“product of my environment”

“I am society’s child; this is how they made me, and now I’m saying what’s on my mind and they don’t want that. This is what you made me, America.

~Tupac Shakur

The society Pac is discussing = urban, inner-city environments; a place I characterize as “a lack of other alternatives.”  A place where the average perspective is similar to a fishbowl; depressive tendencies are build on the foundation of insecurities (about both self and surroundings) and covered with a layer of grime and crime similar to a goldfish bowl’s not-so-fun algae.  The interrelated nature of such problems that deal with simple basic needs (housing, food, health/hygiene) and rights (education) create an impression that communities like that are ruined, through and through.  There is no way to isolate one of the problems without needing to serve all of them in total, and that is simply too costly; thus whole populations and geographic areas are written off as war zones, no-mans-land left for patrol cars and the homeless to wander. This? = frustration.

Frustration can be defined as the denial of opportunities due to a complex interaction of different variables. (Okay, let me dumb this down; as a human, frustration is the previously mentioned “lack of other alternatives.”) It is the reason why when a family is struggling, they focus on one thing; either paying some of the bills, or buying food for the family, or paying rent.  They don’t do them all because they can’t – they don’t  have the education to generate that kind of income, and they don’t have enough $$ or time to support that chance for their kids either.  They don’t have friends or family to lean on because these same scenarios have played out in those homes too, and the government has a budget: the slice of the pie that goes to these problems and persons can only be so big.

I know these problems.  Not only did I grow up around them, but when given a chance to leave? I chose to go right back (to learn how to help). I’ve been a financial, and then associate director of a collegiate community organization that helped high school kids in the worst parts of D.C. learn about leadership and community service.

This cycle of seamless problems, that doesn’t seem to afford a single handhold or sliver of light? I empathize with that feeling.  I’ve been there too, bra.

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want my environment to be a product of me …(but) no one gives it to you. You have to take it.” 

Therefore, #PUSH


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