For most of my life I lived in sunny Miami, Florida. It was pretty cool, I loved my city. Naturally, everyone assumed that I was from there. However, the reality is that I was born in Fort Worth, Texas. I had almost no memory of my time there since my parents moved our family when I was about 3 or 4 years old. In my mind, I had no other hometown other than Miami.
When my peers would assume that I was born in Miami, I would correct them and tell them the truth. None of them had ever heard of Fort Worth. They had, however, heard of Texas and automatically assumed I was from the Wild Wild West. SMH. It would irk me to no end. They’d ask: do you ride horses to get to places? Are there any actual roads? Did you live in a farm? Were you born in a farm??? How many cowboys do you know? And my favorite (sike!); did you have to milk a lot of cows?!
I almost hated admitting that I wasn’t from Miami because I knew that the questions would follow. I admit that since I didn’t really remember my time in Fort Worth as a small child, I couldn’t definitely say that all of those questions were without merit. Then, summer of 1998 happened. My parents wanted to take us on a road trip to Fort Worth. I was excited to see what I would encounter and also to debunk any of the questions I used to get.
After several hours on the road, around 18-20hrs actually, we finally made it to Fort Worth. I immediately didn’t like it lol. Maybe because it was so different from my sunny skies and palm tree-lined streets. I just felt out of place. My parents took us to the most popular tourist spot; the Stockyards.
I couldn’t stop shaking my head. After years of denying that this was the wild Wild West, here we were, in old western times! I saw cattle, longhorns, brick roads, saloons and freaking cowboys! The irony lol.
My dad explained that this was Fort Worth’s way of preserving its history. The rest of the city wasn’t like the old west at all! In fact, it was quite boring in how typical of a city it was. There were regular roads, regular homes and a downtown area with skyscrapers. While there were also farms, cattle and cowboys, it all seemed to fit in with the typical aspects of the city.
Now, at 31 years of age, I’ve been living in Fort Worth for about 4 years and have seen how much growth there’s been since that first visit I recalled. Fort Worth is the 5th most populous city in Texas and is home to international museums like the Kimbell Art Museum. The city has a booming bar/restaurant scene called the West 7th area, which is just blocks away from the museum district and minutes away from Downtown Fort Worth.
As Fort Worth continues to grow, I look back at my first impressions of this city, laugh at myself and I get excited to see what else pops up in this progressive town.