Where I’m from is not who I am

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For years there has been a debate about how we learn and relate to the world, many of us know this as Nature versus Nurture. For some reason people tend to believe that an environment can only be held responsible for how a person lives if they remain ignorant. If they choose to stay in a place that has shown them nothing but the worst life has to offer is that due to the environment?

People are quick to say that someone is a “product of their environment” if that person comes from a rough neighborhood and continues on with the patterns of the environment. People tend to relate negativity to the environment but there are more factors involved in developing a person. The issue with Nature versus Nurture is that there is one force that fills us more than the other. It is actually not a situation where the two should be pitted against one another but one in which the two work together.

A large portion of the Nature versus Nurture argument is that the environment is just as involved in our molding as our personal interactions. We are all products of our environment. We all are products of our decisions. We are all products of those that helped show us who we are in the world.

People do not realize how their words work. Simply stating that someone is a product of their environment is like stating that they should just settle for life the way it is. The statement suggests that those that come from unsavory environments should be prepared to be viewed as and treated like a second-class citizen. There is very little discussion about how to improve the environment so that the products can be better. The focus is more on pointing out the differences.

In order to be a positive product of your environment you have to make a decision to adjust. You have to adjust your mind. You have to adjust your speech. You have to adjust your thought process. You have to adjust your feet and start moving.

I did not come from an affluent neighborhood. I was not nurtured by the scenery of urban decay. I was not soothed by the sounds of gunshots. I was not content with being alert in case of a drive-by. I wanted more. My environment did not support my dreams of greater, my dreams of happier, my dreams of escaping. More than anything my environment wanted to keep me hostage.

I chose to get out. I chose to be a positive product of a negative environment. I chose to climb out of the bucket while all the other crabs were asleep. I know that I am not alone. There are millions of unknown stories about how we survived and how we escaped. There are thousands of tears that have been shed because others do not understand that they are caught in the center of a cycle. Hundreds of hands have been grabbed with the hopes of pulling them out of the darkness and into the clarity of light.

The journey never truly ends. There is always a fight to prove that you are better than where you come from.

What do you think?