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Joshua Banks

The Straight and Narrow

I was born in Jacksonville North Carolina and I was a military kid. My dad served in the Marines while my mother stayed home. It was five boys and three girls for a total of nine siblings. I’m the middle child, so I got to experience both sides of the spectrum when it pertained to age. Growing up was a challenge, and a lot to overcome because being in such a big family, the opportunity to go out recreational was limited. It was only enough for necessities. My dad's Marine background made it tough for the children because it was the attention to detail all the time. Our summers were never a vacation because work was mandatory, and dad made sure we complied. He instilled in us at a young age the importance of hard work and taking responsibility for our actions.

We were a close family because we had to overcome a lot of adversities together. I am proud to say that I was the first to attend college in my family. My mother would always tell me that I was going to be a prophet and a leader. I couldn’t see many of the things in myself that she could see. But I always knew that it was something special placed over my life, so I made sure I stayed away from drugs and alcohol.

You could say I lived a straight and narrow life.

I got married young and had my first daughter when I was twenty-one. I started to realize in life that I was making my mom and dad happy, but I was miserable. The young lady that I married wasn’t for me, but I wanted to exemplify how I grew up when it came to my mother and father. A complete family was the focal point of my life, so I wanted to make sure my daughter had a two-person household, so I sacrificed for a while until l learned to put myself first. Later in life, I accomplished a lot academically and was allowed to start a company called Flex for Fitness, which was one of the most prominent apparel lines to come out of Virginia.

I love to find things to do to fill a void because while in high school, I was shy and quiet. I didn’t talk much, but basketball was my outlet, and I felt as if I could express myself on the court. My self-awareness was a challenge because I used to get picked on a lot for being dark skin with big lips. I remained confident though and learned to play the background while excelling and prospering.

I wasn't going to let them break me.

I used whatever others did or said to me as my motivation to push forward in life. I have a “Nothing Is Impossible” mentality because I still have people who come into my circle and think they can get over on me for one reason or another. Today I have a minimal number of friends, and it stems back to my childhood of being reserved, and to myself. My relationships with women were always sacrificing more of myself than she was willing to sacrifice. I had low expectations to the point I felt used. I wouldn’t put as many of the things I needed to the forefront but would find myself taking care of a laundry list of hers.

At a young age, I didn’t have a lot going for myself, so I eventually signed up to join the military, but around the same time, I was trying to get into X-ray school. My chances of enrollment were few and far between. I felt as if I wasn't going to get in because it was only a five percent chance. I was supposed to be headed out that summer to start my career in the Navy but thank God I received a letter in the mail that summer with the acceptance into the program. It was one of the most significant blessings that I received in my young life.

I manage to spend nine years in a marriage with a woman who only saw me for what I could provide for her, and I wasn’t going to move further in life knowing that truth. I believed in her for nine years in hopes that she would pick herself up and do something meaningful with her life, but it never manifests.

The relationship was a mess! Love doesn’t look like this!

My present relationship is excellent, and my blessing is my one-year-old son Josiah. I’ve found someone who understands me, and we’re working together on my vision for the future.

The Voices of Virginia; A panel of influential Virginia leaders representing different nationalities and perspectives. The panel provides a positive way to show how all cultures can work through some of the most difficult topics by finding ways to build a solution that is beneficial to all communities.

My motivational quote is: