Episode 2: Conflicts
To better understand my racial insecurities I explore my childhood years in Germantown, MD where I grew up with my mom and older brother. Life was pretty “normal” for me until three significant events changed my understanding of normal. First, around the age of 12 my mom lost her job and from that point on holding down a steady job became an ongoing battle. Shortly after my mom lost her job, my older brother moved to Atlanta removing the one person not scared to check me on my bullshit. Finally, my mom made the decision to remove me from my zoned school and place me in a better school in a more affluent area.
With my mom working multiple jobs to make ends meet, I had to learn how to live with less. I depended on my friends a lot, wearing their clothes, eating at their homes. I had to deal with the electricity and water constantly being cut off. Recognizing my situation was becoming drastically different from my friends, I began to feel shame and thought perhaps I wasn’t good enough for them. These feelings were amplified because at my new school, nearly all of my peers appeared better off financially than me. The houses they lived in were huge while mine was crumbling apart. Their cars were beautiful while I took public transit. They wore name brand clothes while I borrowed from my friends or wore hand me downs. I never fully accepted many of the peers at my new school, only becoming close to a handful. Often times I just wished I could be at the school where I was meant to go and be with the friends from my neighborhood.
The feelings of insecurities hit their peak when I arrived home from school one day to find three white people in my house. They looked at me like I didn’t belong and I had no idea what was going on. I called my mom who was at work and that’s when I learned our home had been foreclosed on. We packed our bags with no place to go; the feelings of wanting to be normal were overwhelming. Losing your sense of stability is a horrible feeling especially when you start comparing yourself to others. How has self-doubt changed your behaviors and perceptions of the world?