Author's note: I want to let teens around the world know they are not alone.
West Side SpringsThe average girl from my neighborhood is either pregnant by the age of 15 or has already had two or three kids by now. The majority of their “baby daddy’s” are in jail or don’t want anything to do with them or the kids. They have those long hideous nails that are painted various colors, accented with designs. Sounds familiar? Their colored hair weaves consist of purple, gold, and green all because their favorite female rapper entertains as such. It makes me want to scream! They live, eat and sleep these obnoxious rap videos as if they are the celebrities.
See…... I’m not the typical girl from this hood. We may live in the same place, go to the same school and even ride the same bus but what I can't quite fathom is the thought of is having two to three baby daddies, nor abusing any system (besides the school system to inhale all the education available) to take care of unplanned kids. I know I may come across a tad bit harsh; I just want more for them than they want for themselves. I always thought we should educate ourselves first. So much for that!
It’s amazing how I come from this place and I can’t seem to identify remotely close to anyone. The loud talking, rolling your neck to get your point across to intimidate me all because I refuse to master making a fool of myself unless it’s in the privacy of my own home. By no means do I think I am better than anyone. All I can say is to know better is to do better. This may sound like a huge contradiction but I hate to stereotype; however I see this behavior so often it’s sickening.
I am from this hood though. A hood called West Side Springs. I’m not proud of my neighborhood and I try not to mention in outside conversation that I am a resident here. Everything goes on at this juncture. You name it and I guarantee you it happened all right here. I can’t wait to be able to walk outside to the clean fresh air that exists somewhere far away from here. Instead I am exposed to the stench of urine hallway to hallway, debris from doorway to doorway and the ignorance that surrounds me from day to day. I don’t know what I would do without my attendance at West Side High. You wouldn’t be able to comprehend the reasons why I strive to do so well in school. Yup, you guessed it right, to get out of here, with this smile I wish you all could see on my face.
School is my escape from all the madness my hood has to offer. I don’t know what I would do without Ms.Vee. She is my guidance counselor. I am so grateful to have her in my life. Every leadership program, college prep course, and my attendance to classes abroad,she selected me. She knew my mom wouldn't be able to afford the activities so she took it upon herself to foot the bill. I enjoyed every experience and I learned an awful lot. I often wondered how Ms.Vee could seem to care more about me than my very own, biological mother. I try not to over analyze it, so I cover it up by burying myself into my school work. I think of it as another blessing and for every door shut the more doors are going to open up for me. My experiences have really placed my mental state at a whole other level. My diversity sets me free of this place so I am confident about getting out and not having to worry about being subjected to this bull right here in good old West Side Springs.
My innovative thoughts and visions keep my journal filled to capacity. The ink on these pages range from mental and physical abuse, death, suicide, discrimination, to dreams, goals, and all my plans for college. I always put forth my best effort every day to separate the good from the bad. It’s challenging under my circumstances however I am motivated in the best way. I refuse to let anyone or anything compromise my hopes and daydreams. Naw, I couldn’t see that happening. I haven’t put forth all this determination to turn back now.
It would be an honor to say that my parents inspire me, but they don’t. I have always been an avid reader of Maya Angelou’s poetry, a true Tyler Perry fan, and every year in elementary school I would do my book reports on Oprah Winfrey. Once doing my research on them, I found a common denominator in each success. Like me, they all have faced some form of adversity at many points in their lives. It gave me the feeling that the sky is definitely the limit. To think, I can be on the very same celebrity list sends chills running through my body. What are your thoughts? Do you think I will be able to manage weathering the storms of West Side Springs? Will I eventually fall victim to the weakness and negativity that lie between these concrete walls? Only time will tell in this building I dwell.
I have to be honest with you about something. Morning in to evening out my feet hit these cold floors to face the trials and tribulations of a true reality. I am still here in West Side Springs until I receive that acceptance letter. So with that being said there is more work for me to do and more examples I have to set. If I can get at least one person around here to consider making a change in their life I would be satisfied. Let’s take a look into my life, through my eyes and understand the real motive for me sharing my existence with you.