Ohio is such a weird place.
It’s not that it’s a horrible place to live or the quality of life isn’t high. There just isn’t much to do there.
The most exciting places in Ohio are Cincinnati and Sandusky. The only reason to mention Columbus is because of Ohio State University football games. Living in a motor city was weird because visiting was strikingly different from being a resident as a wandering 11 year old creative.
My grandparents were getting older. My parents were getting older. My siblings were getting older. It was the first time that I made an “adult decision” as a kid. I figured that if I could live with this decision, there wasn’t much else I couldn’t do. Until I grew up faster than I anticipated.
Living with my grandparents meant two things:
Work hard and earn your keep.
Be honest with yourself and others.
I didn’t do too well abiding by either rule because I had to unlearn things such as being lazy, irresponsibility, and passiveness. Changing your mind as a kid is a hard process. As someone that was obedient but not oblivious, rebellion was always a few steps away from every chore or assignment given.
I lived on East 135th Street — in the basement. Since the walls were concrete, it got colder quicker. During my first winter, it was hell on a stick. My fingers froze quickly and my body didn’t hold heat as long as I needed while shoveling snow out of the driveway. After the snow plows ran through the streets, the snow was harder to shovel for a scrawny 11 year old D3. But with Granddad snapping and my Grandma Cola’s job calling her, it got done whether or not I wanted to do it.
I decided to live with my grandparents after visiting them during the summer when I transitioned to 5th grade. Now I know you’re wondering — how could a wandering, creative boy like me leave home?
Honestly , I knew I needed to be in a different space. There was something about being home with my siblings that felt off. I was an outcast by nature so that wasn’t the problem. I noticed that I didn’t really know myself. I just knew I had an overwhelming amount of potential. It’s similar to an artist that doesn’t perform live but wants to sell out stadiums. How will you know your limits if you never push yourself?
And in that goldenrod house, I definitely was pushed.
Grandma Cola would spend hours after work helping me with my homework since Granddad was tired from house work and showing me snippets of his old life in music. Going to school in Cleveland was strange because it was the first time I attended a K-8 school.
Little people with bigger little people. It made no sense to me, but when you come from a home crowded with cousins and siblings, the adjustment period is shorter than expected.
I do still think about what life would look like if I stayed in Ohio instead of succumbing to homesickness. I think it was best for me not find out — at least in this lifetime.