Being able to sit down and express certain secrets from my childhood and upbringing is a bit more difficult than I expected.
I’m now 44 years old as I sit in this cell serving a 30-year prison sentence for a first-degree murder charge. Here, I reflect on EVERYTHING. And as much as I could blame my upbringing and my childhood for molding me, I take responsibility. But what society and others unlike myself need to realize and respect is that when a child is raised under certain circumstances, dysfunctional behaviors become normal.
My childhood was filled with fighting, getting suspended from school, skipping school, running away from home, being placed in detention centers and foster homes, and going to special schools. It got so bad for me by the age of five, six, and even seven years old that I spent 90 percent of my childhood in detention centers juvenile facilities.
Now, I know she tried her best with what she knew in the mid-70’s. Her tactics were accepted and tolerated back then. Nowadays, a parent would go to jail for how she disciplined me. I’ve never told anyone this before, even though I have a very special friend in my life who encourages me to express my pain and share my stories. So, I’m sharing my story now, because my friend feels it may shed light on my experiences or help others to understand.
I was a troublesome and mentally-challenging child from the start. Even to this day, I still have issues. But my mother used to beat me so bad and in such a disruptive manner that her actions imbedded violence inside me – my mother used to beat me with leather belts, extension cords, wooden and metal coat hangers, pocketbooks, and anything she could get easily grab.
She beat me for fighting or for getting suspended from school. She used to make me get into the bathtub and, as soon I was wet and soapy, she would bust in with a leather belt and literally beat me as if I wasn’t her child. After years and years of this abuse, it seems as if she took all her frustrations and anger out on me – almost like a release.
I got numb to the point that I expected the whippings. By the age of six or seven, I was so strong that I learned how to grab the belt after the second or third swing and hold it. This forced her to beat me with her hands, which I preferred. After that, she took things to another level. The abuse started getting worse and worse, to the point that I was forced to stay up, sit in a floor for six or seven hours, and write “I WILL NOT SHOW OFF AT SCHOOL”. And, if she snuck down the hallway to see me falling asleep, she would strike me with the belt.
This went on for months and there were times when my mother wouldn’t feed me. She would make me sit in the kitchen to watch my sister eat. She’d tell me, “Since you wanna show your ass in school you won’t eat”. Then she’d tell my sister that if she gave me any food off her plate, “IMA beat your ass too”.
My mother never hugged me or told me that she loved me. I was isolated, beaten, and abused — that’s just the way it was for me. When I was a kid, a white man from across the street used to throw food to me through my bedroom window. I’d share it with my sister. This type of harsh treatment got so bad that I’d run away from home on purpose to get locked up – just so I could get away from my mother.
Finally, someone called child support services. That’s when the police came to check me for bruises, marks, or any signs of abuse. After that, I was removed from my mom’s house and placed in foster care. And from that point forward, I was in the system. I just thought it was the norm — those feelings of being beaten, the tough skin I grew, and the sense of feeling helpless. No one telling me they loved me hardened me when I was an innocent kid.
Once I reached the age where I started hanging out in the street and selling drugs, I formed bonds with my peers and my homeboys. These were the friends I trusted to fight for me. We grew up together, chased girls together, and their dads knew my dad. We went to school together, played football together, hustled together, and went to jail together. We built a sense of unity and trust amongst each other. And to someone like me, those connections were everything to me. I felt like I could do anything when I was in my element, in the street, and around my niggas. There, I channeled all the suffering and beating I took from my mother and applied it in a negative sense.
Over time, it grew inside me and, without being addressed or treated, I grew into a violent and aggressive man. But, at the same time, it was both a gift and a curse, because I vowed to never hit my kids or to talk to them the way my mother talked to me.
I’m a softy when it comes to kids. I tell my son all the time that I love him. I tell my eight-year-old daughter all the time that “daddy loves you and daddy gets sad when I can’t talk to you”. I tell her that all the time. I try to make a conscious effort to constantly tell my two young children that, regardless of my circumstances, I love them. I am silly with them, I cry in front of them, and I tell them I’m sorry. I have no shame and I couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks about me as long as my kjds love me back.
My daddy sold drugs, used drugs, and was in the street, but he was a softy when it came to me. There was nothing my daddy wouldn’t do for me. He used to hug me all the time in front of my boys. My daddy loved me and, as fucked up as it was with the shit I went through and experienced, I never really cared or gave a shit about it back then.
Now that I’m older and I look back to try to identify why my mentality and ways are like they, it was because of the manner in which I was groomed and raised by my mother, and what I had to feel back then. I’m still emotionally scarred from the shit I went through. What parent uses starvation as a punishment tool for their child?!!! That’s cruel and some really fucked up shit.
But I don’t bitch, cry, or wine about it. I’ve never even opened my mouth about it until just now. But people need to realize that drama, trauma, and bad experiences sit inside a person. And certain feelings trigger certain actions. I’m wired one way. I’m built one way, period. No one knows the shit I went through while I was in those group homes, fighting other dudes, and trying to stand on my own. But, at the same time, feeling weird and saying to myself, “Why am I in this foster home?!!!”
Just know that even though I’ve made hella bad decisions, deep down, I’m a well-rounded, good-hearted person, it’s just that I’m very impulsive, very extreme when violence is necessary, and I play for keeps. Point blank, if it boils down to my life or someone else’s, I don’t need to say what the outcome will be, because I’d take seeing my kids in a prison visiting room any day rather than them visiting my tombstone.
So, please don’t judge me because, push comes to shove, 99.99 percent of every human would do the same. God bless prison writers and the good people who try to give prisoners a voice. This way others can better understand the people that scare them and the stereotypes they believe. God bless the creators.
The author wishes to remain anonymous.