You know how difficult it is in this day and age to just be who you are? For me to be a young black man who writes rhymes, loves Japanese culture, speaks correctly, drinks heavily and is (typically) honest and straightforward seems to be hard for other people to deal with. If I’m in a hoody and jeans, I’m fully aware of what the initial perception is, but once most people hear me speak, they can hardly recover from their shock. I’ve spent the better part of my life being told I’m not black enough or black at all due to my interests. Shame of it is, the same people that ridiculed me then, now admit they were into the same things. It seems I was the only one willing to be myself regardless of setting.

From private school with the white kids to public school with the hood kids, I always found people to chill with and just as many people, if not more, that were somehow confounded by where I got my confidence. How could I be so proud to do so many things that “losers” do? This “nerd” who answers all the questions, walks with his head up regardless of how we treat him, how dare he!? Even today, if I’m casually dressed with some Nikes, a hoody, T-shirt and jeans and I visit my mother at work, she is always told how well I speak and how articulate I am, as if I’m some type of inept zombie who shouldn’t be able to string a sentence together. When we go out, however, and I dress “the part” so to speak, they are far quicker to acknowledge me as an intellectual equal and with far less surprise.

I guess I have to thank my parents for how I am. The phrase “fitting in” was never even used in conversation. I was plucked in my head for using slang in writing or in conversation and taught to speak so well that only when I’m drunk or pissed can you really hear my NY accent (in my opinion anyway). I hung out with them and listened to Stevie Wonder and Boyz II Men. We watched movies I’m sure I was way too young for, but not for sex or violence, but for maturity and depth. They were not world travelers, but cultured me and made sure my mind was open to new experiences. I was literally raised to be different, but in the best possible way.

I guess, through all this rambling I’m saying, be you. You’re probably pretty awesome, but you let preconceived notions of who you should be and when you should be influence how you live, and that’s not even living. If you don’t have awesome parents like mine, find some awesome friends to fill the void. I know most people suck, but the law of averages makes it impossible for them all to suck, so you should be able to find one or two to help you get through. I know from personal experience how hard it can be just being you, the real you, but you owe it to yourself and the lives you could change to do it.


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