My story takes place in my hometown of Detroit, MI where my family roots started. My mother and father are both from Detroit where they met. My primary residence was with my mom growing up since they were no longer in a relationship together. As a little guy I spent time with my Dad and his family, but just spent more time with my grandfather Raymond Dawson (my moms’ father) growing up. I grew up thinking of him more as a true father figure then a grandfather. In my childhood he taught me the importance of manhood. Some of my favorite memories with him are of him taking me to archery, a fishing farm, his business place and calling me by my nickname “Baby Boy”. In the summer of 2011, he passed-away from Cancer when I was about 12 and because he was my real-life hero, I cried so hard for him.
That same year I was starting the 6th grade at a new middle school called Advanced Technology Academy which is a school from Pre-K to 12th grade. It wasn’t an easy transition for me having a learning disability and without my grandfather’s help. I struggled in the new school a little bit and my mother wasn’t happy about it. I didn’t fail the semester, but I did struggle in all my classes, so I needed as much help as possible. I remember spending some time with my Dad and his family on the weekends. But it felt like reuniting with people I didn’t know, the main issue that I had was getting along with my dad. He would get upset with me whenever I did something he didn’t like. For example, he didn’t like it when I would speak about my imagination or say hello to people in passing. He would make me feel like I did something wrong when speaking to him, or maybe he was making me grow up too fast. Which is more reason why I didn’t want to be around him because he made me feel embarrassed and as if I was a disgrace to him as a son.
During some summers growing up I would visit my other grandparents in Diamondhead, Mississippi before school would start back in Sept. My grandfather Larry Anderson was a retired Captain of the Air Force. I enjoyed when my grandparents would take me on the military base with them and show me around the base. Both my grandfathers were in the military before I was born. My Granddad Raymond served in the Army during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant and my Granddad Larry made a military career in the Air Force before retiring in the 1980’s also with an honorable discharge.
And when I was 16 my Mom, Great-Grandfather, and me moved to Diamondhead, Mississippi, where my other grandparents lived due to them being sick and needing help. I didn’t know how I was going to feel about moving there, because I wasn’t ready at first to move down to Mississippi, but I still liked it since I knew the town a little bit. I remember not having much to do at my grandparents’ house but being on my phone all the time. Till I started school in August in my sophomore year at a new high school called Hancock. I was a little shy at first and getting used to meeting new people, I started making friends in my high school and started building my independence while walking around a small town. I found out that the school offered a class called JROTC and because of my Grandfathers enlistment in the armed forces, that made me want to join it in high school. I talked with my mom and she agreed with my decision about JROTC because it would give me confidence, self-discipline, and a stronger connection with myself and other’s. I still missed my family and friends back in Detroit so much, but it was okay.
Later in 2016 when I was 17, we moved to Atlanta, Georgia for the first time. I was a little worried about moving again just like the first time we moved to Mississippi. But I never expected moving down to Georgia could influence me as much as it did once I gave it a chance. During that time, we moved to East Point where my Aunt Mariam had a house that we would live in and she moved into an apartment. I started at a new high school called Tri Cities High School making a lot of new friends there. I was still in JROTC at the time and then joined the Drill team during my Junior and Senior year. It helped me to build better relationships with my classmates and with other people in the cafeteria. Also just meeting people in the city of Atlanta. While I was still achieving my independence, I started learning how to use Marta as transportation to different areas of the city. In my adventures I discovered a lot of anime/gaming events such as Momocon, Dragon Con, AWA, Dreamhack Atlanta Winter, Eleague Turner Studio, and some other comic cons where I would meet other people.
At the end of my junior year in high school I got a job working at Six Flags Over Georgia working in the Park Service Department as a ground’s cleaner. Senior year in high school I had an internship for class credit working at a company called Cox Media in Sandy Springs, GA. While I was there, I did learn about the history of Cox. I learned about the Overwatch League; a new team called Atlanta Reign presented by Cox. After graduating in 2018, I took a break from schools and gave gaming a chance and started getting experience about esport since I started learning about competitive gaming. I went to more gaming centers for tournaments to see how strong of a player I could be for esport.
It wasn’t in my destiny to be the best video game player in the world, it did give me a taste of something that I would love to do as a job in how to make a video games apart of my life. At first, I really wanted to be a pro player but now I want to be a videogame designer and artist. When I think about it and how I see other players put in the work of gaming, it was more than just playing video games for me. So I decided to put my gaming pursuit aside and start working on my career plans of drawing as a videogame designer/artist, since I need to focus on making my character design for creating my own video games in the future.
I am immensely proud of myself for over-coming a lot of my past struggles, with who I was and with who I am. Because of living with my family and having God lead me to the right path in the future towards my dream. I can’t say how I want my future to look, but I do know that God will lead me in the right direction for me to live the best life He has for my destiny. Thank you so much to all my family for everything.