What Made You Who You Are Today

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By Frank Curreri

What Made You Who You Are Today

I would say that I’m a person that has thought a lot about life, I thought at least when I was younger I had a lot of adversity growing up in intercity Baltimore where my mom wasn’t really around my dad wasn’t around, which wasn’t unusual by the way in intercity Baltimore. But just because of that I thought, I felt myself at a very young age thinking about God and man-search for meaning, I was doing those things younger than a lot of kids do maybe at 9 or 10 and I was always writing at a young age around 8, 9. I was just writing like poetry, I was making songs about my friends and things like that, almost like Sitcom Jingles, like 30 seconds songs. So those things came very naturally, just thinking a lot, this obsession with religion and philosophy, and then I remember at a young age, an obsession with martial arts like Bruce Lee movies, Rocky movies, professional wrestling and what was interesting about that is for most of us I think, whatever we’re best at whatever our gifts, they usually surface young. If you go and look at anybody who winds up building some empire whether it be hi-tech or whatever, you can see young not just talent but you can see very specifically an inclination towards certain things. In my case, I’m a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I’ve competed at a very high level and you can see that at age 8 or 9 I was watching ABCs Wide World of Boxing every weekend. Just for me I wind up being a Philosophy Major, i wind up being a journalist questioning people, very curious and I think that those things are, now I do some Public Relations consulting, but I think that what I’m really passionate about are telling people stories, writing, speaking and even teaching, sharing martial arts with other people. I tell a story that when I was younger, so I actually took one journalism class. I took it at a junior year in high school and the teacher’s name was Miss Madison, I won’t say her first name, but she failed me. I got an F in that class and I never took another Journalism class again. It wasn’t until my Junior Year at College at the University of Maryland when an English professor took me aside and said, “My husband is a Journalist for the Baltimore Sun, and I really like your writing and you should write for our school newspaper.” The reason that that stands out is that no one in the 16 years of school prior had ever made that remark. Nobody had said to me and validated “You know you’re a really good writer. You’re pretty good.” I’ve always been doing it when i was young but I was always scared to test that theory. I was scared to put that to a test. I didn’t want someone else, some authority to say “Look I wanna be a writer”, “You’re actually not that good. You failed high school Journalism, remember?” So I just started thinking even more now like when i’m teaching kids in Jiu Jitsu, how does a kid like me who had a lot of talent – I won quite a few Journalism awards with the White House assignment, I covered sometimes quite a lot of big stories in newspapers, I worked at TV station, I was a correspondent, I got to do some really cool things, travel the world. So how does somebody like that fall into the cracks, who doesn’t feel know or doesn’t feel comfortable until a professor comes and says it? And then if it happens to me, it happens all the time. It happens all the time, these kids that have all these gifts, and these fall right through the cracks, just like I almost did, I don’t know but for that comment, but for her planting that seed, I don’t know that I would ever win the Journalism and walked into that line which changed my life.

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