“It seems to me, that this, too, is how memory works.
What we remember of what was done to us shapes our view,
molds us, sets our stance. But what we remember is past,
it no longer exists, and yet we hold on to it, live by it,
surrender so much control to it. What do we become when we
put down the scripts written by history and memory, when each person before us can be seen free of the cultural or personal narrative we've inherited or devised? When we, ourselves, can taste that freedom.”

Black,White,andJewish: Autobiography of A Shifting Self


My name is Dalissa; I was born in Florida and raised here in New Britain, CT. When I moved to New Britain, I went straight to the projects with the few family members that had come with me. At first, it was just my mom, dad, brother, and me. My dad was always at work to provide food, shelter, clothing, and other things for us. My mother was always working double shifts to cover expenses that couldn’t be covered from just my father’s income. Most of my childhood years, my brother and I would always look out for each other when our parents weren’t home. Something very traumatic happened in my childhood life that I’m able to talk about even now. What happened has caused such a burden on my life as a child, especially not being able to share it with my family. It took me a few years to overcome that certain obstacle in my life. Not too long after my breakthrough, my baby sister was born, a blessing to the family. We were so grateful to have her, although our financial struggle became even more intense having to provide for another child.

As a child, however, I never knew we struggled. I’d see kids with other things and wonder why I couldn’t have that, though I never questioned my parents about it. I’d hear kids at school talking about their houses and wondered why I didn’t live in one, but lived instead in the projects. As I grew I began to realize these things were based on money. There was a reason why I didn’t have what the other kids had. Their idea of fun was going to places that cost lots of money. My idea of fun was playing tag, hide and seek, and manhunt in the area around our apartment till the sun went down with a few kids on the block. This wasn’t the best circumstance for me, though. I was on the streets a lot. I found myself there every day. I was always getting myself into some sort of trouble as a little girl, stealing from stores and houses because I was angry that I didn’t have what everyone else had. I found myself breaking into homes with friends at the age of nine. I wasn’t going down the right path. As I grew older, I became angry at our struggle. I felt it was not fair. Not only our struggle. But family issues, lack of motivation, wrong teachings. It all made me so angry. I was such an angry child.

I can sit here and talk about myself all day. But this . . . this is what made me the person I am today. I have made my mistakes and have grown from them. I have experienced struggle and have overcome it. I have dealt with trials and tribulations in my life. I’ve learned my rights from my wrongs. Today I am a woman of determination, strength, and courage. I like to compare myself to the Lotus Flower. It’s a flower that grew from mud. It represents overcoming obstacles and rising from struggle. I am thankful for what I’ve dealt with as a child. It made me who I am today. In all honesty, I’d be completely lost and clueless if it weren’t for my childhood.