It is strange that as a culture we no longer find it disdainful for this ghetto mentality to be representative of us. While surviving oppression we adapted to the circumstances forced onto us. In this adaptation we became too familiar with the streets, too familiar with drugs and crime. Our perspectives grew distorted and perverse, corrupting our actions, and stripping us of our fear of consequences–a fear that instilled a respect for things which have left us vulnerable and reckless; fear that has kept us away from that which is prevalent as our cultural rites of passage. We’re told overcome these fears and you become a man, surpass these fears and you’re considered a woman. Gangsters and bitches are our self-imposed status quo. Where the usage of drugs makes you grown and sexual conquest determines your maturity.

What are you scared of? What causes your palms to sweat, your heart to flutter with anxious anticipation of knowing the unknown? Can you remember being scared of the dark, fearful of missing the game winning shot? How about the fear of the first kiss or being scolded for bad grades? The simple fears of the adolescent, the innocence of the ignorant, what happened to that respected fear? What happened to the fears of the first time? The first time you smoked or drank, the first time having sex, the first time being shot at? We survived these fears so we became accustomed to the feelings, not just to the act itself. Dependent on the euphoria of instant gratification, addicted to the adrenaline rush instead of the acts themselves. We overcame our obstacles, intimate with the dark, comfortable in the kiss, so confident in the jump shot that we now yell for the ball. No longer are we governed by our fears, there is no respect for the consequences of our actions. We found out that there was no monster in the closet, so we continued to act the same until we got caught. The fear was evaporated; we lived recklessly with the old fears exposed to the light.

Fear is our biggest hindrance; again we find ourselves scared of something else. We fear responsibility, change and living the life of real men. We take gradual steps into responsibility yet we are scared to fully cross over into righteous lifestyles. If we do not fear something, we will not have a healthy respect for anything. If we do not respect anything, we will disregard the consequences until we have to face them. There is a monster in your closet named Self and you are too scared to face him or her. Now you are in a quagmire. You can’t reclaim your youth but you seem scared to find a future. Stagnant in your consequences, you do not fear your past enough not to fall back into the negative, familiar, additive habits. You have no more fear of your mistakes or the circumstances in which you have submitted to. As a whole, we are too familiar and we do not fear familiarity, we should. This false sense of courage gives us a false measure of pride. It leaves us believing that we have overcome when we truly succumbed to our circumstances. There is a monster in the closet that is holding us back from success. We must find that fear again, or we shall perish in our faulty understanding.

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