JH Artwork

JH Artwork

Writing Exchange 2006-2017

This blog was created to display some of the powerful writing being done by incarcerated youth. Participants currently include juvenile hall facilities in Siskiyou, El Dorado, Placer, Fresno, and Butte County. Students are given journal topics and asked to write what needs to be written. Several entries are handpicked from each classroom site and posted to the blog anonymously. Students at each site then read the material together, discussing the writing and connecting with others.

Planned Exchanges 2017: December 15

Planned Exchanges 2018: January 19, February 16, March 16, April 20

Friday, November 17, 2017

Entry #1516
How My Life Changed
My mom, brother, and I were one big happy family. We had days where we would argue, but we celebrated holidays and whatnot. Mom started changing. My parents were never together when I was born. I was back and forth from house to house all the time and custody from one to another. Once I hit sixth grade my mom got caught up for a bunch of charges. I don't even know what they were but they were serious enough to go to prison for 9 to L. She's still in prison at this moment. All because the monster took over. She was doing opium, meth and other drugs that **** up your life. One day she showed up to my grandma’s house and I felt so miserable seeing my mom so out of it. I talked to her and she wanted to go to the casino, so I drove her there. Four hours later she got booked to Butte County Jail. I knew I should have never taken her anywhere acting like that. I regret taking her to the casino to this day.
Then my brother started messing up doing stupid ****, hanging with the wrong crowd. We would always get in fist fights over little things, like not smoking with him or even changing the channels on the T.V. He was always on meth. That's when I realized we're all **** ups. When he would come home is when he would be coming down bad. One day he was out with his boys and I called him and asked if I could come pick him up so we could go smoke and go out to eat, just some brother time, and chill. He said "No. Tomorrow pick me up at 7:30." At 3 am I heard he got locked up for a drive by, caught with a 45 and meth.
            Once he was gone I didn't care about listening to my elders, family or even friends. I was smoking dope and even tried heroin... the worst thing I've done in life. I was influenced by gang members, hanging with them daily. Then I got ahold of a pistol and it was the cleanest thing I've seen that I had. I felt like I was the man. Having weight on my waist was the best feeling. A month later I was at a party and was coming down and got stripped when I was asleep. It was all bad. I never wanted that to happen so I was always on my toes after that, at all times. I started selling and came up on another strap 2 weeks later. I got sent home from school for wearing colors. Then I got caught up with an attempted murder charge. Now I'm looking at some hard time. I sit in my cell feeling remorse for everything I did in life.

Entry #1517
Center of my Good and Bad Days
I need to forgive myself for many things. But my main struggle with myself is the relationship I had and the way it ended. I need to forgive myself for letting go. I've known him for 8 years, we've been close for 3 years, best friends for 2 years and 5 months, and together as a couple for 1 year and 3 months. I saw him almost every day since we were best friends. After we got together life was amazing, but then our drinking got out of hand. Drinking more whiskey than water, our laughter turned to tears. I'd find text messages and dating websites over and over, so I finally did him dirty and cheated, just as he'd been doing me. It was after that he hit me, about halfway through our relationship. He'd use the fact I cheated to keep me from leaving when I'd find more messages. When I got more serious about leaving he upgraded the threat to hurting himself and saying he was going to kill himself. I forgave him in fear of losing him. This became routine. From months in between to days till our fights became brutal. But we had our good days. Those days being the best in my life. We knew this so we tried to cut out the booze. But the bottle always found its way back into our lives. Car accidents, broken bones, and stitches. I almost lost my life once or twice. I've been held on the ground in the mud by my throat till I blacked out. But I loved him. I knew he was the center of my good and bad days. He was my whole life. One day I called his bluff, and I left. I had enough. I did leave, and he did take his life. I lost my everything. He was the only thing I knew. I was blamed, and I blamed myself. But I need to forgive myself, because honestly if I wouldn't have left, we'd both probably be gone. But that slight chance that my decision could have saved his life over mine kills me inside. I need to forgive myself.

Entry #1518
What I Didn’t Know
If you really knew me, you would know I have issues. Not just any regular "everyone has issues" but (as cliché as it sounds) mommy issues. I wanted to hurt my mom.
I wanted her to know how I felt inside. I need to forgive myself for purposely saying hurtful things, purposely doing things that would hurt me, to hurt her.  If you really knew me you'd know I'm not a bad person, but I had bad intentions. You'd know my short life story and all the troubles my family went through, but you'd also know I didn't care, at the time anyway. I need to forgive myself for not knowing how to be a daughter. You'd know I missed out on my childhood by trying to grow up too fast. If you really knew me you'd know I had no reason to do so at all. I have to forgive myself for the pain and hardships I not only put myself but my family through. Self-inflicted confusions, sabotaging my family's growth to actually becoming a family. You'd know that I'm not stupid, but everything, all obstacles and restrictions in my life were put there by my own doings. Who wants to hurt their mother? Someone with issues. If you really knew me you'd know that I really didn't know that I wanted to or tried to...I didn't want to want. But what you'd really know is that I'm truly sorry and truly didn't understand what I was doing.

Entry #1519
A Struggle To Be Free
There was a man I thought I once loved. He said he'd take care of me and all of my problems. He introduced me to the Devil’s pipe and I didn't stop twisting. I so loved it!  It took the pain I held and it bottled it up. But then one day he asked me "If you loved me you'd do what I ask?"  "Yes baby, of course I'll do as you say." "Have sex with other men and I swear we can be rich." "What? No! I love you, what do you mean!" And he reeled me in. That was it for my purest of years. "I'm 17 please don't do this to me please!" But the bruises on my skin and the welts on my head say just do what he asks and you will eventually live the dream "we" work for. He injected me with heroin. As I pushed away, he angrily stabbed it into my arm hitting my bone. I was in so much pain. "Okay, I'll stop. Just do it, please, I won't resist. I'm sorry baby." Second by second I lost control. I didn't know what happened except seeing the blood from the scene. This went on for months and months till the FBI realized something was wrong and got involved. They raided the hotel and I was finally free, but till this day I struggle to really be free.

Entry #1520
Nice To Meet You
One day I was out in the road and thought, "Man I love my freedom" and was I right.  I had been doing well for many months and had been on the right track and for some reason I guess I didn't like my freedom much anymore.  So I went and violated my probation and ended back in the hall.  When I went back to the hall I remembered why I hated it so much.  I didn't have a comfortable bed, I didn't have my mom to talk to and worst of all I had to deal with people who were rude and mean and don't care about me or anyone else.  I feel sad, I feel depressed, I feel like I should just crawl into a hole and die because I'm possibly facing 18 months.  I don't know what to do anymore. I'm just trying to cope and be a good person to everyone and I feel like I'm being beaten with a damn curtain rod for my efforts, but I keep getting up and following my morals and being a kind and caring human being.  I know that if I get out I will do good and be a good person, no matter what people think of me. I know that the longer I am in the hall the longer I have to show I have changed...show them all that I am not the person they say I am... I am change.

Entry #1521
Nowhere To Go
If you really knew you'd know that I was scum from the start. Everyone bullied me. The few friends I had were either family, or ****** in the head. If you really knew me you'd know that my parents fought constantly, and I thought it would be a relief when they divorced, but it only sent my life into a downward spiral. My mom didn't have a reason to hide the drugs anymore. If you really knew me, you'd know that by the time I was 12, I was chugging vodka like a Russian. You'd know my mom made me lie in the custody battle. You'd know that the first time I tried to move to my dad's house, my mom pointed a shotgun to my chest. You'd know that on my thirteenth birthday, my cousin had to save me from jumping out of my grandmother's attic window. You'd know that I was closer than family with the few friends I had. You'd know that last year, I tried to kill myself with Xanax and whiskey because the person I called my sister said she hated me. You would know that in August, I tried to drink myself to death, and almost succeeded. You'd know that I spent more sleepless nights alone at my dad’s house than I can remember because I got myself hooked on Adderall. You'd know that the only reason I'm alive now, is because of the people I met on the bike trail. You'd know that over the summer, it was the one I'm proud to now call "brother" who saved my life when I had nowhere to go. You'd know that it was my friends who helped me get clean, and now with them gone, I don't have much to live for.

Entry #1522
I need to forgive myself for ever using drugs. When I was younger, my parents were always telling me not to use.  They would tell me that drugs are bad for you and will change you and lead me to worse things.  They always told me stay in school and focus on my goals. After every lecture I would tell them I would never use drugs or anything stupid to mess up my future. As I got older I met people who would do drugs and go to parties. I got drawn into all of it and before I knew it, I was doing all the things I told my parents I would never do. I realized that everything they told me about drugs was true. I became addicted and changed from who I was. Drugs caused me to make some bad decisions and because of those decisions I'm now in juvenile hall. When my parents came to see me they were very upset with me and said they warned me about drugs and what would happen if I used them. I told them I was sorry and I would stop using when I got out, and I meant it. My parents forgave me, but now I have to forgive myself. I would always beat myself up for putting myself in this place, but I realize that there is still a chance for me to do the right thing and have a good and better life. Now that I know what drugs will do to my life, I know better. It is time to move on and do great things with my life.

Entry #1523
Dark Daze
When I was 12 I started using meth and it was a new and exciting life at first. Meth was my new thing... it made me feel older and it was fun. It made me feel like nothing could stop me and I was limitless, so I started opening up to people I didn't know and they took advantage of me, taking everything materialistic I had as well as my sanity. My loved ones no longer trusted me because I was stealing from the town and they were looked down on because of it. I was building up anger over time from all the stress. One day I took a ride with my boy. I had just left my girlfriend’s house after fighting with her all night and I was on a hype. Some guy I didn’t know was walking down the street. My boy told me he threw a gang sign up and from earlier that day I was already mad and was feeling like I was going to blow up at any minute. I told my boy to stop the car. I grabbed a hammer out of the back seat and hit him several times and took all of his belongings. He was all bloody and hurt bad and because of the meth, I didn't think anything of it at the time. He didn’t deserve what happened and that was wrong of me. I feel bad about it to this day. I wish I could find him and apologize for my actions.

Entry #1524
Getting In Trouble          
If you really know me you would know I speak Spanish and that I like to ride scooters and bikes. You would know I used to drink every here and there but now it’s an issue. If you really knew me you would know I get in a lot of trouble and that I go to Lead because I got expelled from like 6 or 7 schools. You would know that I'm 12 years old and in juvenile hall because I made bad decisions and was at the wrong place doing the wrong things. If you really knew me you would know that I go to my sister’s a lot and that she smokes. You’d know that I used to smoke weed and drink and run away from my house.  I’d go do drugs and steal from stores to go party.  If you really knew me you would know I would go to school and then just leave because I was really pissed.       

Entry #1525
My Name Is Dad
If you really knew me you would know that I am a great person with a kind heart. You would know I started hanging around the wrong people around the age 10. You would know I got locked up at the age of 13! You would know that I've been coming here because of a drug that calls my name every time I'm out. You would know that almost everyone in my family is an addict.
            If you really knew me, you would know that I'm trying to stay clean and trying to do my best. You would know that I have a 7-month old daughter. You would know that I've been clean off meth since my daughter was born. You would know everything I do is for my little girl even though I'm yet to meet her.
  If you really knew me you would know that I'm going to be a great dad as soon as I complete my drug rehab!

Entry #1526
I Miss Him
My grandpa died one week before I came in here. He and I were close, like I was his own son.  I miss him I wish he was still alive. I want to see him right now and so does my dad. I just want my grandpa back. My life is empty without him. Smoking drugs to ease the pain. Without him I'm still sitting in juvenile hall being homeless.  My grandpa would want me graduate and do good in my life. But the pain I have from him dying will not go away at all. I wish he never died, but I guess it was his time to go to the next life. I want to do things right by him...to change and to finish high school and go to college.

Entry #1527
Haunting Regret
I was only 15 when I started using drugs and it put me with a bad crowd. I would go and fight random people. I would get arrested for being drunk and intoxicated on private property, waking up on the streets without a shirt on. Two hours later I'm getting up by my dad then getting taken to the probation office after court to get put on ankle. Then after that I did something way more stupid and here I am in juvie. It haunts me. But worst of all, I put my family through a lot. I was a liquor addict and I would do anything to get me a bottle even if it meant hurting my family or stealing from them. I would do it, even if it meant robbing a store for liquor. I regret doing what I did and it still haunts me everyday of my life while I'm incarcerated. The liquor made me feel good and made feel invincible, like I could do anything, be anything. Then I just lost everything. I started doing dumb things and hanging around the wrong crowd. I didn't think I would do or hurt my loved ones. I didn't mean to hurt anyone.

Entry #1528
If you knew me, you would know that I am very poor.
You would know that I am 17.
You would know that I am funny.
If you knew me, you would know that I love food.
You would know that I'm in juvenile hall
If you knew me, you would know that I'm homesick.
If you really knew me, you would know that I need to forgive myself for the bad things that I have done.
You would know that I need to forgive myself for treating my ex's bad.
You would know that I need to forgive myself for not always being there for my family and also choosing drugs over them.

Entry #1529
If you really knew me you would know I left my home, I ran away not knowing later in life I would write about it.
If you really knew me you would know I am lifeless, unseen in the shadows for eternity and beyond. But now that I am here in the hint of darkness. I will stay profound until I am found, I howl my days away just like a hound, oh my, oh my, I am the outcast of this town.
Oh but only if you really knew me you would cry, cry, cry, until the shadows in the depths once again touch the sky. I am the outcast but I don’t know why.

Entry #1530
The Game
I know I could never change what's already done, but I wish it all had never begun. Screaming, beating, threats... Nobody hears, I wonder if anybody will ever come near. The blame and shame take over my brain. All the things I never overcame. Always hiding the pain, I could never get anything straight. I turned to the most regrettable things, putting more shame on my name. I wish it all never began. The pressure of Lucifer's hands wrapped around my heart, imbedded most of my scars. Hate became my playmate, running around causing unwelcome change. I hate to think of it as a game but that's what it became.

Entry #1531
Reminiscing Regret
If you really knew me you'd know I first got arrested at the age of 14.
If you really knew me you'd know that every night before I go to sleep I reminisce about all the pain I caused my family and wish I could change all the bad things I've done.
You'd know that I'll never go back to my old ways.
You would know all I want to do is make my family proud of me.
If you really knew me you would know that I absolutely hate being locked up.
You would know I want to change and become a better man who everyone will appreciate.
You would know that my family means everything to me.
If you really knew me you'd know that even though people look at me like I'm a bad person all I really want to do is help others out.
If you knew me I love to drive.
You'd know that love to go for late night walks to get things off my mind?
If you really knew me you would know I want to finish school and get into college and play football and see if I can make it to NFL.
You would know I want to be able to come home and give my grandma however much money she wants.

Entry #1532
Greater Things
If you really knew me, you would know that my childhood ended early.
You would know that I grew up without a father.
You would know that I chose my path of life because of it.
If you really knew me, you would know that I was on the streets at 15.
You would know that I dropped out of high school in the 9th grade.
You would know that I wore a disguise because I didn't want to get hurt.
You would know that it made everything worse.
If you really knew me, you would know that I started to commit crimes.
You would know that I am in and out of Juvie.
You would know that I am currently incarcerated.
You would know that I want to change.
You would know that I am going to change.
You would know that I have the potential to be successful.
If you really knew me you would know that I want to be a marine biologist.
You would know that I am a good person.
You would know that I can achieve greater things.

If you really knew me you would know.