Growing up in The Bronx, New York taught me one important thing and that was… I did not want to raise a family there. Many of who live there can relate however I am not sure if we would share the same reasonings. My first son Uriah was born in Rhode Island and my second son Julian was born in California. Both of these places are far more different than The Bronx. Is this a good or a bad thing? I havent decided yet. Honestly, at times I miss The Bronx. I miss the bodegas at every corner, I miss the pizza place and the chinese spots. Sometimes I even miss the MTA because of how convienient public transportation is compared to suburban states and now more than ever, I miss being around my people. However, I do not miss the broad daylight shoot outs, I do not miss the drug dealers on the corner or in front of the bodega (making it extremely uncomfortable to walk by), I certainly do not miss the cockaroaches and the rats, I do not miss not being allowed to go to the store at night because of how dangerous it was , I do not miss looking out the window and seeing a man get stabbed and overall, I do not miss having to always keep my guard up.
My children are not Bronx. I am. The Bronx gave me tough skin, it gave me a defensive mechanism that is a double edge sword at times. I am Bronx and thats okay but my children are not and thats okay too. I dont want my children growing up as I did. I dont want my sons afraid of the night, I dont want them with that tough skin. Yes they will be men! Great men! and not having tough skin doesnt make them less of a man. It makes them gentle, kind, caring, loving, accepting, and open.Growing up in the BX, I wasnt those things and some can say “oh it has to do with how you raise and parent your children” maybe so, but as my children grow up, I would love to worry about them less. My mother had to worry more! It has nothing to do with parenting when I would carry a pocketknife when going to the projects to see my dad, or dialing 911 and having my finger on the call button in case something happened to me in the staircase of my dads building. Having fears of being kidnapped, or killed. My children wont have to grow up with that fear because they are not from the bronx nor are they bronx.
Whenever strangers ask me where im from the expression on their faces are all the same. Its an expression of, “omg really, how are you alive?”I have been stereotyped because thats where im from. Its like they expect to be speaking with a ghetto hispanic thats probably stabbed someone (I just laughed). Why would I want for my children to be subjected to that by wishing they were from there. I proudly say that I am from the Bronx to strangers and if they insult the bronx they are insulting me. However, for the sake of my boys, I will continue to say “My boys are not from the Bronx” proudly.
So when the next person decides to make fun of the fact that my boys are not New Yorkers, please realize that that is NOT an insult. I did right by them by not giving them the life I had….