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 24; June 27; July 25; More To Come!

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17, 2012
Entry #18
When I walk out of the hall, my life will be changed forever. Before I came in here, I didn’t care what happened to me or my loved ones. I was too high or drunk to care. My mom and sisters would cry when they saw me….all bruised and too wasted to stand up straight. They would beg me to change my ways and sober up. I thought, “Why the hell do you even care? I have been on the streets the past four years, doing whatever I want and you have been too busy with your lives and family. Why didn’t you care or try to stop me when I was 12?” But in reality, they did. I was just too drunk to notice them. It was nobody’s fault but mine. I’ve been locked up for three months now. 90 days of battling my demons. 90 days with nothing but my own thoughts. I talked to my mom the other day. She told me one of my really good friends died of an overdose, died over the same shit I would do every day. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was some sick joke, but my mom wouldn’t do that. Then I thought about how lucky I am. I am still here. When I walk out of the hall I’m going to quit with all the bullshit. No more drugs or alcohol. I’m going to devote my life to myself and my family. I’m going to change forever.

Entry #19
If I could let my past stay behind me and not use it as my excuse, I would be ahead of the game with something wonderful to say. If I could go back in time I would have said “No.” If I could hold onto my cousin I would have told him I was sorry for the way I acted. If I could ask my biological father, I would have asked him one thing: Why did you choose drugs over me and my big brother? If I could have three wishes, I would wish for my life to turn out a success that I worked hard to get by myself. Then I would wish for my family to love me. If I could give my mother back her right leg and the chance to walk again, I would. If I could help someone, I would help teens caught up in sex trafficking to be brave and beautiful and to have self worth. If I could I would be brave for them because I made it out and will never live my life in the dark again.

Entry #20
I don’t know you
And you don’t know me
But that doesn’t matter
Our dreams still shatter
I was 90 days deep, “Damn EMP”
They gave me the big one eighty
And it wasn’t even me.
I’m innocent! DEJ Ha
That’s taken away
“When’s it gonna?”
I ask myself
Now! Not now, but RIGHT NOW…then BLAHOW
I’m back
But this is it
I’m cutting the bull
It’s about time
My boo calls me “Daddy”
But that doesn’t matter
I don't got no caddy
Nor any children
So I've got to stop acting like one
I got three siblings coming up behind me
My worst nightmare…
They’ll be just like me.

Entry #21
I’m an addict. I didn’t believe it at first. I hated the fact my parents chose meth over their kids, yet here I sit almost eighteen in this juvenile hall, realizing I also choose meth over my own child. In my use, nothing really matters but getting high. I wasted a relationship over the drugs. I lost control of my life as the drugs took over. Since I was always chasing the high, I didn’t have time for family or friends. The dope made me anti-social and depressed. I tried to quit. I really wanted to quit. In order to do so successfully, I had to make it through the comedown and withdrawals. Every time, without fail, I would be smoking or snorting some more. I got to the point where I wanted to die. I was ashamed of the drug use. I tried to hide it better. My brother came up to me one day and asked why I looked sucked up. I played it off. Pretty soon I noticed people talking and looking at me. I would look in the mirror and say, “Nothing’s wrong.” The drugs had put a pair of cracked glasses on my face so to speak and I wasn’t seeing the truth. I was in denial. Me an addict? No way. It went against my morals. I hated tweakers. Now people were saying I was one. I would get so pissed and fight people who said this, but they were right. I just couldn’t see it in the fog of my drug abuse. Even people I smoked dope with were telling me that I should be dead with the amount I smoked. At the time I took it as a compliment or sometimes even a challenge and I would do even more. My tolerance to the drug went up and so did the bill of the drugs. Before long, I owed a lot of people money. Money I still owe and still don’t have. I went from being all about my family, even early in my addiction. I was all about my family, but like watching football on TV, I couldn’t stop what was going on. I depended on the drug to get up for school. It wasn’t what I wanted. It was a necessity. I now realize I have been an addict since the first time I ever hit a dope pipe. Addiction is a disease that isn’t curable. You can only put it to the side until it resurfaces again. So here I sit almost 30 days clean, fighting my disease. Some days I feel all alone in my fight. Most days I rely on my friends and family to provide the support I need. I hope they do so when I get out too.

Entry #22
Nowhere to go
Nothing to lose
In the hall
The wounds I am bleeding through
Nobody to help me when I am feeling blue
My anger rising and my patience slacking
So I got to do what I got to do
End up in jail or not
In the streets I will always be known as “That one fool.”

Entry #23
The pain has vanished. My heart melts the feeling. Inside my chest growing. I need more. I do not want to come down from where I am. I feel so safe but that does not mean that it’s true.
Up and down, stop toying with my mind. Sixteen and on the fence. Which way should I go? I am stuck but I never falter. Drugs in my path. What do I do? Screw it. Everyone else does it, so I’ll do it too. I feel powerless over my actions.
I hear the lighter spark.
I get anxious.
I don’t want to do it.
But my body insists.
The drugs have taken control.

Entry #24
When I walk out of the hall I will go home. I will go home and I will see my mom and my grandpa and I will also see my girlfriend. I really plan on moving out of this county, going to the bay, and spending a lot of time out there so I can get my stuff together. Hopefully I can get a job and continue to do what I was doing before I made the mistakes I made that put me here…But if you would have to ask me I would tell you that I would not take anything I’ve done back because I don’t regret it. If I didn’t do what I did, I would not be the person I have become and I am proud of who I am. I will not change myself, but I will surely change the decisions I make in the future.

Entry #25
When I walk out of the hall, I’m going to be stupid juiced. The first thing I’m going to do is go to my Nana’s, take a long shower, and do my hair and make-up. Since it will be my birthday, I’m going to have my whole family get together so we can go out to eat. This time it’s going to be different because I’m different. I want the best for myself. I want to do greater than my family members ever thought I could do. The biggest difference is going to be the look of pride in my Grandparents eyes when I see them. The difference with my family will be awesome. Coming here has taught me how to communicate better. Nothing will be the same. I won’t be on the run, using heavy drugs, going to parties every weekend, or throwing parties every night. I won’t be pulling licks for money. I’m going to get a job. I know I’m not going to return because I want to do better for myself and my family. I have goals that I’m going to achieve. I will be so busy working, going to school, doing homework, and hanging out with my family that there won’t be any room for trouble.

Entry #26
When I walk out of the hall, I’m going to be happy to be in my own clothes. EMP is going to drive me home for my 180 days. The first thing I’m going to do is run up to my 10 month old baby sister, swing her into my arms, spin her around into a hug, then kiss her a million times. She will probably cry because she won’t remember me after four months, but I don’t care.
A lot will be different. I won’t have all my friends with me because they all turned on me. I’ll always be home and not getting in trouble. I’ll be nervous to go anywhere. I will be paranoid. My extended family: gone.
When I get home, I know only a few things that will be the same. My mom is there to look after me and comfort me through my current struggles. I have all of my siblings to keep me company, lots of family friends for barbeques, and I’ll still be in independent study. I am thankful to have family that cares about me, no matter what I’ve done in the past.

Entry #27
When I get out of the hall
Will I rise or fall?
“Everyone comes back”
But that’s not a fact
I’ve changed in these conditions
I sat and listened
To the directions they’re givin
I’m dead in here
I want to be living
I was playing the role
Where drugs had control
My mind and sole
To think of my options
Time to stop coughin
This place will haunt my mind
To my heart, it’s made a burn
Now when I walk out of the hall
I will NEVER return.

Entry #28
I never had a mom growing up. She left when I was two years old and I haven’t seen her since. Over the 15 years growing up she tried to contact me a bit, but I don’t want to hear from her or talk to her. Not now or ever. I always said to myself, “Forget her. She left you and doesn’t want you.” I made it a goal later in life when I am older, when I am ready, that one day I would contact her and ask, “Why the hell did you leave me and why wasn’t I a main priority in your life when you had me.” No matter what she says, I am too angry to let her back in my life. I know she’s my birth mom, but that is all she is: a lady who gave birth to me and then left. I can now deal with the fact that she left, but what hurts more is that she is trying to get in touch with me now after 15 years. All I want is the truth about these things. For now she is just a faded memory.

Entry #29
When I walk out of the hall I am going to go home, take off my shoes, grab a soda, go into the backyard, and light up a cig. It’s what I really want right now. I’ve been smoking for almost seven years, since I was ten years old. Now I am almost 17. Where has time gone? I haven’t had a normal teenage life. I’ve been getting locked up since I was 13. I’ve been in and out since then. The last four years have been rough for me. My life stays the same and time keeps on ticking, but who cares? You live and learn…but with me, I guess I don’t learn. It’s hard. I hate being on probation. I just want to smoke weed and have a good time and get on with my life, but it feels like I will never get off. I just want to see my nephew. He is about to be one year old in October. I miss him. I will do anything for him. Uncle just wants you to know that he loves you.

Entry #30
When I walk out of the hall I will never look back. I will never come back either. I have been in here way too many times. It has just been a waste of my time and my life. I don’t think anything will ever be the same again except for my family’s love towards me and the love I give back to them. When I walk out of the hall I am going to stop using drugs and drinking. The drugs and alcohol have taken over my life and I want it back. So when I get out I will be changed for the better. I will have a better grasp on life and live my life my way.

Entry #31
When I walk out of the hall my life will be different. I lived in another state with my aunt, but since I got locked up, she is done helping me. I’m going to be living with my grandparents from now on. I hope I can stay clean and stay out of trouble. My biggest fear of getting out is doing drugs again. I really hope I can change my life and be a better person. I hope that one day my little brothers can look up to me and my family can be proud of me and love me not only for who I am, but for the things I do as well.

Entry #32
Sometimes I Wish
Sometimes I wish I would’ve made the right decisions. It sucks when realization hits while you’re sitting in a cell. Maybe if my family was emotionally stable I wouldn’t have made a pact with the devil. Sometimes I wish I would’ve learned from my mistakes in the beginning. Sometimes I wish I didn’t seek destruction in my life. Sometimes I wish I would’ve refused to play in the devil’s playground. Sometimes I wish I would’ve never learned how to stab myself in the arm. Sometimes I wish I would’ve made the right decisions.