I didn’t grow up in the inner city or in “the hood” or whatever you want to call it. I grew up pretty well off. In the suburbs I guess you can say.
Though I was well off, I am far from well off. – bars
Though I cannot speak for kids growing up outside of the suburbs, here is what I encountered their in the suburbs and maybe other kids, now “adults,” can relate.
I was fed an illusion!
With all the arguing that used to take place in my home during middle and elementary school, my escape became the Disney channel and star athletes. I saw the Disney channel as what life was supposed to look like and believed that that’s what white families had. So I would escape my drama-filled life every time I had an opportunity to watch Disney channel.
Those tv shows and movies, when I watch them today, still bring me such great joy. Remembering the emotions I had watching them as a child.
I also remember hearing so much hype around LeBron James and all these star athletes. Believing that if I became like them my life would be better. So my young, impressionable mind saw the chaos around me and didn’t turn to drugs, alcohol or sleeping with girls to get by. I turned to dreaming my life was the Disney channel and wishing I was LeBron James.
My mind entered a whole new world after that.
I was no longer Ibsaa being picked on at school or beat at home. I was LeBron James now and the beatings and bullying would one day stop and my Disney channel happy ending would eventually set in.
You see in almost every Disney channel movie and tv show there was a happy ending. There was also a protagonist and an antagonist. The protagonist just wanted to do good, but the antagonist was against him or her doing good. So the antagonist would try everything they could to bring the protagonist down and it would work for a portion of the movie. But then eventually the protagonist would overcome all the obstacles that were set in his or her way and win in the end.
So I looked at all of the bullies and beatings at home and at school as my real-life antagonist and my protagonist self just had to get to the other side. I just had to get to the happy ending. Not realizing that these were just movies and tv shows. Fake movies and tv shows – I might add.
That is why I loosely say the word “adult.” Because I feel that many “adults” are still children lost in an adults body.
As crazy as it may sound, this realization didn’t hit me until just now. I was watching television and BAM!
So at 28 years old, as embarrassing as it is to say, I am still living in this Disney channel fairytale of what life really is. Going to Disney World as a kid too definitely didn’t help.
Why, you ask am I still living in this false world?
Because in my 28 years of life I’ve never had a man in which I could just sit down and be my true self with. Let out all my emotions, cry and just be vulnerable. So I hold everything in. I continue to live a lie as I did as a child. I hold it in out of fear of rejection, ridicule and just plain feeling alone again. As I said before, feeling alone is a scary feeling. Especially when it feels like the whole world is against you and you have no one to protect or stand up for you.
I realize now that the Disney channel life isn’t coming till I make it to heaven. I wish someone would have told me that as a child. If someone were to have stood up for me at school, let me know those Disney channel movies & tv shows were fake and most importantly introduce me to Jesus Christ as a kid, I don’t think I would have gone through what I did in the same way. But like I said before in Rick Warren’s quote, “Let your mess be your message.”
So here I am airing it all out for you and especially for me.
If heaven or the Disney channel life (which I’m sure is way better than the Disney channel by the way) isn’t coming until I die and let’s say I die at 60 years old, I still have a wayyyys to go till I get their. So I pray that God helps me see the world for what it really is now and that the devil isn’t going to allow me to have a Disney channel life here on earth. No sir. No indeed!
I’ve tried to give my siblings my best version of the Disney channel life. Trying to make their lives as happy and pleasant as possible. Sacrificing my own happiness for theirs.
It wasn’t until I got older and my mind evolved that I realized LeBron James isn’t perfect as are none of these athletes. But I believed they were because of how highly people praised and respected them growing up.
It wasn’t until now that God gave me a lightbulb moment about the Disney movies and me believing I was living in one.
It makes so much sense because I’ve always dreamed for this perfect career, with this perfect family that everyone envied and would flip out or be embarrassed of my family many times because we don’t resemble the Disney channel families.
I would get glimpses of really great moments in life and think that this was it, this was my happy ending, then something bad would happen. In my head, this wasn’t how the movies went. It was good, bad then good again. So I would get extremely frustrated and who would I take it out on? Everyone close to me including God. Feeling like He had a hand in this by not putting someone in my life at a young age to stop me from believing this way.
It’s all coming together now.
My dream would be for one day star athletes and celebrities like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Drake and so many others to come to kids schools and not just promote becoming a star athlete or rapper like them one day. But tell the kids that by getting out of the ghetto, your problems don’t just stop.
Tell the kids that money, woman, cars, yachts and trips around the world don’t give you true joy in life. Tell the kids that they can find true joy right now in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Because kids like me didn’t even know who Jesus was growing up and if I did, He wasn’t as important as LeBron James.
If these Disney channel shows have a disclaimer letting kids know that these shows are fake, we won’t have to wait years to see Miley Cyrus fall off the deep end to know it’s not real. I’m glad she’s back by the way haha.
But Forreal! Kids in the hood need to see that becoming a rap star and making it out of “the hood” doesn’t mean you’ve made it in life. Show the kids that they can make it right where they are at, by inviting Jesus into their homes.
But it all starts by making Jesus seem more important than a Disney channel movie or tv show and a celebrity.