In the hood there are three types of people, victims, aggressors and those you just don’t mess with; I call them neutral aggressors. The victim is perceived as weak and unwise to their surroundings. It’s like dropping off someone in the middle of a large city who has never been to the city where they are lost and unsure, they will stick out to those who know the city. The aggressor is the person perpetrating the crimes against the victims. The neutral aggressors are not perpetrating any crime at all but are wise to what’s going on and will kick ass if they have to, you just don’t mess with them because “they know.”
Growing up in a rough neighborhood you learn things about people and become “street wise” building up a mental arsenal against those who may or may not be out to get you and yours. It’s just part of life when you live in that environment. When and if you leave that type of environment you tend to take the lessons you have learned with you and apply them even when it’s no longer necessary.
Trying to change this mindset is difficult when you grow up seeing how deceiving and harsh people can be. In a way you loose the ability to see other’s in a neutral light so that when you meet a person your instinct is to size them up as to determine whether or not they are an aggressor. This learned trait can make meeting people awkward and uncomfortable, especially when you are aware of it. In order to reverse or unlearn this trait I think it’s important to first of all remove yourself from the environment, not always possible I know, and to remember how interactions take place with new people. I’ve found that most, if not all, people I meet are actually not interesting and being aggressive and probably wouldn’t even know what the hell I’m talking about if I said anything about this to them. If I can remember this each time I meet a person I am less inclined to size them up. Unless you grow up that way it seems like an odd mindset.
Over the past few years in particular I’ve made huge strides in this area but still my blinds remained closed tightly at night, another trait you learn in a rough neighborhood. When it’s dark outside you just don’t leave your blinds open with the lights on because that’s how people see what you got. I took a step back recently by purchasing light eliminating blinds for the entire front of the house. They are horrible blinds and make me feel like I have an office in the middle of a building with no windows or fake windows. Really it can be as bright as the sun outside but when you close the blinds they eliminate all light. I think in the next week or so I’m going to replace them so light can come in during the day.