“Peeping through my Window pt 4”
I’m a boy.
From 2007, I left my group home and aged out of the system as a state ward, graduating high school, going to college, then to jail, then out to fatherhood, then back to college, to imprisonment, to homelessness, then back to prison where I am now.
When I first graduated high school, I was finally free for the first time in my life! I had a car and the world in front of me! I survived! I was like, kiss my ass statistics! No prison, I’m going to college!
I did something most thought I wouldn’t do (I get it though, I was a troubled child with a plethora of complexes). My dark skin, my height, my living situation, I felt I was a mountain of shame. Everything I did, in retrospect, was a cry for attention; I wanted to win affection, from whomever. I wanted that constant validation, someone to say all the time that they get it, despite everything I’ve gone through, they are proud of how I handle it, how I deal. I don’t really believe everyone needs a pat on the back for everything, but a kid can’t decipher what’s too much and not enough when dealing with emotional fractures. Graduating was bitter sweet, leaving the best home environment and family I’d been a part of and separating from my best friend going out of state to college. I was starting my new journey, only to realize how lost I actually was. I wasn’t used to having no worries and just a clear day left to my own devices. I didn’t know how to handle that kind of peace and sunny disposition. For a while, it was good, but stress was pulsating me. That toxic relationship I had with my first son’s mom was the wreck I never saw coming. I may have secretly craved it though, because I knew I should’ve cut ties. I had many signs and opportunities to escape, but I don’t like breaking hearts. And a not so good reason I’ve always kept that had me over staying in relationships was that many gave up on me and I saw the worst relationships that people stayed in. I’m not a quitter; other people can quit, but I won’t. Anyone can change, they just have to feel wanted.
I had a chance to leave, but she sent me a positive pregnancy test on a picture message. I was going to have my own family. I never had one, never had a father but I was going to be a great one! At least in my own mind. I was going be there every step of the way. But before our son came, I went to jail during my second year of college because of that relationship. Once I got out, we moved in together. Parenting and working as kids was doable but we made it harder than it should’ve been because we both had our own things we hadn’t matured from. I tried to run back to college but only lived the party scene instead of going to class. I began drinking and smoking heavy, going from relationship to relationship, my favorite hiding spot. I was miserable inside and I missed my son. Maybe I hadn’t lost him yet but my distance made that a certainty because I felt dirty and guilty after the fall out between me and his mother.
So I ran, too ashamed. That was my excuse. I haven’t seen my son since he was two, he’s 11 now.
I carried my childhood pain and anguish into my adulthood and it sent me from college right to prison of all places. What an irony. So needless to say, I became that statistic. I remember my aunt saying that getting there is half the battle, but staying there and out is the other. Well I didn’t stay out, I became my worst nightmare and proved people right in the worst ways.
My first prison term was short, but it only made me worse,.I was kind of in an aftershock after my world being flipped upside down. Prison was another monster with different implications I’d never faced. So smartly, I dived deep, hiding in yet another relationship that became deep and toxic at times, but pain means love right? If you fight me then you really love me, that’s kind of a mindset of toxic love. It was the only thing I knew, so naturally it gravitated my way. I don’t think misery loves company so much as misery manifests its own company and then says, “what the hell.” Misery settles in its own supply. Needless to say, the mindset and lifestyle in that kind of love guided me straight back to prison.
I had too much pride and fear to ask for help. This time, the gavel was brought down on me harshly. And I’ve had to find myself, and then recreate myself inside these prison walls. It’s been a tough and long journey, but that journey still hasn’t ended yet.
Another time when I’m not still in prison, I can talk about the specifics of my journey inside these walls. One thing I know now which I didn’t back then is that I still don’t have it all figured out, I hope I never do, because that’s a comfort I’m not willing to embrace. Something can always be done to be better. Plus, I like connecting with those still finding themselves. It’s a more authentic intentional WayOfLife. Connecting with people with similar stories manifests depth, and often I’m told I’m too deep…eh, those people just haven’t been through enough yet.
Becoming a Man.