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On Growing Up In Brooklyn

posted on: May 3, 2018


The other day while standing in our local cafe, I overheard people talking about how true New Yorkers (born and raised) are like unicorns, and it made me laugh a little. There was one point of their conversation when I wanted to yell out...
"Here's another one (sort of!)!" Instead, I just stood there eavesdropping and smiling about it all.

I was born in Brooklyn, but spent many years throughout my childhood in other cities and states. I came back for good when I was 16 and have been in Brooklyn ever since. It's been a pretty layered experience to watch Brooklyn rapidly shape and shift while growing within it.

Now that I am a mother, the memories made here aren't just my own, they are the kids', and sometimes when I'm standing on some random corner, I'll get hit with memories that feel like this odd experience where various frames of time sort of meet. Even though I'll think one corner means something to me, I'll run into a friend that has this crazy story of something or another happening in that same exact spot. There's always that one restaurant, and that guy who used to sell things on that corner or this corner. Part of me wants to bottle it up, especially in the summer when it feels like  magic is unfolding. And part of me knows that the magic is also in being present with the good and bad of growing up in Brooklyn.

A few of my friends grew up in small towns, and it seems like for them, the magic in going back home to a town that hasn't really changed. I wonder about the experience of Brooklyn, and how it forces us to constantly be in a state of acceptance, even when we are refusing.

(Photography by Andre D Wagner)

5 comments:

  1. You must have so many stories about the metamorphosis of Brooklyn. What valuable insight to have!

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    1. I do, one day I'll write it all down!
      xo

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  2. I grew up in small town, Alabma. Obviously not Brooklyn but it’s always sad to go back and see how things have changed—for better and worse. I know there’s a lot of reshaping, gentrification happening all over including the city of Seattle which is where we are now. TBH I think a lot if of us are grappling with what that looks like in re: to our oast and current identities, if that makes sense. It almost makes thise memories that you mention ethereal. Something that was once real that we have to cling with all of our might to hold on to. A lot of thoughts on this. Obviously. LOL Thanks for sharing! ❤️

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    1. ditto (Philadelphian here.)

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    2. Kennesha,

      I really love your thoughts on this and thank you for sharing.

      Best,
      LaTonya

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