Who Am I?

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Identity
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I am very thrilled that such a topic is assigned for our term paper assignment. I think it is very important for one to know who they are, and their self-worth in efforts to move forward in life. It is something how the things we do in life are always interconnected. We may not see it initially but the pieces always come together. I will share with you a few pieces of a story that I wrote last semester for my English 1301 course as well as a poem I wrote titled, God’s Child. Both the essay and poem detail who I am and what I experience while on my journey to self-understanding and learning the purpose for my life. While I am a firm believer that the path to self-discovery is never ending, here is what I’ve learned thus far.

 

Who Am I?

 

“It all began on May 10, 1982. It was mother’s day and I was making my grand entry on this earth by way of Leroy Shelton and Lisa Shelton of Flint, Michigan. My daddy was ever so proud and nervous. Momma says that he was very hyper and wouldn’t sit still due to all the excitement. She was tired and couldn’t wait for this long two day, process, and labor to be over with. Her entire body was stricken with pain and she dripped sweat and tears of joy all at the same time. Finally I was here. The whole room welcomed me, “it’s a girl!” shouted the doctor as he passed me off to my momma. Ari Alberta Shelton was the name she gave me. I have my grandma’s name, my daddy’s momma. She told my mother, “If you name her Alberta she will be wise.” So my momma listened and named me Ari Alberta Shelton. She always said she couldn’t stomach the thought of naming me Alberta first, such an old name, she thought. This was the beginning of my happily ever after. A little over a year passed and my baby sister, Afani Misha was born and came along to kick me outta my spot. But little did I know defending my title as the only child would be the least of my worries.” (Flores)

 

I have spent many years coming to grips with my mere existence. The daughter of a well-known pastor, who divorced her mother and remarried. It was always impersonated upon me at an early age to know and understand who I was. Yet I grew up and spent many of my years trying to learn and understand the very thing. Who am I? I would pray for countless hours and days asking God to please answer this question for me. I spent so much time praying and asking that I never stopped to recognize the answers lied within me and were seen daily. It was around the year 2007 I truly learned who I am. After the birth of my daughter, Amada Nubiana Flores, all the pieces to the puzzle fit together for me within the blink of an eye and I learned…

 

I AM THAT I AM! I am Ari Alberta Shelton Flores, daughter of the King of Kings. I was born to Dr. Leroy and Lisa Shelton on May 10, 1982 in Flint, Michigan at St. Joseph Hospital. I was created and put on this earth to be a:

  • Daughter – I became a daughter on May 10, 1982

 

  • Sister – I became a sister at birth to my father’s children from a previous marriage and my mother’s daughter on December 11, 1983

 

  • Wife – the joy of being someone’s wife was fulfilled on May 4, 2004. I married Amado Santos Maldonado Flores. I prayed for a husband and the start of a family. I wanted my son to have a father figure in the home before he turned three years of age and I wanted to start a family. I was granted both; I became with child in January 2004 with my second child and married on May 4.

 

  • Mother – I became a mother at the young age of 18. I had just graduated on May 30, 2000 and learned in the latter part of June that I was pregnant with my first son, David Louis Ledesma Jr. was born on January 24, 2001. My second son Adrian Isaias Flores was born on November 30, 2004 and my dear Amada Nubiana Flores was born on January 30, 2007

 

  • Entrepreneur – I started my journey as an entrepreneur at an early age. I was always fascinated with making money and the various ways I could do so. My father always said that I got that from him. My first business began one summer around 1988 on the corner of McLaughlin Street at my grandmother’s house. I decided that I would charge each of the neighborhood children $.50 to wash their bikes. A tricycle was $.75 and if they wanted to eat wild berries from the berry tree, it was $1.25. If I recall correctly I only made $3.00 that day and most of the berries myself. But that was the spark of the entrepreneurial spirit in me. Later I went on to sell lollipops and candies out of my locker when I was in the sixth grade; friendship bracelets and rings in the seventh and eighth grade; hand decorated tee-shirts in ninth grade; and in the twelveth grade I participated in the 2000 Michigan DECA where I presented the startup of a bilingual education charter school. I won the title Overall Semi State Finalist and competed against other students in their second and third year. That was a great accomplishment for me as I had only been in the class for three months when I completed the proposal and this was my first year in the class. Winning that award thrust me into the position I am in today as the owner of Amada Events & Designs and Es Amor Servicios Cristianos.

 

  • Minister – being born into ministry and accepting the call on my life was a joyous moment in my life. In 2005 I wanted to make a difference within the Spanish speaking community but didn’t know how. After years of prayer and soul searching, I started Es Amor Servicios Cristianos. In the capacity as President and Bilingual Program Director I oversee the general operations of the ministry but I am offered the opportunity to minister to low-income individuals and Spanish speakers. I can share my life experiences and testimony and give hope while providing/meeting their basics needs of survival.

 

  • Goal-oriented – I have always been goal-oriented. My achieving the goals on the other hand is something else. On the path to self-discovery, my goals that I have set for myself have changed drastically. I am proud to say that to date the goals that I have for myself are here to stay and I’m accomplishing each of them one by one. It is very self-gratifying to have set goals for myself that I have attained or in the process of attaining.

 

  • Moreover, blessed – I do not consider myself successful because I am blessed. Being successful is subject to change after you acquire it. I believe that as a successful person you achieve certain things and they can be taken away or be gone another day. But when you are blessed it’s yours for eternity.

There are so many additional attributes that encompass my very being. However, those mentioned above I feel are the most important and most obvious to all mankind. I wrote a poem the last time I cried out to God asking Him to clarify who I was.

God’s Child

Writing from the crevice of my heart.

A wounded soul reaching for a hand but there is none to hold

A longing so bold that it overwhelms me

Lost in the dark

Cold and alone

I cry but no one hears me

Tears flow and no one knows

I wipe them away before one sees me

I smile everything’s okay

I’m Gods child, right

But even God’s child has a lonely night

Even God’s child wants to be held tight

His child cry’s like I, right

My mind wanders and ponders on the thought

Nah that’s not real…

There it is again…

A hand

Not visible but felt

A cool breeze across my back…

A breath upon my neck

I can feel it

I know you’re here

See my…oh God you do care

I thought you left me alone, alone, all alone

But you just wanted me on my face before Your throne.

I’m sorry Daddy…I’m home! (Flores, God’s Child)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where have I been?

 

“Bye the time I hit my preteen years I became a bit of a troubled teen. However, I was no more than the typical child was. As I grew older, I became a bit more defiant. I started skipping school, stealing, drinking, etc. I was still wise; I did all of this without my parents knowing. If momma knew, she would strike me dead.

 

I remember the first time I had my first drink. I was ten years old, sad, and angry. I was visiting daddy again and as always he was there but not there. “I’ll be back. I gotta go to the hospital. One of my members is sick.” He shouted to us upstairs. My momma, his new wife Claudia, replied “okay Rev.” Great he’s leaving again I thought. What is the purpose of a summer vacation with daddy if all he does is leaves us with her, my new momma. I don’t recall how but that clear bottle with its dark contents and I found each other. It was love at first sight. My heart pounded with joy and excitement. I was overwhelmed with the thrill of being bad, getting drunk, and not getting caught. My first sip was rough and it stung. Ouch, it even burned. But I liked it. Bacardi dark, Batman juice as we called it. It was my new best friend along with a pack of Newport cigarettes that I stole from my real momma before Afani and I was picked up by our daddy.

Years continued to pass and I was not getting any better. Skipping school, hanging out with older men, the list goes on. Finally the light bulb went off. I do not even recall what made the bulb shine. Then again, how I even seen it for that matter. Nevertheless, it shined bright as the winter day over Lake Michigan. It was the clearest I have ever seen. I was in my senior year of high school and needed to pass every course I could just to graduate. I was barely making it. I took a Marketing and Entrepreneurship course, for an easy grade. Rumor at the school was that the teacher was a known base head. Therefore, I was sure to get an easy A I thought. What I didn’t know is that he wasn’t a base head and that I would enjoy his course. I was encouraged by my teacher to present my new company, a bilingual education charter school at the 2000 Michigan DECA competition in Detroit, Michigan. I was the only student in the first year. Everyone else prepared for three years to be where I was. I prepared and completed my project in three months. It was a miracle that I made it. In that moment I realized God had a plan for my life. It was starting to come together. I didn’t see it all but I see the light. It came on. I decided it was time to change. I won and placed, Semi-Overall State Finalist in Detroit, MI. I was very proud of myself and so was my teacher. He told me that he knew I had greatness in me and that I was wise enough to make it become a reality someday. “If you name her Alberta, she will be wise.” I could hear my grandmother say. She would always say that same sentence to me as a little girl.” (Flores)

            My journey to where I am now has not been as horrible in comparison to the life of others. However, it was bad enough to me. From living a life of promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, theft, drug trafficking, gang related activities, rap, molestation, being in a verbal, physical, and abusive marriage…I have come a long way. Every aspect of my life both good and bad has made me who I am today, and for that, I am more than grateful. Many times, I have been asked, “If you could change anything about your past would you?” My answer is and always will be NO. Had the series of events in my life not transpired, who would I be and where would I be? I have a firm belief that God will not put more on me than I can bare and while some things where bad, good always came out. Because of my past, I can help someone else trying to change their life or deal with difficult situations. Because of my past, I can have empathy and sympathy for others and help them by showing them true love. Because of my past, I am the women I am today, loving, honest, dedicated, hardworking, and alive. Lastly, because of my past, I go forward.

 

Where am I going?

“Now almost 16 years later, I: became a mother at the age of 18 on January 24, 2001; 2002 began studying International Business at Lansing Community College; In 2004 married and second son was born; started my own non-profit ministry in 2007, Es Amor Servicios Cristianos out of a 2 bedroom apartment. It’s a social service ministry that started off helping the Spanish speaking population in Lansing, MI. Now we assist any low-income individual and families.; I was board member of the Lansing Latino Healt h Alliance in 2007; On January 30, 2007 I returned the favor to my mother and gave her a granddaughter on her birthday; In 2008 I was promoted to the Project Coordinator for the Lansing Latino Health Alliance and helped them obtain tax exempt status; in 2008 I started my mother’s ministry, Wailing Women Implosion; 2009 daddy dies on my wedding anniversary May 4th, 2009. I celebrated his life and home going by signing my ministry’s first big contract job with the Greater Lansing African American Health Institute; 2010 began translating for Timberland Charter Academy and then moved to Houston, TX; 2010 Cha – Cha Designs was created to raise funds for our Fight Hunger campaign for the homeless in Houston, TX; 2012 Amada Events & Designs was started and I am a travel agent, wedding/event coordinator and designer. I am back in school and pursuing my degree.” (Flores)

 

This journey called life has taken me to many places, both good and bad. In my future, I see such greatness for my family and me. I see my entire family still serving others in ministry, traveling to the Nations and teaching Torah and giving back to others what was given to us, the message of salvation. I see myself as a Flight Attendant for American Airlines and as one of the world’s most renowned wedding and event designers, known for captivating her client’s life and retelling the story through event design. After I have left this world behind what I want my family, friends, and this world to remember about me is that I was a women after God’s heart. A woman who lived,  loving, serving others and making their life more meaningful.

 

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