Recently I was watching a YouTuber interview Chamillionaire and the interviewer said “I have a theory about growing up in the inner city.” Now, I don’t know the intimate details about this Youtuber, where he grew up etc etc but I gathered it was not in the “inner city.”
This is not a rant about the language that was used but just my thoughts about the topic. I never say that I grew up in the ‘ghetto’ to me it was just poor. I don’t believe that there are ‘ghetto’ areas of town but there are ‘ghetto’ mentalities. It is no different than a ‘lack’ mentality, to me, it is one in the same.
Growing up poor does not mean growing up ghetto or in the ghetto. Just like growing up rich doesn’t mean you did not grow up ghetto. Yes, read that again for those that did not get it. Growing up around money does not mean you did not grow up ghetto nor does it guarantee that you have any class.
For some people, the thought of, growing up on the West side or the South side of San Antonio is ghetto. I remember people having such strong opinions of where I graduated from high school. “You, … graduated from Harlandale high school?” The tone and affliction in their words was just laughable. As a young adult, hearing that was definitely a stone but a stone that I used to build me up not break me down.
Where I grew up did not define me nor who I was to become. Funny how all those people have no idea, that I now have my PhD. What do you think of that now? So, FUCK YEAH, I graduated from Harlandale High School. And I am a fucken bad ass, I was, and still am.
I love my Southside and still live on my side of town. I am proud of it. What’s funny is that the Southside did not embrace me growing up. I always felt like an outsider, not sure I am even ‘in’ yet, lol. I still remember it clearly when I went to Flanders Elementary for fourth grade. So many secrets, so many cliques, I was not allowed to just be. So what did I do? I changed. I became a quiet, shy girl. That’s my default. If I am not feeling safe. I become a quiet, shy girl.
Then, in fifth grade I got moved over to Collier Elementary, as a kid I did not quite understand what it meant to have a home school and overflow. Turns out I went to Flanders due to overflow and here I was again moved to another school; having to build friendships again. If I thought Flanders was gossipy, Collier was worse. That’s when I really got picked on by both girls and boys. By people I thought wanted to be my friend, so once again I was the quiet, shy girl.
So, instead of drugs or alcohol. What did I do? I retreated to my books. I retreated to going to the library. If I had a question, the books had all the answers. From my inner child self, I did not understand why these kids were mean to me, but now I see, that they saw something in me that they did not like. So, what do we do when we don’t like something? When we fear something? We make fun of it, we put it down, and push it away to make us feel better.
So, yeah I grew up on the Southside, some people call it the the ghetto but it is nothing special. Just like any other place where if you don’t fit in you get made fun of, if you’re new or different you get pushed out. Now, did I feel this alone? No, I am sure there were others that felt this too. And every story and every feeling is just as important. I am just here to share my story, my perspective, and that none of that did nor will it ever hold me back.
I took everything in, processed it, and let it go. That’s all anyone can do. I am who I am because of it all and I do not regret a single day or decision. Do I wish any of it was different? No. If it was different I would be different. Does that make me any better or worse? No. I am who I am. I decide who I want to be. Just like you can be whoever you want to be. You do not have to wait for someone to give you permission. It does not matter where you come from, you can decide.
Actually growing up poor or in the ghetto gives you more freedom to decide who you are because no one expects anything from you, except to fail. So there you go, you are free and if you fail, you are not worse off.
Stop living in fear and start living.
There’s only one way, and that’s up, do it BIG.
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