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June 12, 2013

A hard-knock life that none of us can leave behind, even if we never lived it.

I grew up on a street of lies. They called it Stonefield Road, but I didn't see no stones--just flat wasteland, twenty feet wide, with shrubs on both sides. I lived in the only two-story house on that street, and yeah, it got me looks; angry looks, from people who knew something about looking angry. Everything on that street was old before its time, from the squirrels that always had fear in their eyes to the senior citizens to the dandelions that could smell fear comin' from a mile away. Y'know, there are some people who try to tell me, "You didn't grow up in the ghetto," or, "Didn't you live next to a church?" or, "Who are you? I moved to this neighborhood because there's no crime or drugs, but if I'm being honest there's nothing that scares me more than a Latina with a clipboard," but I just punch them, because that's all I know to do with these here feelings. Then I cry. But only on the inside, you know, only on the inside, 'cause if there's one thing they taught me on the street, it's to never give 'em the satisfaction. That's right, don't give it to 'em, 'cause they'll just use it to strangle your hamster and steal the newspaper. I know what you're telling yourself about us: we don't get no newspapers around here. The people are so poor, they is, that they eat the newspaper, then they eat the hamster, then we eat each other. But that's life on the street, and it made us stronger. We survived, and by that I'm sayin' it made us stronger. Mah momma says that that's what makes me so strong, is that mah fam'ly dun eated all the stones off'n the street, but nob'dy could fin' no monay to pay pay fo' da new sign, wut wid al' da squirrels takin' da newspapahz, dat dey dun jus' kep' da streee' an' call it Ston'fiel'. Granted, my mother moved here just a few years before I was born, but the moral be all dat you can git on a stree' lahk dis. So ah walk t'roo anyplace, wut skool o' wutnot, an' dey jus' lemme g'on pas', 'cause dey be sayin', "Dis gurl, she dun got dat streee' swaggah, she dun dee-zerve to pass, y'all, and anyone with that much acne is not going to be a cheerleader anytime soon, so I don't think we have to be worried about offending her."