For those of you that have inquired with me about the significance of those numbers, you are about to find out why I use them a lot. Those four numbers represent the place that up to this point in my life, I know best. The place I grew up for the so-called "formative years" of my life. 4716 is the address number to my mom's house in Capitol Heights, MD. Those of you that have known me prior to college probably know what street the house is on or know what area it's in. Some of you have been there, met my mom, my stepfather, and you probably know my brother Marcus aka Powell too.
This number is special to me because it's a constant reminder of where I've come from and with that in mind, just how far I am from Capitol Heights and the days when I used to live there. Even though my house is only an hour away from that address in many ways, there's a great distance there, especially mentally. At the same time, this number reminds me that although I'm far away, there's still a lot of Capitol Heights in me, so-to-speak. Capitol Heights, Maryland (or Murrrrland) is what most would probably consider a middle class (probably lower-middle-class) area in the suburbs (yes, P.G. County to those of you that hate hearing those two letters, lol) outside of Washington, D.C. In my section of Capitol Heights you could walk to a McDonald's, a corner store, a gas station, a liquor store, and a small shopping center all within 5 minutes. No Starbucks, Chipotle, or anything like that but you could always find what you needed be it legal goods or illegal goods, lol. There was always the element of potential danger around but there weren't nightly shootings, robberies, or anything crazy like that on a consistent basis. It's a neighborhood not unlike many other suburban areas immediately outside of a very urban city.
This post is not about how tough my neighborhood was or how hard I had it growing up because that doesn't define who I am as a person, it's just part of my story. Besides, I was never truly a tough/street dude, I just hung around a lot of them, lol (unfortunately, high GPA's and participating in volunteer groups don't earn you any street credibility). This post is about me giving a little piece of who I am and where I'm from and saying just how much those four numbers mean to me. They help to keep me grounded in a sense, and they also help me strive to achieve more. My parents still live in that house (admittedly, it's not because they have to but because they don't need the big house farther out in the 'burbs for happiness or self-fulfillment, they value the little/simple things in life). Several of my best friends who grew up in the same neighborhood have watched their parents move out and into bigger homes in better parts of town. Those 4 numbers strive me to help my parents see the day when they can do the same. But just like me, it's home to them to so there's probably no real rush on their end. From the outside looking in you may not understand Capitol Heights and it may not appeal to you, but as they say "home is where the heart is". And my heart is in Capitol Heights at forty-seven-sixteen. So maybe I should say those TWO numbers instead of those four, lol.
Paramount to everything I have said so far is that this post is also about empowering others who are from similar backgrounds and circumstances to be proud of yourself, where you're from, what you've overcome, and what you've achieved. And be proud to have the duality of being able to stand on the street corner, sit on the stoop, but also stand in the boardroom, classroom, or wherever else you're making a positive impact. Not everyone can understand it and that's part of what makes the duality so powerful. And last but not least it's for those that are living in similar place right now that might somehow run across this post or have someone show it to you in hopes that you realize the world is much bigger than what neighborhood you live in, what school you go to, and your crew of friends at the moment. There's a lot out there to learn, explore, and achieve but you have to get outside of your comfort zone and explore, learn, and grow. Trust me, you'll thank yourself for it later.