On My Block By : Marcus Lacewell
I used to feel that bad habits shouldn't be discussed. There was a time when bad habits had total control over me. "The block" became a regular hang out spot for me around the age sixteen. When night fell, everyone would congregate like Sunday morning service, the collection plate would make its rounds, but everyone knew that no one was going to be saved. Instead of the money going to good causes, it went to Everclear, Gin, Hennessey, and several other "problem solvers." Normal people went to their church to solve problems, but I guess our church only made my problems worse.
It was normal to see everyone dancing drunkenly in the streets while Tupac and Master P sang in the choir. You were considered dumb if you didn't already have your "goods" stashed; just in case the police came around. Everyone still kept their eyes out for "customers." I never had my own business, but I knew how to operate one if I had to.
I thought that my habit would never leave me, but at one point in time I began to think differently. It all started when my friend Mike was shot by a customer. Mike was a loyal member of our nightly congregation. He went to a lot of the same places and did a lot of the same things I did. Because of this, I began to feel that the same thing that happened to Mike, could happen to me. Even though this had a big effect on me, I still went to my nightly services. Just as things seemed to return to
normal, my friend Shawn was arrested. This is when I realized I was only a good guy in my neighborhood, but in my community I was still a villain. Because of the friends I had, people outside of my neighborhood would always look at me as a bad guy. The things that we did, such as drinking, were not considered bad to us because my parents and all of my friends parents did it. It was only considered bad if you let it take over your life, like Mr. Williams down the street.
As my Senior year came to a close, I began to realize that most members of the congregation were high school drop-outs or graduates who never excelled. I knew from that point, I didn't want to be a member for life. If I did, I would be another victim like Shawn or Mike, so I decided that I
wanted to go to college. When I first got to college, I went home every weekend to attend services, but as I saw more friends fall, I found myself occasionally missing "church." The more services I missed, the more my friends teased me. I would normally hear things like "Why didn't you come home last weekend, you too good to chill with the fellas." Someone else would say "Don't forget where you came from, you'll always be like us." I knew, and they knew, that this was just teases. I knew the change wouldn't be easy, so the teases didn't really bother me. Besides, we had all grown to be close to each other. It was like a big family, and that was the way we all felt. I knew that they respected this change because this was my family, and that's how we'll always be.
Now that I'm in college, the habit seems to be gone. When I
go home, I find myself going to "service", but for different reasons. Instead of giving my offerings to Everclear, Gin, and Hennessey I offer my words of encouragement to my fellow members. I may have not totally done away with my bad habit,but I have overcome it. The only thing I can do is hope that the rest of my congregation has the opportunity to overcome the same habit.