since 1948 or the NBA title.. ever. Lebron, excuse me, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is still an a**hole. But, please media keep calling us the Mistake on the Lake or poking fun at why Nick Saban would EVER want to go to Cleveland. Salt to the wound feels good.
In December 1978, Cleveland became the first major American city to enter a financial default on federal loans since the Great Depression. The per capita income for the city is $14,291. 26.3% of the population and 22.9% of families are below the poverty line.
In Cleveland, there is no “blue-blood trust fund that we can dip into.” I learned that to get anything in life, it must be achieved through hard work ethic and fearless determination. Complaining is the quickest shortcut to a dead-end. Which is hard to accept, because trust me, we have a lot to complain about.
My family is fortunate, but I witnessed our fair share of struggles. I watched my father get on an airplane to Chicago more times than he probably wanted to when we were younger. I watched my mom leave her 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son at odd hours of the night to work night shifts at the local hospital.
I realize that I don’t live in the city anymore, but I can tell you that I carry it with me wherever I go. I see it in others who have grown up in Cleveland and moved on as well. The city and its weaknesses quite simply motivate all who covet it to rise above what holds them down.
I know far too many people who work more than
one two jobs just to get by and support their families. What is even more special, though, is the amount of talent that flows through my newsfeed each day. Singers – like him and them. Musicians, photographers, skateboarders with a dream and DJs, too.
It’s well-known that the city has its limitations – but to make art out of the limitations – that is where true magic lies. Clevelanders are the creatives quite simply because we can create anything out of nothing. And, to go out on a limb, I think that is worth far more in the long run than any championship ring.