- Posted January 3, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
80's Baby True Story
Growing up I experienced unthinkable forms of abuse as well as my siblings. Being separated from my three youngest siblings along with my mother for a number of years did little for my confidence and sense of security. My mother was a drug addict and my father was declared an habitual offender and received Life with the possibility of parole. He has been in prison now for over twenty years and I am only 34 years old. That gives the reader a good idea of how much I actually know my father.
Ironically enough the phrase "sins of my father", may apply here because I spent more time together with my father "inside" of the prison with him as a fellow inmate as an adult than I did as a child.
Yes, conscious decisions that I made when I was just a teenager cost me my freedom for six years. I had a distorted belief system so my decision making reflected my view on life and that view was destructive at best. My definition of respect was unlike that of any reasonable minded teenager and I felt like violence was the answer to nearly everything in life.
At age 14 without seeing my three youngest siblings and my mother for over six years we were all reunited as promised by mother. My mother had five kids in total and me and my older sister were able to stay with each other because our aunt agreed to take us in. My three youngest siblings were not as lucky and they had to remain separated from us by an entire State, while we looked in their young minds as the "chosen ones". But what they were not aware of is that we were living in no better conditions and we didn't have our mother either.
At age 14 my mother regained custody of me and my older sister first. My three youngest would soon follow and we would be all whole again as always promised by my mother. My mother in her words "turned her life over to the lord" and she lived as if she were the closest thing to an angel on earth. Still all this was done without the bare necessities needed to survive. When we all were reunited it was more of the same, the difference being my mother was surely off of drugs but was struggling to take care of the five kids she so lobbied to get back. Before long we were homeless and back bouncing around from relative to shelter. The food closet was apart of our young lives and we were embarrassed of that fact. On the final chapter of my mothers life with us we were living in a room of a deacon friend from a church my mother attended on occasion. At this point we had been back together for nearly two years and my older sister had a child at the age of fifteen but conceived at fourteen. At night when it was time to lie down it or when this "deacon" of the church had company we would all be cramped in this little room. The room was no bigger than an entry level employees cubicle and had a bed that sat up really high as if it were several mattresses stacked on top of each other. You could be mislead to believe that her friend was doing an act of kindness. We were not allowed out of that room until his company left. The only light the room had was from the light of day or the moonlight. There we would be all five considerably big kids and at times my niece when she would not be at her fathers house, would have to stay in that room. Nobody knew we were living like that, everyone thought he was our grandfather. Feeling embarrassed, we would have never told anyone how we truly were living so we would go along.
My mother got sick one day and it just was a stubborn cold that wouldn't go away. After a few days of the same we called the ambulance. She was taken to the hospital and released. She still did not feel any better so my aunt said that it would be a good idea if we came to stay with her until my mom felt better. Well after days and still she was not getting better my aunt called the ambulance. I would go and visit my mom everyday that she was in the hospital.
The last time I saw my mother alive was a dramatic event. I walked into the room and her mother my grandmother was in the room with her. When she noticed that it was me entering the room, my mother jumped up and immediately grabbed for my arms as if she were inspecting them for track marks. Now this behavior from her was beyond odd because me on hardcore drugs at this point in my life was just ridiculous and she knew that. So why was she grabbing my arm and frantically telling my grandmother that she had to save me because I was in danger, I was shooting up. I was shocked! I had never seen my mother act like this. The nurse rushed in and told me I had to leave because I was causing her to act like that. Reluctantly, I left without getting any explanation as to what was going on with mommy... That was the last time I saw my mother alive. That night my aunt came to wake me and my brother and took us to the bathroom. Still wiping the coal out of our eyes and trying to adjust to the light, we heard her say what sounded like "she's gone". We both gave her that but I don't understand look, so she repeated herself, but this time she was a little more clear. We both just sat on the bathroom floor and cried. The realization that this was it, that is the only time that I was going to get with my mom in my life. Out of a total of 15 years on the earth I had spent a total of about eight years with my mother and all of those were tumultuous. How was this fair? I was numb and I don't think I have yet to get any sensation in those emotions.
Life had been extremely unpleasant till this point and I don't blame losing my mother or losing my father to the system on any decisions that I have made.
I took to the streets! At the age of 15 I was on the street corners toting guns, selling drugs and hanging around a much older crowd. Eventually that reckless living got me into a situation where I felt my life was in danger so I shot an individual as they were trying to shoot me. I was charged for shooting two individuals and was made to take a plea for 6 years. I had a girlfriend who was pregnant and I was sixteen being sentenced to 10 years in prison. I took a plea deal to six and my inexperience as an offender led me to believe if I just wrote a letter to the judge and explained that I was just defending myself and explained the situation, he would understand and be lenient. It had the opposite effect! He increased my sentence as he read my letter out loud to the entire court, in a way mocking me.
I did six years of that ten years and was released for my good behavior. I earned my GED and Highschool Diploma while inside. At 22 I was released and I had made some accomplishments in my life. I realized a talent of speaking and got into Toastmasters. For my speaking style I was asked to do a speech I performed about my mother by the Warden to the news who would be doing a piece on juveniles in adult prisons in Delaware. I was one of the first twenty to be integrated.
Fast forward eight years I have done a total of 12 years of my life incarcerated. I was violated on probation and was made to do another six years in prison.
Now I am about to publish a book on my life. I have earned my Bachelors Degree in Human Services and taking a Masters Degree in Organizational Management. I was elected 2012 Who's Who Among Students in America's Universities and Colleges.
The name of my book is: 80's Baby True Story and I dedicated the book to my mother and father by putting the only picture that I have of them on the front cover of my book. My father is in the infirmary and not doing well in prison so I recently sent him a copy of the cover to lift his spirits. I live by a quote that I made up "Upbringing Shapes who you are, but lessons learned Mold who you become"... Look out for it 80's Baby True Story