You’d think growing up where people vacation would be paradise, but it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be. Before I begin, I just want to add a little disclaimer. This isn’t, by any means, meant to be a rant about how terrible Miami is or anything like that; I just simply want to express my opinion about how this city has affected my upbringing and, in turn, who I am today. And based on my experiences, what I, wrongly, believed was common throughout the rest of the country and the world.
A Little About Me
I was born in 1992 in Miami and have been here my whole life. My mother was born and raised in a small town. My father was born in Cuba and came to Miami when he was 3 years old. My parents met at the University of Miami and were married in 1990. I was fortunate enough to live most of my life in Coral Gables, a “nicer” part of Miami. But no matter how nice it was, it couldn’t shield me from the harsh realities of Miami and its people.
Because of several of my experiences growing up, I was under the impression that people aren’t inherently nice. Most people aren’t going to do something to help another person out of the kindness of their heart. Most people are trying to get something out of it. Whether it be in the future or just the recognition of doing something nice, it’s all about “How does doing this benefit me?”. For most of my life, that’s how I thought too. I was selfish and I only thought about myself, but when there are people everywhere looking to take advantage of kindness, you need to have that wall up. Sure, I’ve come across friendly people in my life, I’m not saying Miami is full of rude, terrible people, but most of the people are gossips and will never pass up the opportunity to talk badly about someone behind their backs. Maybe this happens all over the country but it seems incredibly prevalent in Miami.
Now, it’s not just the selfishness. It’s moreover the lack of kindness that runs through the people of this city. How much of a shame it is that up until a year ago, no man had EVER opened a car door for me, or shown me any demonstration of chivalry. Now, maybe chivalry is dead throughout the country, but I know that it’s seriously more lacking in Miami than anywhere else. Miami is all about trying to look as cool as possible and, for many guys, it’s “cool” to disrespect your lady and treat her like garbage.
Things are Different
Up until around the time I started college, I was blind to the flaws of Miami. It wasn’t an overnight switch. I didn’t love this city and then, all of a sudden, loathe it; my eyes were just slowly opened to everything that is wrong with Miami.
On a trip to North Carolina, I instantly jumped to a conclusion that a woman at Starbucks was flirting with my boyfriend (with me standing right next to him), when she was simply making conversation. I wasn’t accustomed to people being friendly and sociable to complete strangers and being so trusting of them.
On the same trip, I noticed that people looked at me differently. I’ve had very low self-esteem all my life because I’ve never been the exotic, thin, model-type that Miami is known for. I’m just average, maybe even below average and in Miami, that’s never good enough. But everywhere else it’s accepted and beautiful. Being that Miami is basically just one large beach, looking good in a bikini is a necessity and if you don’t, stay away from the beach. What’s wrong with someone not looking the best in a bikini but still going to the beach and enjoying themselves? Well, in that case, they look like a crazy person and it really sucks.
But I Digress
Lately I’ve noticed how much this city has affected me. How I instantly see the bad in people and judge them, how untrustworthy I am of other people no matter what they do or say to try to prove me wrong. Maybe this city has jaded me for all the wrong reasons but little by little I’m going to break out of it and I won’t be a victim of the Miami lifestyle and norms anymore.
I’m not saying this city hasn’t been good for me, it has, it’s taught me exactly who I don’t want to be and everyday I get a little bit farther away from the Miami-me and closer to the me I aspire to be.