This I Believe

Kayla - windsor, Connecticut
Entered on May 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I was brought up on the south end of Hartford, CT, a very rough neighborhood along with a not so well financially off family. Though as a child I really didn’t notice my mother’s financial burdens. I seemed to always get the toys I wanted for the most part. I got to go outside and play with my friends when it was safe to do so. I never had to deal with a hungry stomach because there was always food on the table. So, from my naïve eyes, my childhood was every child’s dream. I lived with my mother, stepfather, my brother, and two cousins. Yet, to me, they were all my siblings.

When candles were lit at night instead of electricity, I thought of it as something new. When we didn’t have cable for a while, I thought the TV was broken and only cried because I couldn’t watch my favorite cartoon, Tom and Jerry. When everyone ate except for the grown ups, I just thought they weren’t hungry. Though, when Christmas came and I seen all the presents under the tree for me, I just knew we were the richest family in the world. It’s funny how you look at things so different as a child. We are so innocent and so ignorant to the reality of the world. You couldn’t tell me that we were poor. You couldn’t tell me that my parents only fed us because there wasn’t enough food for them to eat. You couldn’t tell me that at some point our lights were turned off or our cable was off. Adults really do a good job to hide the bad things in our childhood that may affect us when we get older.

At the age of 8, my family moved out of the ghetto, away from nightly drive bys and friendly crack heads on the street, to quiet Windsor. Still being so young, I didn’t understand why we had to move. I felt everything was fine right where we were. I didn’t want to go to a new school and make new friends. I didn’t want to live in this boring quiet neighborhood. But, an obeying child I was, so I kept these thoughts to myself. After a while, it wasn’t so bad. I made new friends no problem, though the neighborhood was still boring and quiet, I kind of liked it. My mother loved it in our new home. As a child I didn’t see why but as a young adult, I understand.

In Hartford, my brother was shot and could’ve died. . My mother was in fear of our well beings. On top of that, the ghetto was no place to settle. No place for me, as well as my other siblings, to reach our full potential. She was aware that I was a bright child and could do so much more than she ever was able to. She lived in the ghetto her entire life and didn’t want the same for me. Though she turned out fine, it was because she fought to get here. It was because her mother was content with living in the ghetto. My mother refused to settle. She once told me, which is what I live by, “never settle for less”. The sky is the limit, not just the world we live in.