Standing in front of you today is a determined, strong willed, and passionate woman. Someone that many would say "she's got it all figured out." The first part I wouldn't argue with, but the second part is something I don't agree with. I still see a seven year old girl, that just wants things to get better.
Everyone has a past, and for a very long time I chose not to share mine. This year one of my main goals was to step out of my comfort zone, and make sure that everyone who's gone through or is going through what I did knows anything is possible.
I didn’t grow up in a stable home, I didn’t grow up having the right things modeled for me, but I did grow up with a mindset of wanting better for myself. I lived in a drug abusive home until I was 8 years old until my grandmother took me and my older brother in. The things I saw at a young age made me calloused and far more mature then an 8 year old should be.
Even though I was living in a more stable environment, it still wasn’t stable. I still saw my parents, I still endured the pain of knowing they weren’t always in their right state of mind, and I knew that’s not how I wanted to be as an adult. At an early age I refused to fall into the cycle that my parents had set in front of me. I knew that I wanted to go to college, that I wanted to set an example for my younger siblings.
Creating a better life for myself started at the ripe age of 8, and hasn’t stopped since. I’m lucky enough to have family members, close friends, and my siblings to remind me of how far I’ve come and how far I still have yet to go. Even though I didn’t always have my parents when I was younger, I can say they are in the stages of bettering themselves and that’s all I can hope for.
Helping the kids in my community makes me feel like my past wasn’t for nothing. I can relate to them, I can show them you don’t have to follow a cycle of bad choices, and you can always do whatever you set your mind to. Striving for the better, and preparing yourself for the future are two things I was taught by my mentor, and I’m glad he saw in me that there was more on the track. Every kid has a talent, and every kid must be told that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. I hope that younger athletes that look up to me know, that they can do it, too. That nothing is impossible.
Who am I? I am Dominique Jackson, college graduate, professional runner, and forever a determined little girl striving for the best.