Confessions of a PROJECT GIRL

February 19, 2014 — 117 Comments

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I hate thinking about where I grew up.

I’ve written about it before. That housing project. The poverty. The ugliness. The emotional damage.

The fear. The lack of safety.

Being a lone white face in sea of black. Persecuted for the color of my skin.

Hanging on the lovely terrace

 

RZA, the brilliant rapper, actor, producer and mastermind of hiphop group Wu-Tang Clan called out my neighborhood in what is considered one of his best songs, “Impossible.”

Stapleton’s been stamped as a concentration camp.”

Enough.

Today, I want to remember what was BEAUTIFUL about growing up in that housing project. And to reclaim, and yes- embrace,

BEING A PROJECT GIRL.

 

 

COMMUNITY.

It took work to fit in. But in a housing project, there is a sense of community.

My God, it was a beautiful thing.

In the middle of all of the buildings was a huge playground. ALWAYS filled with laughing children, even in winter.

KaBoom gear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You didn’t have to have anyone “watch” you. There were always parents outside, and they looked out for everyone’s kids.

Where I live now, in the suburbs, nobody plays outside. When I take my son bike riding around the neighborhood, we  spot the occasional kid running around in his back yard.

He’s always from Brooklyn.

In the projects, when you stepped outside, there was magic.

Skelly. Hopscotch. Bikes, scooters. Basketball. Really, really good hoops- banging a jump shot was an ART form. Little Dude is not that into sports, but he plays basketball every week at the local Y because…because.

And jump rope.

Heart. Squeeze.

I was REALLY GOOD at Double Dutch.

The TRICK is to enter from the side, not the middle– to stand close enough to the turner to where you could touch her shoulder.

I cannot adequately express how it feels to be a white girl working it on a housing project playground.

Executing a perfect Double Dutch circle turn, which is all about turning speed, leg position, and listening, yes, listening to the ropes…

Then touch the ground while jumping, and exit, all without missing a step.

Damn. If it’s even 40 degrees this weekend, I’d love to see if I still got it.

 

 

FIRE HYDRANTS

Everyone here has swimming pools.

What they don’t know is the sheer ecstasy of unleashing an icy cold blast of water from a fire hydrant on a 95 degree day. That oasis from the baking heat.

The city got tired of kids jimmying the fire hydrants open with monkey wrenches, and eventually installed sprinkler caps that could be opened on those hot days.

The only way my kid could ever appreciate this is to have him hang out in a blistering heat wave for 4 days straight –

with no air conditioning.

And then unleash the COLDEST WATER EVER on him and his friends, while they jumped and screamed like maniacs.

 

hydrant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that the image of an opened hydrant for many signifies “ghetto.”

But for me, an open hydrant is a joyful NYC tradition of a working class neighborhood in the summer.

 

 

MUSIC.

I had older brothers school me in rock. But the soundtrack to the playground was R&B. That was the beat that throbbed through the projects, and in my blood, where it traveled to my heart and lives forever.

It gave me RHYTHM. Shit, I can DANCE.

I was 10 when that first explosion of rap tore up the housing project and laid eggs in my brain that never left.

Sugarhill Gang “Rapper’s Delight.”

I’m a sucker for old skool stuff. And those 90’s rap jams? When I was clubbing?

I know why I don’t always fit in here. Even though I turn down the music when I pick my kid up at his friend’s house, it’s so loud the parents can hear NWA blasting “Kill the Police” as I roll up the street.

And it probably scares them a little.

 

 

WALKING EVERYWHERE

Because you could. A housing project is it’s own microcosm of society. Everything is within walking distance. Schools. Stores.

Broad Street had everything.

Store of a Million Items, (you could DIVE in with 3 bucks and not surface for DAYS), Mauro’s Pizzeria, Tung Bo Chinese, Andy’s Candy.

And in the 70’s, a kid could walk 4 blocks to a candy store alone and it was okay. Which led to wondrous journeys.

The place I walked the most was exactly 5 blocks from my apartment.
And walk there I did. Starting at the age of 7.

 

THE LIBRARY.

 

My Shrine

My Shrine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I searched for pictures, this came up. This gloriousness.

childrens_room_stapleton_-_photo_by_jonathan_blanc.inline vertical (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original library is now THE CHILDREN’S ROOM.

The New York Public Library renovated my old library, doubling its original size. It now includes a light-filled, sleek, 7,000-square-foot addition connected to the original 4,800 square-foot-branch.

HUGE. HEART. SQUEEZE.  Right. About. Now.

 

TOLERANCE

I endured a lot of racism.

But I also grew up comfortable around all kinds of people, which prepared me for life in the real world, as it should be.

And I get to pass that on to my son. Although it’s challenging to find that kind of diversity where we live, he is growing up with the kind of acceptance that most adults around here lack.

We are surrounded by racism, but my background has afforded me the ability to spare my child, he who is the consciousness of tomorrow, that ignorance.

Perhaps, this was the greatest blessing of all.

I AM A PROJECT GIRL.

It’s such an odd duality of my existence – my educated side, the spiritual and loving person; juxtaposed with this ghetto project girl.

Being a project girl is a double-edged sword. It gave me a toughness and an ability to survive things that most people do not possess. But I sometimes respond to the challenges of life like a trapped rat, lashing out in anger.

As brilliant Brenda from Burns the Fire articulated it,
“I am fearless and filled with fear.”

 

 

I’M A PROJECT GIRL.

When my kid came home from kindergarten 6 years ago, and told me some kid had been messing with him at recess, I did not do any of the things a “typical” suburban mom would do.

I did not call the school. Email the teacher. Reach out to this other child’s parents.

I leaned in to my boy’s face, and said, “the next time he messes with you, you just PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE.”

And the next time this kid tried to mess with Little Dude,

SHIT GOT REAL, YO. 

And my kid, while no bully, has never been picked on since.

 

My then husband just laughed.

“You can take the girl out of the projects, but you can’t take the projects out of the girl.”

Werd.

 

I’ll lead you out with LL Cool J’s 1990 ode to the Project Girl, “Round the Way Girl,” which he was singing Just. For. Me.

meow.

 

 

What was it like where you grew up? Did you fit in?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

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117 responses to Confessions of a PROJECT GIRL

  1. 

    I will get round to leaving a proper comment but first… I saw the picture of Uncle L in my reader and had to say, WHAT a tune. Or ‘chewn’ as it would be pronounced over here in a club.

    “I got you shook up, shook up, shook up…” CHEWN!

    • 

      YESSSSS. This is such a wicked post Samara.

      There are so many talking points here but all I’m going to touch on are the beats. I knew we had some similar musical tastes from another post of yours but Wu-Tang Clan..? I can’t tell you much time and money I spent listening to them back in highschool. Though admittedly, back then I probably didn’t know what any of the lyrics meant! Like I said above though, I’m a beats man.

      I was in California with my family in ’93 and remember the tracks on the radio station so vividly. It was ALL rap and rnb but there were two tracks that I knew I’d take to the grave with me:

      Biggie’s One More Chance (the one with the DeBarge sample) and Method Man ft Mary J Blige – All I Need

      The latter was what started my obsession with the Wu and once I found out that they were both from New York, the love affair with the city and that genre of music was born.

      I really hope this gets FP’d man.

      • 

        Sean, love-
        you were the only one that noticed the beats from my strip club post, right? The way the music HAD to be right?

        Wu was baaad.Yes. I even have Cappadonna’s solo record, and he was a quasi-member, at best. Their childhood friend. Wu-Tang put my home town on the map.

        Damn, I loved Biggie. Mary, yes – but Missy Elliot was my girl. We can trip forever together over the jams.

        Love that you love the music. It’s such a uniting force.

    • 

      Has thinking about LL made you forget how to type all of a sudden..? It happens to me too, don’t worry about it.

    • 

      I was rather obsessed with LL.
      He used to do this thing where he licked his lips…

  2. 

    I also miss kids running around and cycling around the block, being kids. I spent countless afternoons riding my bike around town and racing my friends. Now it’s all padded playgrounds, tethers and antibacterial. And iPads. Fuck me George.
    And I think Little Dude got the best advice. Ever.

    • 

      Riding a bike was such freedom.

      We have the padded playgrounds. They’re empty.

      Everyone is home on their electronics. Because it takes effort to get the kiddos to the padded playgrounds; the parents have to drive them, and it’s much easier to let your kid sit home and plug in.

      Thanks for the “street justice” hey now about Little Dude. I think so, too.

  3. 

    Good post, Samara – and thanks for the tune.

    • 

      It’s always about the music for me.

      Did you dig 90’s hip hop and rap?

      Maybe not that particular song, but others?

      • 

        A little bit, yeah, but mostly into the grunge scene to be honest. I dunno, that whole Nirvana thing hit me in uni, and it was like holy crap, what the hell was that and what is that guy saying? I remember the first time I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit, in a campus bar. Everyone stopped doing what they were doing, then went for another drink and asked for them to play it again.

      • 

        MAJOR grunge girl here.

        But I loved rap and hip hop, too.

        Hard for me to settle on one kind of music. I’m schizo that way.

        I think everyone remembers where they were the first time they heard Smells Like Teen Spirit.

      • 

        Yeah. And I had just gotten over a Smiths phase… I thought How Cool is Now was the greatest thing ever, and the year before, it was number one on a top 1000 countdown; year later, it was Nirvana. Poor Morrissey; nothing ever works out for him.

      • 

        Yeah, that was off of Meat is Murder, was it? Love them as well.

        Morrissey. Didn’t he and Johnny Marr go to court for years over royalties or something? Poor bastard.

      • 

        I think it was Hatful of Hollow, the blue tape one. Don’t know what happened over the royalties… that guy is an eternal downer, except he did write Girlfriend in a Coma, and then Coupland wrote that book… it all kind of merges in my mind now.

      • 

        He really is SO SAD all the time…

        poor bastard

  4. 

    I love hearing about the good stuff about Stapleton, Samara, the sense of community. Your story about the bake sale lady nodding to the third burns me, of course.

    Otherwise:

    It happens all over still, this prejudice.

    This past college football season, my wife and I were talking with two of our good friends on the quad before a game. Two African American women. Some clown comes up to us, a stranger, and says to them: You two must be good at basketball.

    I flipped.

    They just shrugged it off.

    Life is something, isn’t i?

  5. 

    You know there is a book here, project girl. Not to diss the global impact of the internets, but I can see it on the shelves.

  6. 

    I am LOVING learning about you!

  7. 

    I grew up in multiple cities and states. My childhood was mostly nomadic.

  8. 

    You turned that shit right on its ass, didn’t you? GOOD FOR YOU. Everything has an upside. I love what you found to appreciate. It made you who you are, which is a total bad-ass in my opinion! The sum of your parts is beautiful and amazing.

    LL is sexy as hell. omg…..

    I had so many *feels* from this post. I can’t put them all into words at the moment. Just know I heart you big, S!

    • 

      LL. Day-um.

      Maybe you can find a pic of him in the 90’s and pin him to your wall of man love.

      I’m trying, Bethie, to learn from you. About gratitude.

      You’re the Queen of feeling Grateful, and right now, I need to turn everything around.

      love ya,
      S

      • 

        Speaking of my man board, when you suggested Josh Hutcherson I was like, whoTF is that? Then I did a search and said, OMG it’s Peeta! haha. I only know him through Hunger Games. anyway, he’s a real cutie. I found one good pin of him and put it on the board. I’ll get more up there when I get time to do things like, I dunno, scroll through hotties all day. YUMMM.

        I’ll see if I can find some throw-back sexy pics of LL.

      • 

        Okay, well Josh is like, a nod to my teens- he’s a man-boy. I don’t know if there are many shirtless pics of him, he’s a Wholesome Hunk.

        Peeta looked GOOD in that second movie, right? All growed up and shit?

        Girl, I crushed on Josh since Firehouse Dog, and since he was like, 15 – that is NOT RIGHT. But I saw the potential in him. What can I say?

  9. 

    I was the smart kid who was picked on by all the jocks, but didn’t want to hang out with the other smart kids either. I belonged to all groups, had at least friend in all of them, but belonged to known at the same time.
    The only time I enjoyed being a kid was when I was running around town, on my bike or on my rollerblades, enjoying the freedom of living in safe, small, desert community and letting my imagination create and recreate worlds around me.

    • 

      DJMatt, love, we had the same childhood.

      I let my imagination create my world – through books, mainly.

      And in high school, i was too smart to fit in with the “cool” kids and too rebellious to fit in with the “smart” kids – so I had friends in different groups.

      But belonged to none, at the same time, just like you.

  10. 

    This is GOOOOD. Great story, got me teared up and laughing.

    • 

      I just figured out where some of my images came from. Wow.

      I love that he was really scared to go there, and how intimidating the street guys looked –

      And then, he gets embraced by the community.

      But it’s unnerving to find out that cop cars drive by EVERY 10 MINUTES? That’s sad. Wow.

      I guess they gotta do what they gotta do to keep the gangs in check.

      • 

        I really enjoyed reading both posts. What a place. The cycle of poverty is so depressing but I love that you told us the story of a different side of the projects.

      • 

        I’m trying to look at a different side of everything these days, Maggie.

        Yes, the cycle of poverty is, and was, depressing. I consider myself fortunate to have gotten out of it. Many do not.

  11. 

    Funny how grass is always greener on the other side. Frankly, the grass is as green as how much manure you put on it and what you whisper to it at night while it tries to grow. I see kids from projects trying to get that suburb action going, and suburb kids trying to get street cred. I would imagine a world like Weeds, where soccer moms and comfortably numb tween are hustling drugs as much as any inner city tween. Or more. I don’t know. But while an address might define someone, it certainly doesn’t define their character.

    Character is colour blind and doesn’t know how much is in the bank account and doesn’t care what’s on the dinner table. For me, growing up in a not so great area, but having a decent loving childhood, character was shown to me by those who I sought for advice and attention – teachers, my folks, etc. I also learned a lot about character by knowing how NOT to do things. That I can thank the not-so-great address I had. Having said that, I am not you and your history. What you have laid down here is as thick and rich as a Wu-Tang beat. It’s your story. You have seen enough to make the decisions you make now and how it shapes you.

    That’s growth. That’s having that indelible mark that has served you well…or not so well, depending on what’s going on. That’s your story. And while we cannot lay our life down at the feet of our history, it does weigh on us at times. But how I let it weigh or let me float and bounce…that’s up to me, isn’t it?

    I’m with ya on the music there – I was listening to Grand Master Flash and all those old skoolers before they even called it rap – it was called “funk” back then and frankly I didn’t care what it was called, it spoke to me. As death metal did. As all the other landmarks of my journey…a soundtrack to a time and place.

    Great post, Samara. Keep it real.

    Paul

    • 

      Always keeping it real, Paul, as are your comments.

      Music spoke to me, and defined different stops along the journey – and how I love to visit those places, just with a click of a “play” button-

      Today, I’m trying to ride the buoyancy of my childhood, because truly, I feel lost at sea. And I can’t afford to let it weigh me down, not now.

      That daily post almost spun me off into a pity post, and I’m just not going there.

      I’M A PROJECT GIRL! AND PROUD OF IT!

      Grand Master Flash carried The Message, didn’t he??? Just like your blog…

      • 

        Damn right to be proud of it, my friend! Keep it real…what’s the other alternative?

        “Grand Master Flash carried The Message, didn’t he??? Just like your blog…”

        Ha ha…damn, that was good, S. Nice one 🙂

      • 

        I know my 80’s rap, sir.

        True that.

        And it was such a nice little cyber cheek pinch, I couldn’t resist…

  12. 

    I can’t compete.

    I had a deeply repressed childhood. Too afraid to rebel. Didn’t grow up in the big city– mostly grew up in po-dunk redneck/hick towns. Benton City (1978-1984) was probably king of them all, but before that: the land of Napoleon Dynamite, for real. And Eastern Washington state generally has an inferiority complex about Sea-Tac in general. You’d think it was warranted, though, with all the condescending nicknames from the kids eager to get their Seattle hipster vibe on and leave: Spokane is “Spoklahoma”, Moses Lake is “Moses Hole”, and my home area: “The Tri-Shitties”.

    I can still remember, when we lived there (Benton City) coming home saying “ain’t” and other such things, and my mother protesting, recoiling in horror: “Don’t talk like that! You want people to think we’re hicks from the sticks?” Gee mom, we’re already living with hicks, in the sticks. I still say “howdy”, years after my father stopped. (He says “hello”.) I can remember when a neighborhood kid offered my sister and I chewing tobacco. How ironic that she, the black sheep of the family, said no, it was wrong, while I was actually contemplating trying some.

    I opened up my newspaper today to read yet MORE drama shit about Benton City (it’s been going for a few years now)– another one in the Ki-Be school district. It’s embarrassing to read it and think, “Damn, I remember when I had that dude as a teacher.” No, not any teachers that were in trouble, but still involved somehow. Gah.

    Okay, that was a long-ass comment. I’ve got to figure out how to tell these stories on my own blog. Don’t really have a good clue right now, though.

    • 

      You just did, Jak.

      You just wrote a blog post. Did you see yesterday’s Daily Prompt? That’s what pushed this little bit of history out of me.

      • 

        I didn’t, actually… I tend to focus on the photo ones, to give my family photography a little more… exposure… geez, that was a bad pun…

        I’ll go look right now.

      • 

        Oh dear… West End Girls as the title… have you heard Neil Tennant singing it with the BBC Orchestra?

        I trolled my father-in-law with it in a post.

  13. 

    Thank you for not editing this beautifully articulated, powerful recollection down to a thousand or so easily digestible words. In fact, I’m with Brenda on the book thing, it’s a thoroughly engaging topic all on it’s own but when related from first hand experience, tempered with time and reflection, it’s no longer just your story, it becomes my story, it’s everybody’s story. It transcends the pale condescension of “rough girl/boy makes good” flippantly bandied about by know-nothing, do-gooders and well-meaning editors, instead driving straight through the heart of all of us and the bullshit paradigms we’ve refused to let go of that hold us back…no one could again get away with saying I am a product of my environment if you were to chronicle your life’s journey. I love how Brenda put it, I am fearless and I am full of fear, my Latin translator renders these words as Minime Timidum Expavescebat Sum…that’s going straight to theBar…and maybe even the next tattoo artist I meet. Love your heart Samara.

    • 

      We can’t keep our words down, can we, Red? We write and write until the readers bleed…

      I don’t know if I have a book in me, but I will say this story made for a powerful slam poem, a show stopper, so maybe, it can be a book?

      Brenda IS amazing – I just found her, and I cannot believe how well she articulated my journey.

      Love your heart, too my REDdog friend.

      • 

        Ooooh, bleeding readers, I like it! Like one of those old skool tattoos of a zombie girl with blood running from the eyes…you’re making WordPress a cooler place to be one image at a time!

      • 

        I WISH I knew how to post images in the comment section, for I would surely slap one of those here-

        I’m longing for some more ink; my son’s name, I think – around my left ankle in a circle to match the tribal pattern that I have around my right.

        Or not.

      • 

        Yes, lil’ Dude would love that I bet, he’s already cool. I have my girls names on the inside of my left bicep and the boys names surrounded by flames covering the entire inside of my left forearm…they love that stuff. I’ve been thinking about more ink lately, too.

      • 

        I love when men ink up with their kid’s names.

        Such a loving gesture.

        It also means you have, um, big arms?

    • 

      Right, Red, it becomes ‘our story’, which is exactly why it would make an important book, let alone a great read, that helps to build bridges between people. Thanks so much for the Latin translation! Music to my ears.

      • 

        Do you two know each other? – because you should.

        Red is BIG on latin translations, and gorgeous words that run like infinite oceans of music-

        and we both can’t edit our stuff down. And who cares.

  14. 

    Oh, a lot of this resonated with me, Samara. I wouldn’t call myself a Project Girl, but I did live with lots of diversity. I was in the 10% minority at my high school, with a big Hispanic and African American population. I didn’t know anything different until I went to college in Santa Barbara. Whoa! There I was in culture shock. I’m sad kids don’t play in the neighborhood anymore. Yeah, we have play dates and hang outs, too! It’s not the same thing at all!

    • 

      YAY!!!

      HEY, EVERYONE, IT’S AMY FROM “THE BUMBLE FILES”!!!

      Okay, the PSA portion of this comment is over.

      Diversity is so important – but isn’t it weird to be white, and be in the minority? Really gives you perspective.

      Gah! All this arranged playing. Just get in the street with hockey sticks and a net! There aren’t even any cars!

      So glad you’re back.

      • 

        Ha ha!! Oh thanks for the publicity, Samara! I love it.

        I know, play already. I feel like I have to teach my kids how to play. It’s such a strange thing.

        It’s great to be back reading your posts!

      • 

        It’s great to see you in the comment section.

        This project girl’s heart leapt out of her chest when I saw you were back – new blog and all.

        You were such a blogging inspiration to me – I should take this moment to let you know that. Thank you.

      • 

        Samara, you are the sweetest!! This has me grinning from ear to ear! It’s my pleasure to be here. You are an inspiration to me as well, my friend. I love your spirit. You’ve got fire!

  15. 

    Ha ha! My wife loves “Around the Way Girl.” Without her, I probably never would have listened to it much.

    When I was a kid (I grew up in a military town at the end of the Vietnam War), I was listening to/singing/yelling out Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back” when my mom came home, and she misinterpreted the whole situation. I learned then that context is everything.

  16. 

    You’re a long way from the projects now, aren’t you. That’s a hell of an arc. And you’re not done yet. Have you taken your son back there, pointed to a building and said, “That’s where I grew up”? The last time we were in Cleveland, 7-Year Old Daughter asked to see the house I grew up in. I’m glad she’s taken an interest in her history.

    It was so lily-white and poor and dull where I came from. I doubt I could get three decent paragraphs out of it. I shudder to think what I’d be today if I had never left.

    • 

      “Project Girl Makes Good” – that’s my story…

      Mark, my kid has wanted to- and I couldn’t bear to bring him there. I just couldn’t.

      Did you see that LIBRARY, though – the pictures look so amazing, it might be worth a trip. They made this old girl’s heart pitter pat.

      But the area is so depressing,and frankly – even more dangerous- I’m conflicted. Another blogger posted an article about it in my comment section, and apparently it’s gotten really bad with gang banging.

      He’s only 10, maybe in a couple of years…

  17. 

    This made me want to watch Dangerous Minds while listening to the In The Heights soundtrack.
    Fascinating background, Samara.

  18. 

    Your past always makes you stronger.

  19. 

    The neighborhood I grew up in is primarily white. It’s not a ghetto or a project. My dad was a teacher and we lived in the house he grew up in. However, my mother did her best to raise her kids to be color blind. She said everyone is just a different shade of brown and the fact that the color of every human being’s blood is the same as every other human being’s blood, means that we are basically all the same inside. She said it was both rude and disrespectful to treat someone of a different skin color, nationality or religion as if they were somehow inferior to me. I have done my best to pass on this information to my kids. They deserve to live in a prejudice free world, don’t you think so?

  20. 

    Where did I grow up?

    30 miles from Staten Island. Alone. Afraid. Desk separated from everybody else. Force fed grass fists leaves and grownup cock. Daddy was there but he really wasnt. Momma said its because everything you touch turns to ash. We should have never got in those men’s car. Marched out into the woods. I remember how the sun reflected off the leaves. The men were laughing at me and Timmy. I cant remember how I felt. I cant remember feeling anything. I remember the laughter and the black gun they had and the way Timmy cried and begged when it happened. We lived. But we both knew each others sworn secret. Timmy had it worse than me. His father beat the living shit out of him, regularly. Black and blue. Broken teeth. BB gun welts. For some reason, I wanted his old man to beat me up too. Maybe the attention was worth it. Timmy was my best friend. The most best friend I have ever had. Two years later, during the last year of jr high; he and his family moved away. A couple of years after that, he hung himself. 40 something years later I am still here. But the feelings……they are with the sun reflecting off the leaves.

    • 

      I am glad you are still here.

      You need to blog that pain, that story. It moved me deeply. I related to every single part of it.

      Even today pain equals “I am here.”

      Who are you? Do you have a blog?

      • 

        No blog. Never had an original idea. More like a pinball triggered by what others write. If it was left up to me there would be a blank page. I don’t think we will ever graduate to the Junior League (or in my case what ever dudes do) and cant go back to avenue c, cause it isn’t there anymore.

        You know how kids body surf the crowd with the understanding they will be supported? In the past I have sorta body surf a crowd that didn’t give two shits about you and just wants you for your ass, your money, or to steal what ever glimmer of life you have left. Drugs and booze made it doable, plus the fact I gave up on myself early in life. There was no place to run and hide because I couldn’t get away from myself. And no outstretched loving arms to run to.

        My friend died last Sunday. She was in the welfare hospice for people with aids. Its a long story but the reason we were friends is because I could feel her pain. Our unspoken pain was our bond.

        Mostly my life is about trying to help people get sober from drugs and alcohol. Its not a career and I dont get paid. Its just what I do.

        This week I am feeling it. Self pity or it is what it is. Sometimes I want to go back because I just cant shake the feeling that I dont belong here.

      • 

        Dude, you write some powerful comments.
        If you blogged, I would read it.
        Or just feel free to comment on my work. Whatever. It’s powerful writing.

  21. 

    I went back to where I grew as a child this weekend. Walked the streets through the eyes of a child. Gazed upon a multitude of nations under one sky. Such is the city I left always as it ever was.

    My parents house was in a small village. Open fields on one side and the city close by on the other. I watched our one and only black morris car fall to pieces as it got towed to the scrap yard at the age of 11, the same year I got my first pair of long trousers. Watched and listened to my dad suffer from his first bout of depression at 14. I took milk from a fridge for the first time when I was 15. Experienced central heating at 16. Left home at 18.

    As a child our swimming was done in an old long disused water tower designed to fill the tenders of steam trains. The rich rusty nutty brown water coated with lush green elodae.

    As a kid I’d sit in trees and watch the world pass below. Learnt to read at age 11 but could ride a bike from 4yrs, box from 6, knew the best fishing places, where to find wild watercress or the best apples, could identify the birds by song and trees in the winter, knew the sacrifice of war.

    When I moved up a school I learnt that I was different.

    I wasn’t going to write much. Was only going to thank you for sharing.

    And now, the quiet waters of time can close imperceptibly, ripple-less, above me

  22. 

    Me? I grew up in the ‘burbs. Just an average white kid in an upper middle class family. I wasn’t the most popular kid, but I didn’t get picked on much either. Your backstory makes for much more interesting tales.

    • 

      Aaahhh, I see you found your way to that post via Rara? Yes?

      • 

        I did. I apologize for not seeing it before. I’m not a good blog buddy.

      • 

        You are an AWESOME blog buddy.

        You created an alliance that I’m so proud to be part of, I could burst!

        The timing was perfect- I was Freshly Presed, just as I was hosting the challenge. I hope everyone got lots of views – I know they’ve all been FP’d, but the timing was delicious.

        And I get pushed to write in ways I never would have. That latest prompt from Grayson? Sheer genius.

        Thank you for letting me be particiapte in the best alliance ever!

      • 

        You’re welcome? I am happy the Alliance seems to be working out well. I wish I could be enjoying it more, but unfortunately, it isn’t quite happening for me. Elaboration will be provided in a post next week.

      • 

        Oh no, that sounds terribly ominous.

        I don’t like the sound of it. Yikes.

        Well, you put together a kick ass team of bloggers. And I’m being stretched as a writer to do my very bestl. For me, that’s where it’s at.

  23. 

    Hello Samara, I got to this story via Rara’s page and I’m beyond glad to have hit that link. Like Rara, I’m sure you hear it all the time, but your gift for writing is extraordinary. I’m not surprised any more about how much life someone has lived to get to this point of literary magic, but it’s genuinely awesome when that person actually takes up the magic wand/keyboard. Yup, I really love when fate says to me: you gotta read this, and today I got this gift. Cheers to you.
    Robyn

    • 

      Robyn-
      what an amazing compliment!

      Rara is magic, pure magic. I adore her. So glad you found me through her, and I hope you come back and play on my blog more!

      Thank you for reading. xo

  24. 

    Hi Samara! Found my way here through Rara’s post as well. Your post took me back to my own childhood in a city on the other side of the world. What resonated with me most was the memory of all the children young and old playing together in the streets. Loved this trip down memory lane! Your blog rocks!

    • 

      Hi there!

      I adore my Rara, although at the moment – my heart breaks for her. But her shout out ot me on her post – that was a goodbye, of sorts. For now.

      I’m so glad this post touched a place of postive memories for you! And thank you so much for the kind words about my blog.

      Come back and play on my blog anytime! Yay!

  25. 

    I can’t relate to the projects – but that old library brought back some memories. There was a lovely library near my Gran’s and I would get lost for days inside it.

  26. 

    Nice! Beautifully penned! 🙂

    I grew up in like 14 houses so i dont really have deep running roots anywhere. No relationships with deep roots either…

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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