The Hidden Side of Southie By Charlie P.

Growing up in Southie has been a little bit corny - if I’m being honest. Whenever I tell anyone from the Boston area that I live in Southie, they usually say “Ohh, that’s that “white”, quiet neighborhood, right?”

Well... Yes and No.

South Boston (everyone here calls it “Southie”), is actually a mix of races, cultures, incomes and life experiences these days. But it seems like a lot of people don’t know that. I live in one of the deep scarier parts of Southie: D street.

In my opinion, D street is the most crazy street in Southie. The bottom floor of my apartment is the “trap house”, (if you don’t know what that is, take a trip to, Sis). The front of my apartment is where the neighborhood shootouts usually take place, and the front hallway of my apartment, is where everyone smokes. I’ve been exposed to all kinds of things while living here, but what’s crazy is I can literally walk 2 minutes up the street, and the whole vibe is the COMPLETE opposite of where I live. Areas in Southie like Dorchester Heights for example, or the area around Broadway Station would fool you into believing that certain things don’t happen in Southie or that people like me don’t live here, too.

Those are the more “white” areas.

I remember one time in the summer, I was in the car with my older sister and my baby nephew. My sister was just about to park when suddenly we heard gunshots ringing out from behind us. I still remember how fast I ducked my head down. It happened so fast that I banged my head on the seat in front of me. I also remember reaching out for my nephew to try to calm and protect him - and most of all, I remember us just sitting there...confused and scared. Moments later, after the atmosphere fell into silence, my sister stepped out of the car to see bullet shell casings on the ground just a few short steps away from us. The parking lot was empty, and all I could do was look around in complete confusion. Who were they shooting at? Who was even shooting??

Random moments like this happen all the time and that’s why Mami isn’t so down with letting me go outside very much; doesn’t matter where I’m going.

Mami’s fear even affected her feelings about me walking around in the “whiter/safer” parts of Southie past 9 pm. Even though I understand why she feels that way, the situations that cause her fear have also caused me to be very limited while growing up here. It’s been so bad at times that I couldn’t even look out my window in fear that someone outside would catch me looking and cause a commotion. The people here take everything so seriously, that even if they caught you looking out your window, they suddenly thought you wanted beef with them. If you get caught, they start yelling at you and asking why you were looking out the window at them. It’s just crazy! I’m also not allowed to take the trains and buses as often because I would always bump into people who lived around my area and depending on the situation that could be dangerous too. These are the realities for me in my neighborhood. This isn’t something I like to talk about with my friends, but it’s what I go through. My friends would ask me why I didn’t know how to take the train or the bus that well and I would tell them it’s because I was always driven around by my dad when I needed to go somewhere. Not because I was spoiled, but for my safety. My friends would always ask me why I always had to go home early or why couldn’t I sleep over. The real answer to that is my mother doesn’t trust the streets, and me being outside was risking my life. She always made sure I always stayed home as much as possible. Overall though, even with all this drama, I would say I still lived a great childhood experience. I was exposed to gruesome events, but it never affected my happiness. I was always given what I needed and I continuously stayed humble. So no matter what happens in my neighborhood around me, I will always be that bubbly, crazy, fun loving person who believes that there is always something better waiting for me on the other side of it all.

I do hope that one day I can get out of this area. It’s not good to stay in an environment like mine forever. And even though I don’t like how Southie is so easily categorized as a “white neighborhood”, I guess it’s because people from the outside looking in don’t see what I see. They aren’t living what I live, and that’s okay. I’ll get out of here soon, but for now, I gotta continue avoiding danger and focus on my goals.

Sometimes people can’t see the more hidden scarier parts of what seems like a perfect situation. They can’t see who’s being affected and who’s really involved. Speaking about a situation that you have no experience of can definitely be a sign of true ignorance. Be careful.

And for the record, for those who might think so, Southie is not just that “white” neighborhood.

Tekeisha Meade