"Franklin" by Paramore
I don't know what possessed me to go back, but I did. I think it was the notion that I kept getting, the whole "what if?" thing. So I took a day for myself to reflect, to visit, to see, to experience it all over again.
Growing up you think all is perfect. As a child you know nothing really of the outside world, you know what you see around you, and you assume all is as it should be. This past Friday I was truly able to see how ignorance is indeed bliss.
As a child I thought all places were like Hayward. I never thought that there could be a quote, "better place". I hated moving out to Manteca. I thought this place was the worst possible place to live. Going back I was really humbled, and for the first time in my life, I was actually glad that my parent's were able to get us (my brothers and I) out of that place.
I think after going through the experiences that I have, and seeing Hayward for what it is today would make anyone change their mind about that place. I almost feel as if I'm betraying my hometown by being happy that I'm out of there. I mean, the crime, the poverty, just the whole dirty feel of it, it isn't the city that I grew up in, and loved.
I think the most disappointing thing about my trip back was realizing that my dream home, my grandparent's old house, isn't what I thought it was. I think that was the hardest thing to deal with. I loved that house so much, but just like the rest of the city, it also changed. At least I hope that's what it is. Deep down I really hope that it all changed, and that it wasn't like that the entire time…
Don't get me wrong, this isn't an attempt for me to clear up my "street credibility", or prove that I'm "hood" or whatnot. Anyone that really, and truly grew up in that kind of environment that has at the very least an ounce of self-respect in them will tell you that's not what it's about. It's about being able to share your story, and to be able to say "yes, I grew up in that kind of environment, and thankfully I got out of it."
It's nothing to brag about. Being from "the hood" doesn't give you any credibility, or respect, but the plain fact that you were able to live that life, and still be here today, in a better place, I think that's what does.
I will always have a special place in my heart for my home, because you can always change where you live, but you can't change where you came from. When people ask me where I'm from, I say Hayward, not because I'm ashamed of Manteca, not because I want the "street cred", but because that is where I was born and raised. In going back home I learned something, things aren't always what they seem, whether it's your dreams, where you are, where you were, or where you want to be, be sure that it's what you want. I know what I want now, and I've wanted it all along…
I love my home, but I don't plan on going "home" anytime soon…