Outside, there is heat, a beautiful heat I felt as a child and now a hurtful one I feel in my heart. For days upon my return, my blood has been boiling. Where exactly did I gain this resentment for such a beautiful city that I have known as my home for over two decades? Looking back on my childhood, I used to reminisce about summertime water fights, trips to the corner store to load up on flaming hots and oatmeal cream pies, long afternoons of bike riding and football games in the abandoned lot across the street. There were even days when I would try to skip dinner because I was having so much fun getting dirty and running down the summertime hours. Lately it seems I have forgotten the meaning of home and finding peace with returning.
High school was not the easiest time for me, and occasionally, I had the bruises and busted lips to show for it. Some people who were with me then no longer exist physically and I think that is what scares me the most; I lost a childhood friend this year to violence. I can remember our younger summer days of him catching a touchdown pass or crossing everyone over as he went to the basket. You see, I looked up to that kid even though I was older. He was someone I admired because it seemed he had it all, but now he is gone.
It is a fact that traveling abroad and going to school in another state has opened up so many doors and presented many more opportunities in my life, but during these last few years, I think I have forgotten the first door opened up to me, HOME. By stating the word 'home,' I am not explicitly speaking about the house I grew up in, but the city that raised me, my city of the hard knocks. I went off to college and even became a globetrotter, but with everyday I matured or gained another notch of experience, one thing always resurfaced upon my return home, fear. Fear that my dreams would not come true, fear that I would not make it out alive and a fear that I would not be able to help my parents and sister. Today, I recognize these fears as nothing more than old toys ready to be given away. Yesterday, my sister said to me, 'you have got to let the past go, no matter how hurtful it was,' and she is completely right.
How could I ever be completely content in a new home (Los Angeles), if I hold so much resent for my old one? How can I ever move on and run towards my goals for my career if I am not willing to let bygones be bygones with the past? Honestly, I have been afraid to accept the fact that my home is home. Being around other world travelers and college kids, I sometimes think, "why would you ever want to hear about all the violence in my city, about all the kids that don't make it out?" Not that I have found the answer to this question, but I have found peace with it because my home and my past are realizations that needs to be accepted. I admit I never wanted to accept the fact that I did not come from the best place but now, I realize I do come from the best place because it has made me who I am. It has molded me into the young man, who knows that there is a world much larger than the one he calls home. It has showed me that life is not easy, but for those who endure, the blessings are in the struggle. About two to three years ago, I wanted to forget that this place was my home. I have become too spoiled with desires of conquering the rest of the world, that I have forgotten about the fears I have yet to conquer here.
"Before a king can expand his horizons, he must first secure his home."
I am back home and if I were to move tomorrow, at least I would know that I have reached peace.
The world is yours but never, ever, ever, ever, ever forget where you come from.