Prove Them Wrong (A Teen's Bronx Tale)

When most people find out I'm from the Bronx, they give me a "wow" face. Growing up in the Bronx is normal, like growing up in any other place, except you choose what category of life you want for yourself: a gangbanger, a teen mom, dead, a future president... if only it was that easy to choose. You can work hard, give it all you got, and still end up in one of the former categories. 

The schools are different in the hood. We learn that half of us will end up dead before we're supposed to die, most others in jail, and maybe three of us will end up with a job that pays well. At least that's what I learned from a teacher in the 7th grade.

In 8th grade, before moving on to high school, one of my teachers told us something else: "Don't let who you are today define who you can become. Don't let the place you grew up in make you feel like you're not good enough. Don't let your parents' mistakes become yours."

She was one of the best teachers because she saw us for who we are: KIDS. Some kids act all hard and tough, but underneath all that- we're just kids!

Telling 7th graders what their final outcome will be because of where we live is NOT ok. I'm sure the teacher was coming from a sincere place, but it didn't come out good. It's true what they say: education is the key to success. If you have people telling you your life won't be better, you believe it. If you don't have anyone teaching you life can get better, you won't ever know it.

It's hard to be something when everyone around you is showing you the path to the easy way out.

I get it. Sometimes a gang banger's gang is all they have. Being in a gang in the Bronx is a way out for kids. Maybe they are in a bad household, or maybe that's just what their parents did. It's what they ended up choosing.

For teen moms in the Bronx, they know that having a baby doesn't mean their life is over; it means it's just started. Most likely, they'll push themselves to want a better life for themselves and their child.

Death happens. No one can stop it from happening or avoid it. But I feel bad for parents who lose their kids at a young age. It happens here in the Bronx.

Working a good job that pays well is everyone's goal. We can't ever let what people say stop us from wanting a better life for ourselves. The Bronx is my home. We have parks, stores, and schools--- just like any other place. Do me a favor: Change the odds and don't fall into the bad categories. Like my 8th grade teacher said, "Don't let the place you grew up in make you feel like you're not good enough". Prove them wrong.

Written by Destiny C. | Bronx, NY

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Prove them wrong.

-Destiny C. (Bronx, NY)

What advice would you give to your younger self? Comment below!

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