“I knew I wanted more than what my neighborhood had to offer the first time I left home and heard birds sing. No birds sing in Camden.”
This was my mother’s story. Born and raised in the projects, she’d later become a Rutgers graduate and move with her husband to the suburbs. I was born a year later,knowing absolutely nothing of the streets. The first time I saw a prostitute on Broad Street my mother made me duck down in the car and close my eyes.
Even today, there is a guilt that hangs over urban migrants for reaching towards “better.” There is a “palate change” that isolates them from childhood friends and sometimes relatives. In a recent article on SingleBlackMale.org, the author describes the cultural metamorphosis that occurs.
“The jokes he made years ago about me talkin’ white weren’t so funny anymore. Bagging b*tches was a language I could no longer understand…What was I supposed to do? What was I supposed to say? I wasn’t trying to brag. I was just telling him about my life.”
Growth produces change and sometimes that may mean relationships will too. Why should anyone be made to feel guilty for striving towards a better quality of life? In the words of Wayne Dyer,”[a person] may succeed in making another feel guilty by blaming him. But [one] won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about [them] that makes [them] unhappy.”
A person who becomes successful unknowingly forces their former crew to ask themselves the question “What am I doing with my life?” And especially if Mr. & Mrs. Mediocre try to project their inferiority complexes onto a person striving for upward mobility, we should surround ourselves with people willing to celebrate instead of stifle the joy of our accomplishments.
Danni Kay, is a 5 foot nothing Virgoand a former nerdy orthopedic shoe-wearer with eclectic interests in blogging, freelance. Catch her at www.missaleck.com and on Twitter @mzaleck
[Photo credit: Shutterstock]