How much does your neighborhood define you?

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Flatbush.jpgFlatbush, Brooklyn.

It’s not the best neighborhood, but it made me the tough Brooklyn girl that I am. Now, does it really and truly define me? I don’t think so. There are a lot of lessons that Flatbush has taught me, good and bad. There were a lot of times when I wanted to just throw in the towel and go somewhere else. Part of the reason why I went away to college was to get away from Flatbush.

When I was growing up, Flatbush was really rough and my mom and grandmother knew that. They decided that it would be best if I stayed out of trouble and as a result they put me in after school activities. I knew the neighborhood kids enough to know that the block was always hot. In other words, someone was always going to be coming around to start problems. I didn’t want to be a part of those problems but I knew my friends always had my back in case someone tried to come for me, “the quiet one.”

When I got older, I started to immerse myself in the neighborhood foolishness. I knew how to fight for myself but I also knew how to mind my business. Flatbush taught me how to be tough and how to look out for my friends and family.

I don’t partake in the bad side of my neighborhood and that’s why I say it doesn’t entirely define me. I feel like I can go through anything and I’ll be okay because Flatbush taught me to have thick skin.

Now, Flatbush is changing so much and even though there is gentrification changing the culture of it, I’m glad I grew up there in those rough times.

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