“Gold authenticity can only be tested under maximum fire. The same holds true with regard to manhood.”
Gold was the goal. Since I was a child I’ve been in love with gold, I would see the chains and the rings on the hip hop artists that I listened to and I longed to have my own. Gold was that unattainable thing that was just out of reach that I could chase.
While silver represents the moon and feminine energy, gold is representative of masculinity and the sun. The sun was something that’s always given me life and made me feel alive, and masculinity was something in early life that I felt like I had to compensate for. I wasn’t nearly as naturally aggressive, and big as my friends were. The idea of adorning myself in gold could give me the illusory feeling of importance and manhood.
I wasn’t poor, but I didn’t have the things that most of my peers had and so I had to find ways to hustle and finagle to get the things that I wanted. I couldn’t save up paychecks as a young man because I spent all that money on alcohol, and I couldn’t keep a job, so I sold drugs instead. Drug money bought me clothes and gold, and not much else. I wore gold chains, bracelets, rings on every finger, earrings, nose rings, and gold teeth.
Always focused on dressing up the outside of myself and never working on growing internally or embracing who I really was is what eventually led me into addiction. I was a product of my own insecurities, and it made me dangerous to not only those around me, but myself as well.
In street culture, it was always my understanding that as young black men in America, even with money they weren’t taken seriously because they were presumed to be poor. A big chunky gold chain was a way to announce that you had money, and were to be taken seriously. It defined success, and the ability to beat the odds, and was a symbol of pride. Gold chains have been a staple in the urban community for decades and represent not only material wealth but also a conquest over the struggle.
As much as I’ve grown away from the concept of materialism, my gold chain will always hold a place in my heart. It is a representation of finally overcoming not only the odds that I was up against, but overcoming the demons inside of myself as well. I don’t need it to compensate for masculinity or financial and emotional shortcomings anymore, Instead it has become much more than that.
I don’t wear my gold often, because of the stereotypes that society would put upon me if I did. However when I do, I wear it with pride. To me it means I finally attained the unattainable, and I’ve come closer to catching the sun that I’ve been chasing. It is a reminder that I am always wealthy no matter what I have in the bank, and it is a reminder that I’m no longer that insecure little boy who overcompensated for his inner struggle.
Today, it is a reminder of who I am and where I came from, and that I am the real deal.