I strategically didn’t take my laptop on this AFJ Healing retreat for formerly incarcerated men at Blue Mountain Center. My phone had no mobile service and Wi-Fi was 99% of the time not working. I had to transcribe my thoughts with my old friends' pen and paper. It was refreshing because that is what we had in prison. I came back to the source of my peace—writing.
I cannot blame anybody for actions I took or did not take. I am a man. I can say that in a space where I had to confront myself. No distraction, no movement of the city, no sounds of chaos. I realized at one point in my life I was a monster. I thought about dispatching death in the same manner as doing a math equation.
Why did I think like that?
It was a choice to water one seed over the other. It was a choice to have the lion mentality over the lamb. It was a choice to be a gangster over a civilian. I aligned with a style of thinking in itself that planted my destruction: death or a long sentence at an early age. I would receive the latter.
At 20 years old receiving 55 years I did not understand how the Universe had shown me mercy. All I thought about was the ‘code’ had been broken and snitches run amok. And when will my revenge be executed?
I had lessons to be learned but the methodology had not been developed yet. Because I had not developed yet. Eventually, I would. Once I saw the blessing in receiving 55 years over the Life and 28 years, I could have received for blowing trial the Universe lesson started to pour in a militant mind. But I wasn’t healing. How could I in a space designed to crush Black men? Where vulnerability was seen as a weakness and humanity a luxury.
After prison, I would meet goals, gather accomplishments, develop professionally but I never healed from scars that came apart of my essence. I just became another version of myself. I still was logical and calculative. I still was the armor and not the heart.
It was a lesson I had to learn that didn’t manifest itself yet. The seed would be planted when I became a father. When I witness the birth of my daughter it busted over a floodgate of emotions for me. The unconditional love I had for her disarmed me and my armor started to melt off. The love I had for her started to emanate and engulf her mother as well. In it planted the seed of vulnerability but I had not realized yet.
In time I would morph into a family man. The timing must have been right to set the stage for the most painful lessons I needed to learn. I often said you don’t grow or learn what you need to when you are winning. It needed a catalyst that would overwhelm me. It came professionally, personally, and economically all at the same time. I was being overstimulated with calamity. It had one overall arching theme—lost. I couldn’t logically think.
I would remember being so frustrated after an interaction with my ex-fiancée, I would go walk in the rain for it to cover my tears. At that moment I became vulnerable. I became human. I no longer was a monster...
Trip was sponsored by Alliance of Families for Justice