I am leaving my home on the west side of New York City to go to a shopping center, and when I look back at it, it feels like an accident.
I left the home I grew up in with a strong sense of belonging and belongingness.
I never felt like my identity was defined by my hometown.
I didn’t know what it was like to be black in New York.
When I first got here, my parents said, “Go home.
We won’t be around to see you leave.”
I thought, “I just have to be myself.
I have to make my own way.”
It took years to figure out how to live without my mother and my dad.
I would say, “Why can’t I be this?
I have a home.
Then I began to feel like an outsider in the community.
I had friends who were different.
I was uncomfortable around people who were from my city.
I wanted to make myself comfortable.
I tried to avoid them.
I started to go out to bars and restaurants with my friends, and I found myself with a new perspective.
I found out that my parents were not there to guide me, that my city was not home.
My family, my friends — all of them were from different parts of New Jersey.
And I was just alone.
I felt like I was a new person.
I thought I was crazy, like, what did I do wrong?
But I learned that it was normal for my parents to have other people with them, too.
So, when I left, I felt a sense of failure, of missing out on what I knew and loved.
The more I left New York, the more I felt as though I was losing my identity.
My friends told me that I was going to get into trouble, that I should leave, that it would be better if I went back.
I think my parents understood that.
And when they left, it was a moment that felt like an epiphany for me.
I really was just a kid who lived in a bubble.
My parents came to see me as someone who was a little different, a little too strange.
I realized that I could really be myself, but that I also could be a part of the world and live in this world.
And so, they didn’t see me leaving as an accident, but as a part that was meant to be.
They saw me leaving with a sense that they were not welcome.
My mother had to go home for the funeral.
My father was also a little bit of a recluse and he couldn’t make it.
So my parents made it very clear that I had to leave the neighborhood.
I could go back to my parents, but it would take a lot of work.
I couldn’t walk in the streets without having to get permission.
I wasn’t allowed to go shopping or play in the street.
I just couldn’t be myself around people from my own city.
And this was in the ’90s, when my friends weren’t doing anything, and they were just looking at the city as a place that didn’t matter.
And it really wasn’t until the ’00s that people realized how important that neighborhood was.
They started to come together and they started to make the connections.
I saw my father’s old apartment building, and it just felt like he was just gone.
He had no idea what he was going through.
My mom left for work and we decided that she had to come back.
So I spent a year and a half in a small, rented house with a small family in a community that was very welcoming.
I stayed at my father, who had his own apartment, and my mother stayed with her mom, who lived at the same apartment building.
I became a full-time resident, and she took on my responsibilities.
I took a job at a small clothing store, and then I started living at my parents’ house, too, because it was the only place that I felt comfortable living.
It felt like home, and the more time I spent with my family, the happier I felt.
I also started to feel more comfortable around my siblings and my brother, because I had an older brother who grew up around my family.
I kind of wanted to be that person for my family because I knew that was who they wanted me to be in my life.
I feel like that’s where my story comes from.
My life was always centered around my parents and my father.
I grew from a kid with a broken home to a kid in an adult life that was built around my father and my mom.
And the way that I lived in that world was to be able to do that, and to have my parents be there to support me.
They had to help me with homework and to give me things to read.
My dad would take me out on a date at a bookstore and buy me books and movies