Yes I was failing classes. Yes I had the toughest kid in school after me. Yes my dad was in and out of my life. Yes there were talks of suspending me, something unheard of at the time.
None of that bothered me.
Before smart phones and tablets distracted and addicted young boys, we used to like girls. In the third grade it was Brenda.
I again never told her. I assumed no one would like me since I was different and felt embarrassed because of it.
A classmate of mine liked her too and she liked him back. I took my mom’s earrings to school. I told him to give them to her. I don’t know why. I guess I wanted to be the reason she smiled, even if indirectly.
In Judaism it’s said that one of the highest levels of giving, is when the recipient is unaware of the giver. Love should be altruistic. It’s funny how we understand this intuitively as children, until our modern world suffocates it out of us.
This gives credence to the idea we discussed in chapter 4, that children are in tune with the divine before they arrive.
I was forming something of a double life. I was becoming very active in my church due to my mother. Church was in Wheeling, West Virginia. Because of the slander I gave WV earlier for being so country, you maybe wouldn’t expect Wheeling to be hood.
But East Wheeling is, and that’s where I went to church. It may also seem to you like those rougher elements of the city wouldn’t be imposing on my church going experience.
But you’d be forgetting about one thing. Kids in the hood go to church when they’re young. Today they probably don’t, but in the 90s they definitely did.
Their parents knew what they were up against in those streets, so they tried to keep them in the church as long as they could. It’s how I know that expression about ‘raising a child in church’.
So while I was spending my weekdays with white kids, whose parents were mostly upper middle class. My weekends were spent with black kids, some who would eventually gang bang, others who already were.
I know how hard this is to believe, but surprisingly enough, these city kids didn’t like me.
Saint Clairsville was one town of many, making up the tristate area of what is referred to as The Ohio Valley. The only town there you maybe heard of is Steubenville Ohio. Famous for Dean Martin, The Sopranos, and Wu Tang.
If the Valley was California, East Wheeling was Compton, Steubenville was South Central, and St. C was Beverly Hills.
So here I was, the kid from Beverly Hills (minus the money), around the kids from Compton. Yea, they didn’t love me.
Even though I was fighting as much as I was, even though I was getting in trouble in school, even though I’d end up having my own legal cases to fight, I still wasn’t considered tough enough to get respect from the streets – yet.
Did this juxtaposition of opposing lifestyles help to frame my perspective, cultivating intellectual duality and understanding?
Does that sentence even make sense, and thus, do I even have any of those traits?
All questions I’m not prepared to answer right now, and I definitely wasn’t then.
In the midst of all of this going on, I had moved on to my new 4th grade crush. Roxy.
Not that she liked me back, or had any idea that I liked her. Just the fact that she existed made me feel better. That was enough. That was hope. That was my escape from it all.
Whatever else was going on, I could leave there, just by thinking about her.
With my advanced understanding of the inner workings of the cookie monster, you may have gathered I was watching a lot of TV, and you’d be right.
What I hadn’t realized was the effects programming was having on my subconscious. For example, I always thought that everything would end up okay. While that may not seem negative at first, allow me to expound.
TV shows usually have happy endings. I had come to expect everything was magically predestined to work out.
In order to create change we desire, rational human beings understand; we must exert our energy to coerce the external world – as well as inner. Sometimes we fail and things fall apart. Expecting anything to happen without accepting responsibility for it’s outcome, isn’t only foolish its lazy. And that’s what TV did to me.
I didn’t learned this until Roxy.
I found out she liked someone else, my next door neighbor. This is when, for the first time, I understood that the main character doesn’t always get the girl.
I came into possession of a note she wrote him. It said: “Dear Clayton I think you’re cute but don’t tell anybody”.
I was devastated. I cried. My parents asked what was wrong, I told them I hurt my thumb. My dad found the note and told me to stay out of other people’s business. It was the best advice he had ever given me, up to that point.
Things with Clayton and Roxy wouldn’t work out sadly enough.
Years later we would find out that Clayton was in fact gay. She didn’t see that coming.
My idol, Tupac, once told his friend turned deadly rival Biggie, ”If you want to make money, rap for the bitches. Do not rap for the niggas. The bitches will buy your records.”
Women know what’s popular currently. It’s why they tend to set the tone for pop culture and fashion. In school they like who seems to be the coolest, at that moment. In adulthood, they go after professional athletes and surgeons.
They tend to like their men older, more established. Who can blame them? I can’t. But as with any and everything, there’s good and bad.
The bad side of going after what’s en vouge right now is that it’s short sighted. What if that surgeon is being investigated for insurance fraud and on his way to losing it all?
What if that kid you don’t think is cool now is on his way to becoming a best-selling author?
A big picture strategy is necessary in war, or in this game… of love.