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Writing Exchange 2006-2018

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

Planned Exchanges 2018: May 24; June 27; July 25; More To Come!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Writing Exchange #2 SUMMER 2011

• Butte County Juvenile Hall
• Fresno Juvenile Hall
• LEAP--Cape Town, South Africa


Entry #19
If you really knew me you would know that I’ve had an anger problem since I was 5 years old.
If you really knew me you would know that I take all the blame for the pain I’ve caused my family.
If you really knew me you would know I’m very protective over my baby sister.
If you really knew me you would know that violence makes me happy.
If you really knew me you would know that I’m addicted to drugs.
If you really knew me you would know that I used to be suicidal.
If you really knew me you would know that I’ve never had a dad in my life. It’s only been me, my mom, and my siblings.
If you really knew me you would know that I can’t stop coming in and out of Juvenile Hall.
If you really knew me you would know that the Hall has been my 2nd home since I was young.
If you really knew me you would know that skateboarding is my life and that it keeps me sane.
If you really knew me you would know that I’m scared of losing my life.
If you really knew me you would know that I’m a senior in high school.
If you really knew me you would know that I’m ashamed of myself for being a loser.
If you really knew me you would know that I feel stupid about the choices I make.
If you really knew me you would know more from where that came from.

Journal #20
My addiction is Crystal Methamphetamine. I started experimenting with it at age eleven and didn’t get addicted until I was twelve. I had a rough childhood. My mom didn’t really work besides exotic dancing here and there. My father was always in and out of my life and in and out of prison. My step-father was a hard construction worker that let gang banging’ get the best of him. Also he and my mom had a very verbal and physically abusive relationship. My parents struggled with bills a lot. For example, we didn’t have electricity for almost a whole year and no water for about six months. I used to take care of my siblings when I was nine. My siblings and I got taken away from my mother and step-father in the middle of 2009. I have been in group homes since. All this led up to my drug use. The first drug I did was marijuana when I was nine, then ecstasy. I really started experimenting with heavy drugs at age twelve. Now it’s all about the Crystal Meth. In the past, I have stolen, lied, and manipulated to get my next high. I live on the streets. I have slept outside and gone days, sometimes it seems like a couple of weeks, without eating. I choose the streets instead of being in a group home. Recently, I stabbed someone and it was a big wake up call for me. I got caught up with authority and sent back to a group home after running for two years off and on. In the group home I broke some things and got the cops called on me so I got charged with vandalism. When I was detained I got asked questions whether I do drugs or not. I let them know the truth to get help and now I’m doing six months in an inpatient program. When I get out I am hoping for the best to stay clean and sober!

Entry #21
I’ve seen bad days
You twist my words
You treat me like dust
You make me feel small
You abuse me
You say hurtful words towards me
I wonder why they call me those words
You took my strength
Have you ever loved someone so much,
Have you ever gave your heart to someone,
But all they do is throw it back on your face,
They always have the right words to hurt you,
They always know just what to say.

Entry #22
Please forgive me, mama was young, mama was too busy trying to have fun and now I tap myself on the back for sending you back because God knows I was better than that. To conceive you and leave you, I listen to people who told me I wasn’t ready for you, but they didn’t know what I was ready to do and of course baby it wasn’t your fault but I can see you in the air. I hear you saying mama don’t cry can’t you see I’m right here. But I got to let you know what you mean to me. When I sleep, I see you in my dreams with me, I wish I could touch your little face and just hold your little hand, if it’s a part of God’s plan maybe we can meet again.

Entry #23
I miss you dearly. I just sit here and think about the good times we had when you were here on earth with us. I miss you dearly knowing father’s day comes around and you are no longer here really. I miss you dearly wishing you would come back like you did that one day, oh, I miss you dearly.

Entry #24
If only you really knew me
You would have known what I am capable of
You would have known what you mean to me
If only you really knew me you would have known that you are my heaven...
And my earth and everything in between
My hunger, my thirst and my dream
Because you give me the reason to live
You put a smile on my face
I really wish you knew that you are my rock, my pillar, my strength
You are my sun. My everything.
No matter what, I want you to know that in my heart
You will always have a home.

Entry # 25
I remember going into the bathroom and cuttin a line,
Chuggin that jack and feelin fine,
I remember sleeping outside on rainy nights,
Kickin it in town, getting into fights,
But I can’t do that anymore,
Cause the laws got my butt nailed to the floor,
Probation’s got me goin to school and I’m pissin in a cup
But I gotta go on and go wack, just my luck
Now I’m sittin in a little room checkin off the days,
Hopin I can finish school and find a job that pays.

Journal #26
I’m outgoing. I’m sociable. I’m quiet, smart, loving, and kind. I see myself in five years working as homecare provider. I'm happy in high school. I like P.E., but I really wish I stayed in high school and got my g.e.d. I'm going to college and then maybe work in a hospital to deliver babies. I love life. When I get out I will go to school so I can work in the medical field. I will have my own house and my own car and be independent. I should have a happy life, if I know what I'm saying. That’s my story.

Entry #27

Entry #28
My father passed away in June 2010. It hurt me so much when my mom got that one phone call saying my dad just had passed away. Just hearing my mother crying on the phone and me asking her what’s wrong? And my mother took a second and told me “Your father just passed away” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing I didn’t want to believe what my mother had just told me and I broke down in tears. It hurt me so much because my father meant a lot to me. He and I were so close, I was able to tell him when I was sad or mad and he was always there for me. He didn’t live with me but he would call often to see how my sister and I were doing. I miss talking to my dad he would always joke around with my sister and I he would always make us laugh we would enjoy talking to our father. He also gave my sister and me good advice and he would tell us what was right and what was wrong.

Entry #29
I remember being happy with family all around me.
I remember loving every minute I had with them, laughing, swimming, jumping.
I remember a day came and it was just supposed to be fun, going on the run.
I remember thinking, “What have I done?”
I remember thinking, “What did I do?”
And now I am here with this to say to you:
What for? A buzz that wasn’t even fun.
I don’t remember the blackout,
Then the next day began.

Entry #30
If you really knew me, you would know that I have anger inside which is transforming into different emotions, like hatred and other unknown dark powers.
Because of these feelings, I don’t recognise myself anymore. I am not able to eat and need something to take it away. But it’s always there, like second skin or a skin disease.
If you really knew me, you would know that I was abandoned at the age three and had to struggle to live all alone and there was no one there for me.
If you really knew me you would have saved the place you had in my heart or the one I thought I had in yours. But like all the others, you did not care. You also left.
I know I needed you most, but you took it for granted. You thought it was a game. Now something has been killed in me, something is gone. I really wish I could have it back. But I know it’s gone.
Forget about me, I am gone.

Entry #31
When I was a little boy I always told myself I wanted to be a firefighter. That was my dream when I was little. I used to love when fire trucks drove by, I would get all excited. When I got in middle school I didn’t care about school anymore. I was so into weed and into gang banging. I was such a trouble maker by the time I got into high school I got expelled because I got into a fight which was gang related. I’ve been expelled for two years, all I did was drugs. I was addicted to it. Till one day I got caught up high on drugs. I had to go to court for it. When I saw the judge I thought they were going to let me go. But when they told me I had one hundred-eighty days in the Substance Abuse Unit (SAU), I was mad. Now that I am in here it made me think a lot about my life. I told myself I’m an intelligent person and I don’t belong in here. I don’t want to be in the streets asking for money, or sleeping in the streets. I want to change and be the person I used to be. I’m going to be what I always wanted to be: A FIREFIGHTER!

Entry #32
I was a person who was taken over by drugs.
I remember when I stole something important from my grandmother.
I heard that it was the last thing that she had left of her mother’s after she passed.
I saw her cry to me and ask me why I did it.
I worried that I had messed up our relationship forever.
I felt that what I did was wrong but I felt that I needed to do it for the drugs.
But, I want to change.
I am a young man now with a daughter of my own.
I think I need to become a man and take care of my family.
I need to rebuild the relationship with my grandmother and become a different person.
I try to do my best so one day that will be possible.
I feel depressed and very remorseful for what I did to her.
I forgive myself for what I’ve done to her, and I know she’s forgiven me too.
Now I can change.
I will change.
I choose to stay away from drugs and be a good person.
I dream that one day I can have a happy/perfect family again.
I hope my grandma doesn’t hold it against me forever.
I predict she won’t and soon we will be happy again.
I know that we will be happy again because… … …

Journal #33
I was a young Chicano born in the U.S raised in Mexico.
I remember the day my father left us and our family split up.
I heard that he and my mom will eventually get divorced.
I saw and felt my mom hurt, depressed, disappointed, even more now that I’m in here locked up.
I worried that I won’t be able to do anything about it because I’m in here.
I thought my family will never be better after all this B.S.
But, I want to change.
I am able to make things better now that I’m getting out with tools that will help me.
I think the world is always full of problems but we could always find a way to solve them.
I need to get back on track and support my family and be the man of the house since by dad backed out on us.
I try to make good decisions and not make bad ones.
I  feel really hurt, depressed and heartbroken going through all of this.
I forgive all my problems but I also have to forgive my dad.
Now I can change.
I will be someone in life not a screw up; I will get back with my baby’s mom I will change.
I choose to leave all this B.S behind the gangs the drugs I want to be sober.
I dream of being able to have a good life and be a Marine.
I hope I won’t let anyone down specially my mom my baby and my baby’s momma.
I predict that I’m going to accomplish my goals in life.
I know I will be the son my mom wants me to be and the father I’ve always wanted to be. I will succeed in life. I will make people proud.
I will change.

Entry #34
I believe there still is hope,
I believe we can still save our world,
I believe we can still change our world,
There are many unnecessary problems in our world,
I believe there are solutions,
I believe we as the youth have these solutions,
And I believe we can still make it work.
I believe all the bad can be good,
I believe all the hate can be love,
I believe all the lies can be the truth,
I believe we can still be together as one.
For dreams to come true we have to believe,
And when we believe we find hope,
Hope that will take us places,
Places that we have to go to,
But all of this is possible if we just believe.
I believe there still is hope,
I believe we can still save our world,
I believe we can still change our world,
I believe that we as the youth have the ability to save the world,
And I believe that we as the youth have the ability to change the world.

Entry #35
It was
easy to love
easy to love me
telling me that you love me
telling you care for me
that you’d be there for me
that you’ll never go away
that we’ll be together forever
it was easy
easy to leave you
because you betrayed me
lied to me
and fooled me
so that’s why
it was easy to leave you

Entry #36
If you really knew me you would know how scared I really am.
If you really knew me you would know how much I love my brother and that I want to keep him safe no matter what happens to me.
If you really knew me you would know I hate this place.
If you really knew me you would know how hard I try to fit in.
If you really knew me you would know that I am never happy with the friends I have. I just settle for whoever will hang out with me.
If you really knew me you would know how big of a problem I have.
If you really knew me you would know how bad I messed up my life for things that don’t even matter now.
I just wish somebody really knew me.

Journal #37
I was selfish and didn’t care for my family.
I remember when I would go out with my friends and smoke.
I heard a lot of people stereotype me cause of what I do.
I saw one of my guy friends hit some other guy in his scalp with the gun and busted his head open.
I worried when I couldn’t get high.
I thought I could get my sack fronted whenever I wanted.
But I want to change:
I am a different person.
I think of my family and what pain I caused them and put them through.
I need to finish high school and be someone in life.
I try to bite my tongue and control my anger.
I feel happy for myself that I am changing.
I forgive my parents for causing me the pain of their separation.
Now I can change:
I will graduate.
I choose to be a better and different person.
I dream that I will become a Nurse or a teacher.
I hope that I succeed in life.
I predict that I will marry a handsome and loving man.
I know I will have what I want.

Entry #38
I remember the day that I was sent away,
The tears I saw in my mom’s eyes and the sound of those infinite cries,
Such pain I caused her,
And what didn’t help was the laughing of the officer
He thought it was funny,
Like a sweet taste of honey
I remember my first day in the hall
I remember what seemed like a continuous white wall.
Several months in so far,
I can’t wait for the ride in probation’s car
That would mean I am going home to my mother, brother, and dad.
I would have not more reason to be sad.

Entry #39
I remember when I was 9 years old and I had a pipe passed to me. My life was all bad from that day. At age 11, I was smoking dope. When I was 13, I started slamming dope. I remember my 14th birthday: me and my friends started cooking meth. I remember when I brought dope into my house and my dad was on parole. They came to search my house and found all my dope. My dad went back to prison. After that, me and my dad have never really got along. We are fighting all of the time.

Entry #40
Somebody wants you
Somebody needs you
Somebody needs your love
Somebody needs you to hold them
Somebody needs you to tell them that everything is gonna be alright
Tell them you here for them
Let them cry on your shoulder
Somebody needs you
Because without you they can’t breathe
Without you they feel lonely
And alone in the world
Like there’s nothing left for them
Like there’s no tomorrow
Like there’s no sun
Somebody wants you
Somebody needs you

Journal #41
If you really knew me, you’d know that you see how much stress I carry.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I don’t shed tears, I show hurt.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m not as strong inside as I’m on the out.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I got problems deep down inside of me that I still have to overcome.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m more of capable of doing then you’re seeing.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I love to laugh and a very goofy person to hide the pain but it makes me feel good.
But if you really knew me, you’d know that I got my whole life ahead of me more to see and more to come.

Journal #42
Friends can be real or they can be false. My closest friends can be the worst of my enemies. I either choose good or bad influence. The mistakes I make are only to be blamed on myself. Yes, friends can influence my chioces, but the final decision is mine to be made. Don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t underestimate someone. I need to make sure I know who to trust, because spilling a secret is as easy as talking smack about me behind my back and later smile in my face. Those who stick by my side through the thick and the thin are the ones who that will surely be there when I need it. Just as they are there for me, I will always return the love. Because just like I need a shoulder to cry on, someone to hear me out or simply someone who will spend time with me, they at some point need it too. People will walk in and out of my life but those who truly mattered are the ones that leave footprints in my heart.

Entry #43
I remember when it was just fun and games, getting high and drunk at some party. My best friend and I trying to get with random girls. I remember the walks to my homies house after the parties, smashing mailboxes, pissing on cars, and other dumb stuff like that. I remember when it turned bad, no money for pot, so we would car hop and sell the things we stole. I remember when that wasn’t enough so we turned to crop hopping. The 3rd time we did, we got shot at. I remember saying I would never do that again, then two weeks later, at another house, trimming their plants, I remember running from the cops when they rolled up on us. As we were pulling stuff out of our car, I got away, but my friend didn’t. I remember getting put in hand cuffs and getting sent to Juvi, thinking about getting even for him snitching, but what for. It’s a lesson I needed. Now I hope I can move on.

Journal #44
I loved you at one point in my life, with all my heart.
You told me you have no reason to ever lie to me.
I believed you. I trusted you.
You slowly took advantage of me & everything I had.
I lied to myself thinking it was love.
Sometimes I still find myself believing the lie we both told.
But now I seem to have nothing but hate for you.
I’m in love with the memories we share.
But the thought of the person you are now makes me sick.
I’m even disgusted with myself for letting you get so close.
The thought of you is still always on my mind.
Now I’m far away, & I won’t ever be able to go back to you, no matter how bad I want to.
Going back to you will just take me back to the same place I am now.
Two months away, I’ve heard hasn’t even affected you.
I thought I couldn’t go a day without you.
Now you’re the last person I ever want to see.
I know when I go back home, you’ll still be there pretending like you’ve done nothing wrong.
This is the last place I want to be, but being here has opened my eyes.

Journal #45
If you really new me you would know that I am afraid of responsibility.
If you really knew me you would know that I am afraid of failing. I really can’t wait to go home but for me I am going to a house where I have never been before. At this moment my mom and dad are going through some finical problems and if things don’t go our way I might not have a house to go to. It makes me sad because we barely got the house that we now live in and I might not ever get to see it. I am really worried about my family. I hope and pray that things become better. My mom tells me not to worry because we always come out of these things. I just can’t help but worry.

Entry #46
Mountains, trees, birds, oceans, animals of course are nature but sadly you find people destroying their beauty.
I’ve seen birds singing praising the lord
I’ve heard the praising songs sung by these birds but I did not get the message
People are preaching, singing but they still can’t see the beauty of nature.
The sun rise and the sun sets but people can’t see the beauty behind that.

Journal #47
Today I am going to write about a dog of mine that was really awesome. The sad part is in the end she most likely got put to sleep by the SPCA. Her name was Bonnie. She was a full blooded Red Nose Pit-Bull. She was such a good dog and she was part of the family. When they took her away it ripped a hole in my heart and I will never forget her. She wasn’t just a dog: to me she was my little girl. There was something about her that made her so special to me, it’s like she understood me and I understood her. She was kind of like my best friend in a way. Everybody misjudges how dangerous pit bulls are. People just jump the gun when they see a pit bull. Just because they’re known for attacking people and being very aggressive, they carry a bad reputation. You know when people make comments like that I think they are so stupid. Not all dogs are mean, it’s all about how you train and raise them. Every dog can be broken of bad habits. It’s easier just to train them right the first time so you don’t have to go through your dog being put to sleep because of poor training or none at all. Bonnie was one of the most loving dogs I had. She and I would practically go everywhere together if I left she left if I went to sleep she most of the time did the same. You can say she was a dream dog. She was also a really great guard dog, even though that wasn’t why I got her; it just came naturally to her. Me and Bonnie had really good times, she was so smart when she wanted to be walked or just wanted to go outside to get some exercise she would bring her leash to me. No dog could replace her, I love my Bonnie!

Entry #48
If you really knew me you wouldn’t think my life was as perfect as it seems.
If you really knew me you would know how I feel about my parents fighting all of the time.
If you really knew me you would know the pain I feel inside.
If you really knew me you would know how I felt when my mom left my dad.
If you really knew me you would know how I feel being against those who oppose.
If you really knew me you would know I love to fight.
If you really knew me you would know I hate to love.
If you really knew me you would know I have brothers that push and strive to survive.
If you really knew me you would know I’ve been through violence.
If you really knew me you would know I’m just a youngster trying to make mine.
If you really knew me you would know I love to slang drugs.
If you really knew me you would know I give respect if you show me respect.
If you really knew me you would know I’m a smart girl that is surrounded by gangs.
If you really knew me you would know I’m active in criminal activities.
If you really knew me you would know I’m addicted to alcohol.
If you really knew me you would know half of my homeboys are up in the pen doing life.
If you really knew me you would know how I feel waking up every day wondering what will happen.
If you really knew me you would know I respect my parents with a passion.
If you really knew me you would know more than this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SUMMER 2011 Exchange

Entry # 1
If you really knew me you would know how scared and hurt I feel to be around him.
If you really knew me you would see the front I put on when he’s around as if everything is ok.
If you really knew me you would know of the make-up I put on and the clothes I wear to cover up the bruises that he gives me.
If you really knew me you would know of the war that’s going on in my heart deciding if I’m really in love with this man or if I’m afraid to be alone.
If you really knew me you would know that this might be my last day and I will be remembered as a young strong lady because nobody really knew me.

Entry #2
I remember the day I came home and I got the phone call. It was my dad telling me he was in Jail. He told me he loved me and said he made a mistake. His case took about a year for the trial to be completed and he got life. My step dad and mom started using and very soon split up. We were homeless, staying with dope dealers and anyone we could. It was basically my mom alone with three kids. We stayed in motels. You know how we survived? We went to Wal-Mart and stole stuff and brought it back… 3 months, every day. My mom got a new boyfriend who sold drugs for a living. He got us a house and everything we needed. Then my mom started to slam dope. We lost it all. We never had food and we weren’t able to pay rent. My mom started hitting people and ended up in prison also. Me, my little brother, and sister were separated. I want doing so well and my anger would come out with me punching people. Now I’m someone who can’t stop drinking at the age of 14 and I can’t stay out of the hall.

Entry # 3
I remember the pain of my parents fighting every night. My father went to prison for putting hands on my mom. I thought things could not get worse. This lifestyle I choose is because I started out with a little dose: stressing and thinking about the times. I just wish this was all a nightmare. I cry myself to sleep in here sometimes. It is hard for me to eat. I stress and think about when I will be home. My mom cries when she sees me. She always looks in my eyes and says, “I hope when you get out you won’t be smoking.” All I do is swallow my words and stay silent, or maybe mumble, “I won’t.”

Entry # 4
I was a meth addicted teen prostitute. I remember when my dad pulled a butcher knife on my mother when I was eleven and my sister was twelve. He was high on meth and my sister and I, as young as we were, had to pull him off of her. I heard the pimps beating their “employees” and screams for mercy. I saw ruined souls and broken goals. I worried that this was my future…sixteen, addicted, tainted. I thought there was love in abuse and I wanted to be loved. But, I want to change.
I am a broken soul, but with far too many goals. I think the world is cruel, but I am no fool. I need to change, maintain sobriety, and get out of the game. I try to focus on one of my only strengths, my art. I feel overwhelmed with guilt, sorrow, pain and shame, now turning into love, respect and admiration. I forgive myself and my father for the physical and emotional pain we’ve caused. Now, I can change.
I will be an artistic spirit with no more hiding. I choose to not let any man have power over me. I dream to be famous, but not ashamed. I hope people will understand/ accept my past, but if not, so be it. I predict I will overcome my addictions. I know how much I love myself, hopefully even more than I love money. I will change.

Entry # 5
I remember lying on my bed staring blankly at the white walls. I state at the white cement walls in my cell. I only want to go home. The feeling of fear is slightly weakened by the thought that I am not alone. Yet I sit here silently crying for help. I remember taking that first drink. The drink I’ve got that itch for. I remember being able to do the things I wanted because my mom wasn’t afraid I was going to get drunk and not come home. I remember being hit by my dad. Now he is ill and slowly going away. I remember hidden empty bottles of E&J and having to cover my ears and hide in the room because I didn’t want to hear the yelling and see the blood and tears. I remember being someone else a year ago. Now I am lying in my cell staring blankly at my white cement walls.

Entry # 6
I’ve seen good days
But I’ve also seen bad.
I say I am happy,
But really I’m sad.
People call me smiles
But they haven’t seen my files
If they had, they would know how bad it is to have this depression.
They would know about every counseling session.
They would know about the pills
And the bars on my windowsill.
I’ve seen good days.
I guess it’s true.
But it’s hard to think about them
With so many tears on my shoe.

Entry # 7
I remember when people said I was a “****** up kid.” I thought they were wrong and that I just made some bad choices. Now I am back in the hall for the 9th time and I’m starting to believe them. I have to keep fighting and I don’t need anyone to help. I can do it on my own.
It seems I’m out of place here in Cali because my family is in Washington. My dad used to beat me all the time. I told him I would be a good kid and stop fighting and tagging. Now I’m in Cali and I am exactly what I did not want to be, a gang member. I can’t help it. It’s like my other family.

Entry # 8
If you really knew me you would think that I was a bad, irresponsible kid. The things I have done to many people have been cruel. I wish these things never would have happened, but things are the way they are and “you can never change that.”
If you really knew me now and the young man I have become you would know that I no longer tell myself that those things are unchangeable. You would know that it takes time for these things to be changed and let go. You would know that I have forgiven myself for the things I have done and consider that changing who I am and the things I do will one day lead me to being forgiven.
If you really knew me you would know that I feel bad and I’m sorry for the things and mistakes I have done in my life.

Entry # 9
Life ain’t fair and everyone knows it. I may seem happy and like I have it figured out, but that’s far from true. Inside, I’m angry and scared, not knowing where life is taking me next. Not knowing which family members I can count on to be there for me. Until recently, that defined me. From the start of my life, I was lied to. In the past 18 months I‘ve learned the truth. When the tables turn and people that have been there your whole life turn their backs on you, it’s hard. It filled me with anger that I used to cover with drugs, alcohol, and random relationships. Not even those could suppress it anymore. I got in fights in school and built up a wall, only letting some know the real me. But, that doesn’t fix it. Speaking from my experience, it’s hard as hell, but you have to let it go to feel right. I can’t make decisions for others. I have to just make the most of what I have been given.

Entry # 10
It’s not my fault there’s something wrong with my head. It’s not my fault I sometimes wish I was dead. I wish anger didn’t pulse through my veins. I wish hate didn’t drive me insane. The people around lie and say it’s alright, but I know they’re only trying to make the load light. I hate these people and the shit it brings. I hate those around me and the songs they sing. I hate the liars, fakers, criticizers, and the hypocrites that hide it all behind a fake smile. Good days and bad days are all the same. It’s all just a struggle to keep the fire tame. Lock it all up and put it in a cage. Just to come out in a bigger bomb of rage. Sharp metal against my skin and stick it in. Just so that I can feel something again. Just emptiness eating up my feelings. Dulling up my senses, making me stare at the ceiling. I hate the way they look at me through the thick glass window. I want to be on the outs instead of someone’s freak show. It’s not my fault that there’s something wrong with my head. It’s not my fault that sometimes I’d rather be dead.

Entry # 11
I have seen good days when all my family worked together and solved our problems.
I have seen bad days when my dad left us and my family split up.
I have seen good days when I saw my daughter born.
I have seen bad days ever since my daughter’s mom and I split up.
I have seen good days every time I see my mom happy.
I have seen bad days ever since I got locked up.
I will see better days when I get out and make a difference in my family, get back with my daughter’s mom and bring my family back together.
But, I can’t forget I will always see bad days no matter what…that’s part of life, I have to be strong.

Entry # 12
I was an athlete, a great football player, a sober son.
I remember when I took that first hit of that weed.
I heard people say it will make you happy and all your stress will forever go away.
I saw ounces and pounds, but wish I was never involved.
I worried that if I went home high my mom would either kick me out of the house or call the cops.
I thought I was either going to be dead or locked up.
But, I want to change.
I am a talented, but humble person.
I have seen bad days and good days.
I need a sports scholarship and a college degree.
I try to finish this drug program with all I can give.
I feel motivated and positive.
I forgive my mom and dad for splitting apart when I was three years old.
Now I can change….I will change.

Entry # 13
When I was little, I got into a lot of bad habits. I love to smoke, drink, and party. I’ve seen some good days like when I got to see my sister. We hadn’t seen each other since she was 14 and I was just 11. I miss her. I wish I could see her one last time before I screw my life completely over and mess up any chance I get to see her when I get older. I don’t want her to see me behind bars when I’m 18 or 31. I’m tired of falling behind in school. I want to be the first one in my family to graduate from high school so I can prove to my sister I can do good without her nagging me to do so.

Entry # 14
If you really knew me, you’d see how much pain I really carry.
If you really know me, you’d know that I often shed tears.
If you really knew me, you’d know that deep inside I’m not as tough as it seems.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m vulnerable and full of fears.
If you really knew me, you’d know that there is more I want to do with my life than just sit in a cell.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m capable of making you laugh.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I hate when I’m judged.
If you really knew me, you’d know that I love to be surrounded by family and friends.
If you really knew me, you’d know that it’s hard for me to trust.
But, you don’t know me and with a look you take my way you’d say what a shame she is.

Entry # 15
If you knew me you would know that I was beaten as a child. If you knew me you would know I was also molested when I was seven. If you knew me you would know I’m always locked up or in trouble. I am a person who needs help. If you knew me you would know that I have no mom or dad around. If you knew me you would know not to make rude remarks about my past. If you knew me you would know that I have a lot of problems that I need to take care of before I can go home. I was raised around crystal, weed, pills, and needles. If you knew me you would realize that my sister raised me since I was in diapers.

Entry #16
My life was great when I was in my mom’s caring loving arms.
My life was messed up when I met that girl who introduced me to drugs.
My life was great when I was social and happy and outgoing.
My life was messed up when I started doing the devil’s drug, methamphetamine.
My life was great when the only thing I was high on was life.
My life was messed up when I started doing things I said I never would.
My life was great when I was close to my family.
My life was messed up when I grew far apart from my family.
….Drugs screwed up my life!

Entry # 17
I had fun, too much fun. It’s strange when you’re having so much fun you can’t remember it. That’s fun, right? Started my day like any other. Slept until noon, went out for a smoke, then into the shower. Hours passed and finally it was time to get ready for the night. So many decisions: what to wear, whose party, and what to drink. That’s probably the one that gets the most thought. Me and my “friends,” put our money together and as our mouths started to water, we decided on something cheap and sweet: Vodka with juice it is! We take our shots, get pretty buzzed, and put on our heels for the night ahead. But, as we reach the door and everyone has their dumb blank stares as they turn my way. “Ok,” I said, “I’ll drive.” Those were probably the dumbest words I’ve ever spoken. We made it to the party “safe” and walked in like we owned the place. We went straight to the dance floor and then hit up the keg. Three cups down and about four shots later, I realized it was already 3 AM. This is when it starts to get blurry. I felt ready for bed and just wanted to crash at this house, but my “friends” insisted I do otherwise. They wanted to get home and I was their ride. No hesitations here, the people pleaser that I am, grabbed my keys, “Let’s go.” I clearly remember walking to my car, turning the key, and sitting in the front seat. We turned the music up, laughed, and joked about the night. I pulled onto the road and about 8 minutes into the ride, the blur got worse. Red and Blue lights in the rearview mirror. “I am so screwed.” I already knew what was going to happen. I pulled off onto the wrong way on a one way street, completely hammered, incoherent, and struggling to find my license. It took all about ten minutes before I was in handcuffs in the back of a police car. I watched all of my “friends” just walk out of the car Scott free, not looking or probably even giving a crap what happened to me. I spent the night locked up, released the next morning (still drunk), and with a lot of thinking to do. A month and a half later, I finally had court: no license, a truckload of classes, and community service, and two days here, in Juvie. I’m 18 years old, signed up for college, working, and living on my own. Point blank, I messed up. I drank and drove and I am lucky I didn’t kill anyone. But it’s all fun, right? Just another Friday night…

Entry # 18
If you really knew me, you would know my fears and my joys.
If you really knew me, you would know my anger and my downfalls.
You would know not only that I’m a mom, but also, that I wasn’t very good until recently.
If you really knew me, you would know I love my parents. But, you would also know my parents and I fight.
If you really knew me, you would know that I’m scared right now. Scared that being locked up might determine my future.
If you really knew me, you would know that I was indecisive. I couldn’t make my own choices, that’s what my friends were for.
If you really knew me, you would know that I love rock music, it’s my alternative anger release.
If you really knew me, you would know that if I trust you a little bit, I can trust you with my life.
If you really knew me, you would know love is my weakness, it happens too easily for me.
If you really knew me, you would know my goals, my dreams, and my ideals.
If you really knew me, you would know that I’m loyally honest and trustworthy, but also closed off and hated.
If you really knew me, you would know that it’s a blessing to have you in my life.
If you really knew me, you would know that as I write this, I’m thinking of everyone who really knows me.
If you really knew me, you would know that I love you with all my heart, that you’re in my prayers every night and that this was written all for you just knowing me.