There are levels to being broke. Levels that are not discussed. It’s taboo to bring up how much one makes, what one does with their money etc. I’m a man child so when I see niggas are doing some super adult shit I just assume they’re rich. Like…people who have their bills on autopay is a flex to me.
I grew up broke.
There was never a time I didn’t have food or clothes. We had 2 vehicles, my parents were married up until my father’s death recently, I was raised out east in a pretty nice area: Life was relatively good considering. There are people that had far worse circumstances than I can imagine. I’m speaking from the perspective of balls didn’t drop, stupid ass little Andrew Bain that was an ungrateful little shit.
HOWEVER…..my parents decided to choose violence and invest in their children’s education over the trappings of life and, beloved, I was livid about it my entire time in Kingsway.
I’m ready to tell my story.
Now, let’s be honest: If you were broke in a private school in The Bahamas chances are NO ONE knew you were broke cause you hid that shit and lied whenever you could….or maybe that was just me. We didn’t have satellite or cable until I was in grade 12 so I was straight lying to niggas off air.
…what really went down at the house last night?
Thank God kids didn’t have that much of an attention span in primary school. They didn’t notice I was lying about having seen the newest TLC music video or that I genuinely hadn’t watched “A Different World” the night before.
It wasn’t about luxury in primary school: It was about the playground. Who swung the highest on the swings. Who could do the best flips on the monkey bars. Catching wasps, grasshoppers and bees and shit.
Playing pockin with rock….…was that just us in Kingsway or were y’all fancy and had tennis balls?
Primary school in Kingsway was like being a child rebel soldier in the stupidest war conceivable.
But then highschool happened.
Chicks grew breasts and shit.
I got taller and fatter.
Life was terrible! It somehow got terribl-er because I noticed something odd happening around me. Niggas had labels on their pants. One would say “Nautica”. Another would say “Dockers”. And, God forbid, you run into a nigga with “Tommy Hilfiger” pants on…..shiiiiiiiiit.
You was amongst royalty.
My mother is the smartest woman I know. There is no one in this world I love and respect more….
…..but sometimes she used her intelligence for evil.
This….this SCORPION woman took me to the Haitian tailor in Fox Hill. I knew something was wrong when, before we got there, she bought an uncomfortable amount of pine green fabric from Quality Fabrics. I was in the car on the way to the tailor like….
We got to the tailor and she started whispering things like, “this have to last him till at least grade 9” , and, “His daddy tall so we’ll just keep taking the hem out as he grows”.
Several of you have already picked up as to where this is going….I hope you choke.
Keep in mind I’m like 12 or whatever age kids are in grade 7. So all my dumb ass focused on was, “his daddy tall”, and I rejoiced in that cause my dream was to be bigger and taller than my dad. This evil Haitian nigga measured me up and then sent me on my way. My dumb ass kept living my broke life in glee cause I was so stupid I thought niggas sewed the Tommy Hilfiger patch ON the pants.
Needless to say my shit ended up looking like this my first day of school…
Oh, and he didn’t sew on a label.
Nah, what he did was hemmed the pants enough so that whenever I grew HE WOULD TAKE THE HEM OUT AND NOW THESE ARE MY PANTS FOREVER.
I was TIGHT.
You know what it is to be in the 3rd most expensive high school on the island and your pants 3 shades of green cause you made the mistake of fucking growing?
To make matters worse, mommy decided that the extra $15 dollars for a shirt with a ready made “KA” on it from Sandy’s was too much of a price hike so she would buy plain white shirts and then sew the “KA” on.
Here’s the issue: SHE COULD BARELY SEW.
So the script on my shirts looked like….
Don’t get me started on my lunches.
My mother would boil 2 eggs, put bread in a plastic bag with 2 boiled hot dogs and a banana. My farts, needless to say, were scorched earth, Book of Revelations violent. I felt bad for people who sat behind me in school.
Meanwhile, Johnny “My parents own stuff” Rich kid on the side of me is eating the good lunchables (with the snickers) or worse…..their parents gave them money for lunch.
If you grew up with money you’re reading this WHOLE article confused. But if you grew up broke like me then right now you’re triggered.
Watch this, remember that first time your parents said, “fuck it” and sent you to school with one lil $5 or $10? I was at the lunch shack DIFFERENT.
But that RARELY happened.
Also, did I mention we would have to walk, my sisters and I, to my grandmothers house from school?
Lol….I don’t think y’all get what I’m saying.
Me, in my tailored multi colored pants, with a shirt that clearly says “PA” because fuck me, walking from Kingsway (Bernard Rd) to MOUNT ROYAL GODDAMN AVENUE where my grandmother lived which was ironically across the road from….
Now, keep in mind, the absolute mountain of privilege I’m speaking from as thousands of children do this every day on this island.
YOUNGER than I was.
I am literally speaking of my feelings as a stupid kid at a time when I was mad my parents didn’t make more money. That was never more evident than when I went to my first sleepover.
Niggas houses was different.
I remember seeing my first filled up fridge.
I was SHOOK ….
Bruh, I would go home and look at my parents suspect. I didn’t say it but I was thinking about it like…
Oh it got worse.
When we finally stopped walking we would get picked up from school by my grandmother’s friend who drove, what had to be, the first Cadillac ever made that always ran hot and she insisted on changing the goddamn water IN Kingsway yard.
This was after she parked, between a Benz and a Ford Expedition, and let the smoke dissipate BEFORE she poured the water in.
And the thing is, private school kids, at the time, looked down on government school kids. It was the running joke. “If you fail math your parents gonna send you to LW Young.”
Here’s the thing, I knew better than to say that shit. I had family in government school and, son: They lived WELL.
While my parents paid almost $1,000 per child (4 of us) a semester, my government school cousins paid nothing. Here’s the plot twist tho: Every summer I had to work because we never took family trips…we couldn’t afford them. So it was work all summer.
My government school cousins?
Bruh niggas was eatin well. Drinkin crazy shit like whole cans of real name brand juice/soda and getting money for lunch. Their parents saved that money and, from what I saw, niggas was comfortable.
Meanwhile, I ask mommy for a Nintendo and she was like…
…which left me behind her back like….
But to every situation there is nuance and hindsight.
My mother never bought us “tingz” but every Saturday we were in Bookworld buying a new Hardy Boy or Nancy Drew book. The minute we ALL graduated she booked us tickets to go to Europe. She INSISTED that her children traveled. There was never a day my parents weren’t there and they sacrificed their own happiness to make sure we were educated….which I’m sure was frustrating considering my grades…
It couldn’t have been easy and we had it way better than most.
I was stupid.
Looking back, my parents did the absolute best job they could have and kept the main thing the main thing. They raised 3 amazing children and me.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that went through this. I’m sure most of us have stories we can tell.
I am forever grateful and remind your kids to be the same.