An excerpt from my autobiography titled “A P.O.M.E. (A Product Of My Environment)” Coming soon;
A guy named Steven and I were the only two boys in our unit for a while, so most of the time we’d at the girls unit. Every weekend we went on outdoor activities, unless we were on some sort of restrictions. They would take us to the movies, roller skating, or anywhere else that we wanted to go. It was a decent little spot, it wasn’t home, but it was’nt that bad given the fact that it wasn’t. It was a spot that I could relax at, be a kid, and get my mind together so that’s pretty much what I did. At Woodbourne I didn’t have to stress about the shit that went on in the hood; who got shot, who got robbed, selling drugs, or who was beefing with who. I pretty much could lay back and just focus on life without too many interruptions or negative vices.
I didn’t want to stay at Woodbourne and I couldn’t wait to get back home so that I could be back in the thick of all the madness, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me either. I knew that after a month or two I’d be back home, so I just took it all in stride. At Woodbourne there weren’t a lot of negative forces that compelled me to rebel, and my environment was stable enough for me to focus on making something out of my life if only I were willing to take advantage of the many opportunities that presented themselves to me.not wasn’t as if I didn’t care about my life, I just wasn’t given too many other options. My mom worked too much to be able to be in my life the way that I needed or wanted her to be, so I looked to the streets for what I lacked at home.
I didn’t have a father figure or positive role model to look up to. Every male figure that I looked up to was a poor example of what manhood truly represented. Their lives were engulfed in the same madness that my life was engulfed within due to the men that they looked up to in their youth, and they in turn influenced the next generation that looked up to them for guidance. It’s a vicious cycle that has taken, and continues to take, a major toll on the lives of many young New Afrikans (Blacks) who are being brought up in poverty and it will continue to getb worst unless real men take the initiative to step up to the plate and not only be apart of their kids lives, but help young boys in their transition from boyhood to manhood so that we can reverse this cycle.
In many respects, there are many things that I learned from these street figure as well. Nonetheless the majority of it being negative, but those were things that I felt that I needed to learn in order to be able to survive within my environment because of the lifestyle that I chose to live. There are a few meaningful things that I picked up from those individuals as well, aside from all of the negativity. Things at I could now look back on and apply to some of te struggles that I may be experiencing in my life today. Things that I can use to establish some sort of direction in my life, some of it being advice that someone gave me, but a lot of it being things that I observed and learned by just paying attention to everything that went on around me and trying to put it all into perspective.
These are not excuses that I am using to justify my actions. These are merely reflections of the reality that I was exposed to and me trying to draw insight and understanding from it all. Back then, I wasn’t using any of the meaningful knowledge that I picked up in a constructive way. A lot of this was because back then I didn’t understand it whole heartily. Growing up everything that stood out around me and grabbed my attention was negative on many levels. So I rejected everything else. I strongly believe that every child is taught right from wrong at an early age by their parents or guardian. But if no one is home to repeatedly enforce the basic principles of living a positive and productive life, then it doesn’t mean anything. They see all of their friends and peers fighting, smoking, drinking, selling drugs, gang banging, and living foul, and eventually that lifestyle becomes intriguing to them and they start allowing themselves to be drawn into and consumed by it.
Peer pressure plays a vital role as well, as no one wants to be looked upon as a weakling, lame, or being scared in an environment where all those in that category becomes victims easily. Even when they know that something that they are doing or attempting to do is wrong, because they feell that acceptance is more important, they psych themselves up to do something that they know that they should do. They weigh their options and think, “I want to be down. I want people to love, fear, and respect me.” They even hear this lifestyle being glorified in music, see it portrayed in movies, and eventually it becomes embedded into their reality as a means to validate their existence. I know this because this is how I started out as well. No one is born to commit crime and live a negative life, that’s something that Senate taught and pick up on later in life.
We start out crawling in negativity, trying to get balanced, then eventually we end up running in it at full speed, but there is no finish line or reward, only penalties and suffering. We run until we get exhausted or unilnwe run out of breath and our legs gets tired, then we rest and recoup until we’re strong enough to run again again, which many times than most we run until we fail. Very few of us are fortunate to find another lifestyle to live that’s more beneficial to our growth and development, where the odds of us reaching that finish line is more in our favor.
Setting goals of success for people who have never been taught how to dream is easier said than done. It’s more than just a person saying that they want to be a doctor or lawyer. Getting to that point where they are able to put things into play where they can achieve those goals is more important than setting those goals itself. If I have no motivation, no one to instill principles that will help me lean towards success, or have someone in my life that will keep me grounded and look out for my well being, than it will be that much harder for me to be successful in life as opposed to waddling in negativity.
I can negfern say that I didn’t care about my life or the shit that I went through and was experiencing. I can say that I tried not to care or that I felt like I didn’t care, but in reality I did care. If I didn’t care then I would’nt have complained about the struggles and adversities that I was forced to endure throughout my life. Life and death would’nt have matter to me. Prison, failure, and being hungry and broke all would’ve been something that I accepted with pride and without care or worry. I wouldn’t have been affected emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically by the many things that I was experiencing. Pain is not something that is enjoyable or that we strive to feel, so it’s only natural for a person to respond to pain in a soothing way in an attempt to reduce that pain Sometimes many of us try to reduce that pain by causing harm to another, but nonetheless, pain is something that we try to avoid by all means.
I had hope for my life back then and I cared. I wanted to make something out of my life and be successful in life, but I was confused and at times I was afraid. When it’s hard for a person to find a way out of their situations they feel usually accept defeat and just try to make the best out of whatever they have going for themselves. It’s called adapting to their environment. There were many times that I made choices that I didn’t have to make and did fucked up shit to people out of fun and the thrill of it. And there were many times in my life when my back was so far against the wall that I just accepted defeat and just said fuck it, and did what I thought was best for me at that time.
Again, these are not excuse for my actions, it’s just the truth of the way that I lives my life from an honest self assessment of my life from a mature mind frame that sees life from a different angle. Back then I felt as if life was too unpredictable and when shit got rough and the odds was stacked against me, I just adapted to my environment and tried to play the cards that I was dealt hoping for the best possible outcome….
To be continued…