Monday, February 25, 2013

Behind Bars

Sometimes I tell people that it's amazing I've made it this far in life without ending up in prison.  I was bad, y'all.  I did all kinds of crazy shit when I was younger.  I dropped out of high school, twice nonetheless.  I was in and out, mostly in, of trouble with the law.  Even when I was really young I was constantly in trouble, fighting all the time, just off the damn chain.  By the time I got into about my sophomore year in high school it was on!  My parents, divorced, I was back and forth between the two of them throughout my whole life.  I lived with my mother most of my high school years because the tension between my father and I had finally boiled over.  We had an actual fist fight with both individuals involved.  There was no more him beating on me, I had finally had enough.  He ended up with a broken nose and two black eyes, and although I am not proud of it, it was the last time he ever hit me.  Talk about an angry individual, I was the epitome of THAT.  It was me against the world as far as I was concerned and through the lashing out somewhere deep down inside I knew it was whooping my ass.  I had known for a long time, but I guess even a kid can get to the point where they just kind of give up and let themselves be consumed by their emotions.

My relationship with my mother was a rather backward one.  Ever since I was a young child I felt like I had to take care of her.  Probably since the night, I may have been around 5 years old, that my childhood was officially ripped away from me.  My younger sister sat on the couch crying hysterically as my 5 year old fists whaled on the back of my fathers head as he whaled on the front of my efforts were futile.  Alcohol was always involved.  So, while I didn't know how to get by in life I was trying to make sure my mother got by as well.  She would sometimes lock herself in the house for days, draw every curtain in the house and let the darkness take over her.  I think this is the reason that even today if I'm up and there is light outside, I've got every blind in the house open.  I don't like sitting in the dark, it disturbs memories in me that I don't want roused.  They're sleeping lightly and I'd rather it stay that way.

So, this isn't about my parents, it's about me.  While all of that stuff is still within me, I've gotten over it and let it all go.  That shit was tearing me up.  The time came where I had to face what my life was becoming or I was going to either end up in jail or dead.  As much as I hated life I didn't want to die.  And I had spent enough stints locked up that I knew that wasn't an option.  I would rather have died than end up locked down like that.  Human beings are not meant to be caged up.  A life sentence in prison is about the worst thing you can do to a person.  No matter what you might try your mind just can't get past the bars in front of your face.  My mind needs room to play, I think I knew that even back then.  

I knew I had to make a drastic change because I wasn't going to do it on my own.  I needed to get away from the neighborhood and my parents and start something new.  I joined the Army, and as hard as it was to adjust, and as much as I hated it, it was the best thing I could have done.  It straightened me out in a lot of ways.  I did my time and got out...I got out of it what I needed.  There was no more drinking by the railroad tracks, or selling weed out of the pizza joint I worked at.  Roaming the alleys at 3 in the morning was no longer what I wanted to do.  I wanted a clear head to learn about myself, and about life through my eyes.  The biggest thing I got out of the Army is that I realized I didn't know myself at all.  I didn't know who I was or what I was capable of doing.  Although it took a few years for me to see this, it all originated there.  And it wasn't until I saw and felt it all that I was able to let go of it and move forward.

I don't normally talk about this stuff much.  I haven't had a reason to.  I don't want people feeling sorry for me nor do I want a pat on the back for any of it.  The fact is, this is my life.  I overcame the odds and I think it would be selfish for me to keep it all to myself.  If there is someone out there reading this that wants to give up, don't.  I'm proof that people can change, all we need to do is let it happen.  I spent so much time fighting change until I finally had no choice if I wanted life.  And I do.  If you can find some sense of inspiration in what I'm telling you then it was well worth me letting it all out.  It's my story.  If I don't own it, it owns me.

Today I enjoy the birds and the trees,
the sunshine and the rain.
My kids give me a freedom I never had, 
and they've given me life.
I can gaze into space without looking
over my shoulder.
I've pulled the plug that had my mind
backed up.
And there are no bars keeping me
I'm free to roam.


  1. your story is pretty amazing. thank you for sharing and opening up to us. i find you provokingly incredible.

  2. I agree with Kayla - I am very glad that you shared this. You are an inapiring "heathen" sir :)

  3. A great example of how resilient humans can be and how we have the power to break negative cycles. I believe, and as you've demonstrated in your sharing, as painful as the dark times can be, they help us later in life to truly appreciate the light.