Living in Two “Different Worlds”

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Courtesy of Essay Vikings

“So where’re you from?” This is the very question that can turn my conversations awkward. Here is usually the point where I say, “I’m from Trenton,” and I wait for the classic head nod and sympathetic “Oh…”  So yeah, my name is Cierra Moore and I’m from Trenton, NJ.  If you haven’t heard of Trenton, or it’s reputation, it’s the capital of New Jersey, but somehow seems to still be the butt of many jokes.  That might be because of the high crime rate, or the low percentage of high school graduates.  But don’t get the wrong impression of Trenton.  Though it may have a bad reputation, and it may frustrate me to pieces sometimes, it’s still beautiful to me and it’s been my home for my entire life.  So why is it awkward to bring up in conversation? Well, most of the time I’m in Princeton, because I go to Princeton Day School, my extracurricular activities are in Princeton, and most of my friends live there. And Princeton is the exact opposite of Trenton.  So in a way, it’s like I’m living in two completely different worlds, and whenever the two merge it’s not such a perfect fit.  But what I hate is how each one demands to entirely claim me, like I’m either of Trenton or of Princeton.  Why can’t it be both, and why can’t some people understand that it’s both?  None of us are truly “of” one thing, you know?  So why is it that if I’m talking to someone and I first tell them that I’m from Trenton, then tell them I go to Princeton Day, they’re so surprised? They get that kind of intense surprise, that also has a hint of “How?” in it.  But if I do vice versa and say that I go to Princeton Day first and then say where I’m from, I get a different response, a more “understanding” response, like I got in to the school through some program.  The most worst response I’ve gotten was from my dentist. I first said that I went to Princeton Day, and when I said that I was from Trenton, she gave me a confused look and said, “Did you get in through the diversity program?”. The fact that a grown woman, with kids of her own, uttered something so stereotypical scares me so much, because if that came from an adult then what are we kids and teens being taught?  Have stereotypes so permeated our lives that a girl from Trenton, or another place that may be “looked down upon”, can’t get into a prestigious private school like Princeton Day of her own accord? That’s why I wanted to be involved in this project, to cut down stereotypes so that teens like me, who are apart of different worlds, don’t have to be labeled by one or the other.

-Cierra Moore