What I’m about to tell you is not a story, but rather a reality of my life. The reality is that I was seventeen years old, tried as an adult, and fighting for my life, praying to God that I wouldn’t have to spend the rest of my life in prison for murder.
I grew up on the streets of Los Angeles, CA. I was raised in a household with just my mom and four brothers. My dad wasn’t around because when I was just three years old, while he was locked up in his cell, his cellie decided to murder my dad.
Growing up without my father always left this emptiness in my heart. My mom always worked hard to provide a roof over my head, but there was one thing that I felt she didn’t provide: unconditional love. It was the emotional support that I desperately needed. I would always do things to get her attention; usually to get her attention was to act up, and ultimately getting jumped into my gang. That sure got her attention.
As my bad behavior continued, I would always find myself back in Eastlake Juvenile Hall, sitting in a cell all alone with nobody around, asking myself: Why? Why me? What did I do to get myself in here?
Central became a revolving door for me. At sixteen, I was eventually sentenced to a year in a lock-down juvenile camp. I always vowed to myself that I would never get locked up again, but I found myself saying this every time I got locked up.
When I finally got released at seventeen, my mom welcomed me home as usual, but emotional support still wasn’t there, and I felt that my life didn’t have any value. I eventually made a decision with my life: if I was going to be a gangster, I was going to be a gangster all the way, even if that meant losing my life doing it.
That decision didn’t last long because a few months later, I was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Now I was back in the juvenile hall but segregated from the general population due to the severity of my crime and my being considered an adult despite me being a teenager. All alone in the cell, again asking myself: Why? Why me? I wish I could go back but I can’t. It’s too late…
I was eventually sentenced to twenty-one years in state prison. If you were to ask me now if I could go back and change my life I would. But I can’t go back. That’s the reality of my life.
Before I close this out I want to leave you with a few words: Your life does have value, and it is never too late to change.
Image source: AndreasJd on deviantART