Why do people always laugh when…

Why do people always laugh when I tell them I used to be “gangsta”. 

Seriously, they do. They look at my face and they’re like NO WAY!! 

Of course Its not entirely true, because i was never ever really “gansta” even though I did try to present myself as one for a couple of years. I’m actually glad that people don’t see me as someone from the “hood” or from “the block” not because its bad, but because it just goes to show how much God has done for me. 

Today I was driving down my block, and well even if i’m in the “suburbs” I still live in the hood.  Its still “the hood” where people hanging out on the streets leaning on their cars while bumping some form of rap on their stereos, yelling, carrying on, and being, in my opinion obnoxious. Then I started thinking…wait I used to be one of those people. Not 100% involved with the “street” life but not that far from it. Literally I could have reached out and taken a hold of it. I look at the young ladies that live on my block and I’m like wow that could’ve been me. Having baby daddies all over the place, causing drama everywhere I go. Again, I’m not saying I’m better, or they’re worse, I’m just reflecting on what might have been my life. I see these young women and they feel that their only worth is in their body. I hear my roommates talk about them in disrespectful ways. I hear them trying to manipulate the guys into giving them things, as if they its their right. I hear the guys talking about how they even feel sorry for them. Theses beautiful young ladies, wasting away, hoping to find someone to love them and be with them, but at the same time pushing the guys away because they’re too strong to be tied down by some “man”. I hear the guys talking about how there aren’t any good girls, and I tell them they need to stop looking for them on the block, but then I wonder if they do that what’s going to happen to these girls. The girls who like me went through a lengthy discovery process on identifying who they are. Many of which are also, like me, still searching. They’re asking the same questions, what’s my next step, what’s the best options, where do I go from here. Like me, they’ve made bad decisions, gone down the wrong road, hung out with the wrong crowd. Yet I was spared the lifestyle that they’re living now. 

I ask myself if I’m really all that different from them. I know that part of what’s helped me is God’s grace and mercy. I have discovered the most important identity that I can have, and that’s being known as a child of God. I wonder if had they been given the same opportunities and options that I’ve been given, would they still be where they’re at now? How would their lives have been different had they known the love of Jesus? How would my life been different had I not chosen to come back to Him? 

All I know is that, for me anyway, the saying of “You can take the girl out the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out the girl” doesn’t apply anymore. Cause I’m in the ghetto, and if you ask around, I’m not anywhere near as ghetto as I could’ve been. 

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^^^ that’s a picture of me around 2004 or 2003 maybe, trying to be “hood” I say trying cause now i know I was not even close to it. 

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