In my previous blog, I talk about how easily it is for some people to conform to a lifestyle that they are constantly surrounded by because it may appear to them as if it’s a normal way of life, especially for those who don’t know any better.
My reaction to my raw and tainted circumstances physically manifested itself through illness. I suffered with fever, chills, headache, sore throat, canker sores, weakness, and dizziness. The lifestyle I was surrounded by on a constant basis made me feel emotionally and physically drained. I didn’t want to move, speak, or function anymore. At the tender age of 10 years old, I had become fed up with living this way. My mind, body, and soul would not allow me to conform to society the way others had. I didn’t know what better looked like at the time, but I knew that the environment that I lived in sure as hell wasn’t it!
Several homes were like mine, where crack smokers congregated in kitchens to get high while their children played or slept 10 feet away from them. Unfortunately, the families and kids I played or visited with had become immune to this lifestyle and got along as if it was a normal part of life. They accepted their parents behavior and didn’t expect more from them. It was very peculiar to me why I couldn’t conform and just be okay with it, too. It seemed like I was the only one who thought it was wrong to live this way. I was never okay with it and I was highly disappointed at my parents’, and the adults in my community, for their negligence and selfish behaviors. At the mere age of 10 years old, I chose to be different. I refused to conform to an unhealthy lifestyle and unhealthy behavior. I chose to be better!
Never accept what you know is not okay. For any youth or child facing similar circumstances or any circumstance you know and feel isn’t ok, seek help. Do not except these conditions as normal. Find a responsible adult and inform someone at your school about your living situation. You don’t have to be a product of your environment. Be Better!
This blog series will focus on the ‘Round and Round We Go’ chapter of Life in its Rawest Form.
It’s no secret that poverty, drugs, single-parent households, and lack of education plague our society in the inner cities and urban communities. Unfortunately, a lot of those brought up in these communities adapt to their surroundings by seeing and doing--basically imitating--what is going on around them. It becomes second nature as they grow into adulthood, only to pass down what they’ve seen to the next generation. For a lot of them, it’s all they know. Very few chose a different, better path.
When you live an environment where everyone around you are living the same way, it can be easy to believe that this way of life is the only way of life. In such environment, it can be hard to distinguish between the good and the bad, resulting in one adapting and conforming to their surroundings. This is essentially one of the most powerful forms of influence – misconception of the norm… How can one do better if they don’t know what better looks like?.?.
Another unfortunate circumstance, when living in an environment where everyone around you are living in similar conditions, is the feeling of being rejected when daring to be different, better. This may cause others to become intimidated and envious, all because you believe there is a better way. This same feeling of rejection, have prevented some from breaking the cycle and wanting better for themselves. They become concerned about how their loved ones and community will treat them.
If this is you, try your best not to fear how others will perceive you if you don’t live “the norm.” Break the #HoodHabit and if you are looked at sideways, that means you are probably doing something right. Dare to be different! (Keep an eye out for the third post in this series).