JH Artwork

JH Artwork

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 3; More To Come!

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.

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