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!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We are excited to be exchanging writing with four juvenile hall facilities this month:  Lassen, Placer, Fresno, and Butte County!

Writing prompts this month included Food Memories, Divorce, and an Open Topic.

Entry #734
A Sickness
I am sick. I have a disease and am afraid if I do not treat it I will die. I self-diagnosed myself at the age of 14 but was diagnosed by professionals a year later at a treatment center once the symptoms became very apparent. The treatment center was an inpatient drug rehab center. My disease is drug addiction. I contracted it 4 years ago the second I first smoked weed. It has gotten progressively worse over the short 4 years I have had it as I have moved on to stronger and deadlier substances such as OxyContin and crystal. I even flirted with death once when I overdosed, but by God’s grace was revived. For years, I felt like I was just another soldier in a losing war. Despair was my only companion. That was the past though. Presently, I am over 4 months sober and for the first time in years, I have hope. I no longer mourn when I wake up and have no drugs or money. Instead,  I get on my knees and thank my creator that he has given me another day full of joy that I may use to better myself and to love everyone around me. Life is wonderful sober, but as a recovering drug addict it is also still an everyday struggle. Addiction, like all other diseases, requires treatment and AA and the Lord provides that to me. I am still sick, but I am no longer afraid.

Entry #735
Growing Up
I remember when I was little; I used to get beat by my mom and brothers. I come from a household of three, because my oldest brother died when I was in the 6th grade from lung cancer. It was a very tragic moment in my life. Two years later my second oldest brother went to prison for murder. From there my life went downhill. All my life I grew up in a hood. My brothers were both gang members, so when I was little I looked up to them.  I joined the same gang too. My childhood is a blur to me but I remember bits and pieces. My mother was an abusive alcoholic. She was always so very violent. I never got to meet my dad. All my life I blamed my mom for that, but as I got older I started not to care about my dad. How I see it is it’s his loss, not mine. He’s the sucker, not me. My brothers ran away when I was six. They came back for me then I was ten. From there they raised me as the man I am today and I am proud of who I am

Entry #736
Growing up was tough, but I had to stay strong,
eating off black spoons mom melted drugs on.
Pops wasn’t around,
he was always locked in a prison,
but I still stood my ground
and cherished the life I was given.
Never feared the consequences for the way that I was living.
It was hard, no doubt,
taught to never cry and never pout.
Stealing money out her pouch,
while mom was nodded out on the couch.
I’m busy running the streets,
packing heat and all.
Quick to let loose thirty for no reason at all,
except we have different beliefs,
wear different colors in these streets,
so in our minds were enemies,
prepared to die for what we believe.
So tell me, what’s wrong with my environment,
why are we doing all this fighting,
when really we should be uniting?
The governments so corrupt,
got us turning on each other, trying to shoot each other up.
We need to get that shit out of our heads,
get acquainted and possibly become friends,
before we’re all filled up with lead,
lying on the corner dead.

Entry #737
All the things I don’t remember. All the things I wish we did. All the things I never got to do with you and all the things I never will. Excitement fills me when mom tells me stories about you. The things she said you did with me that I don’t remember. Why don’t I remember? She told me that when you got sick I would run outside every night and look up at the stars and pray for you to get better. I don’t remember that, but I do remember after you died looking up and wishing to the stars to bring you back. Why did God have to take you? Why couldn’t he see that I need you? I needed you all throughout my life and I will always need you but you’re not going to be there. I need your love, but now I’m stuck looking for it in a pipe and in strange men. I’m sad I’ve never got to be daddy’s little princess, but I guess everything happens for a reason, right? The thing that sucks is even now at 18 years old I still pray every night for God to bring you back. God, please let me remember.

Entry #738
Scraping, thumping, hissing…
are the thoughts locked deep in my head
pounding, banging, and begging to be freed.
Trapped inside the walls of my mind
are all the things that should not be said
locking them in, until one day that thought is dead
Behind the walls of my mind
two locked windows for eyes.
The only peep out of my mouth is usually a sigh.

Entry #739
Avoiding Eye Contact
       One day I went to the park, and saw someone who looked very familiar. She was sitting on a bench and looked very lost and alone. She looked at me like she needed a friend or somebody to tell her everything was going to be ok, but at the time I was lost and angry so I avoided eye contact. I felt bad but sometimes you just need to be heartless, so you don’t put yourself in harm’s way. What did she do so wrong in her past life?
       Young dumb on the run having fun with a gun, thinking I was on top waiting for my time to come...  Day after day avoiding contact with my family and probation officer. Oh well, I looked up to my older brother and he seemed to get by just fine he would always tell me life’s a gift, and it’s up to your to decide what you want to do with it.  I would think, “Do I want to be a slave and work a 9 to 5, or do I want to be my own boss, sling pearl and make the world go crazy, buy my own clothes, pay my own bills, drive nice cars and get all the ladies I want?” Once this entered my mind I instantly jumped to the streets, chip on my shoulder, took what little bit he gave me and doubled up… and doubled up..  And kept on doubling until I thought they would kill me.. Grinding… will I live to see tomorrow?  That was all I knew, until I was able to buy my own clothes and get my own dough, big guns and lots of drugs, loving this life that I chose.
  How’s my grandmother?
 I wouldn’t know, haven’t heard her voice in months. I heard she misses me and wants to know if I’m okay.  But at this point I’m a disappointment and wouldn’t dare to look the one I love in the eyes and tell her everything’s okay.  Life passes most people bye and they don’t even realize it. Months have gone bye and here I am, minute after minute, hour after hour…. money and the power, they say I got to learn but nobody’s hear to teach me. Never had a father figure in this life, raised by the streets, chasing my dreams. Got the 30 on my waist and a gleam in my eye.
Spending most this life in a gangster’s paradise. Lost and confused brought me to these cold brick walls and razor wire to remind me I’m incarcerated and away from the life that I once knew. 
 It’s sad that I pushed when I should’ve pulled. Caught in a chain of action that led me to think this was normal… Grandmas in the hospital. I can’t hold her and tell her I love her. She must be so lost and alone.  I know she needs a friend and someone to tell her it is going to be OK. I’m stuck in a state of confusion.. Trying to get by in this miserable cage... Thoughts tearing me down… tears running down my cheek, when am I going home?

Entry #740
I Just Wish
When I was four years old, my mother left my father. My dad really loved my mom, but I think he loved me more. I remember when my mom was trying to take me away from him. She was driving away and he jumped on top of the car and reached through the open sun roof to get me out. I vividly recall the way his arms looked when my mom closed the sun roof on them. After that, I lived with my mom for a little while, then with my dad, and then my mom again. When I was with my mom the second time, she’d take me to L.A. to see my dad every so often. I loved him so much. When I was 7, my dad killed himself. I remember wondering that if my mom stayed with him, he might not have taken himself away from me like that. I don’t blame her for it; I just wish we would have done something, anything to prevent it.

Entry #741
I have never seen him, but I need him. 
It hurts knowing I don’t have him in my life. 
I don’t understand why I can’t do what he asks me to do. 
I figure if he was the one who made me, he’s the one to aid me.
I only come to him when I need help.
It’s a highway with only one land; the other half is broken.
Why can’t I do it?
I know exactly what I have to do to be with him. Why can’t I do it?
I’m not worthy of his comfort.  Am I?
I don’t deserve him.  Do I?
His love is not for me.  Is it?
I wish I knew.  I wish I knew!

Entry #742
Visualizing my mother and father crying every night,
hoping their child will make it by.
Collect calls from their son,
and family visitations once a month.
I look into their eyes and all I see is tears.
Because losing their son to the system was their biggest fear.
Wishing time could go back to the days when I was young.
Trying to find out the reason why things went wrong…

Entry #743
What’s Going On
Before I started getting in trouble and getting on probation, I was a good kid. I was raised by my grandparents. At the age of 12, they decided I should live with my dad. I was very excited to live with him. I was born in another country and when my grandparents and I decided I should live with my dad, I moved to the US with my dad. I know my grandparents wanted me to have a better future when moving with him. I knew they were not just trying to get rid of me because they still love me and miss me. I was a really good behaved kid before. I moved with my dad and everything changed. The neighborhood I was living in was so quiet. It had no gang members, no killing, no stabbing, no criminality at all. My dad was always working and wasn’t really spending time at home much. I started getting involved in drugs. I started selling a lot and I was smoking a lot of drugs. I was doing a bunch of stupid stuff. I got on probation and started getting locked up. Probation usually kept me out of trouble because I knew my consequences. Now I have three more months left of probation, most recently locked up for an alcohol positive drug test.

Entry #744
 It’s been about six months since my parents split up and divorced. It was one of the hardest times in my life. Not only because they would fight constantly but because I would end up in the middle, having to pick a side. Mom or dad, I had to choose, which was not okay with me because I loved them both the same. The cool part was when they would fight they both would end up buying me some stuff and that was okay with me all the time. Don't get me wrong I hated the fact that my parents were getting a divorce, but the way I saw it was that if this was God's plan then there’s nothing I can do about it. I am just a pawn in the chess game.
 I still hope and pray that one day my parents would come to their senses. Now that I am older I see things differently. I see how my parents are two different types of people; my dad is the cool type of guy, chilled, goes to baseball games, and goes out for hot dogs and just not boring. Unlike my mom she’s the total opposite from dad, she’s all about work. She never has time to chill out with me; she’s always working or doing something concerning work which sucks because she never has time to spend with me.  The thing that gets on my nerves the most is the fact that my parents are never going to get back together, but it is understandable.
They can’t even be in the same room together without fighting and arguing and making things unbelievably hard. I am the only child; this really sucks too because I don’t have anyone to talk to about my problems. I just wish that my family was back to the way it was when my parents were together. My family may not have been the best family in the world, but it was my family and I love it the way it was back in the day when everything was fine and dandy.

Around 4th Grade
 I always knew that I was different from most kids my own age. I went through the struggle of being a child of divorce. It was hard growing up with only one parent to raise me but it made me the person that I am today.
 It started off as petty shit. My Dad would steal from my siblings and I to fuel his habit; he was addicted to heroin. My parents would argue until my mother would kick him out of the house for a while or until he was ready to come back with a different attitude. He always was here and there; sometimes he would be gone for weeks at a time, show up out of nowhere, and then disappear again. This was the relationship I shared with my father.
 It got real bad around my 4th grade year. That’s when I would witness abuse in the household. My father used to hit my mother and I was the only one who would interfere. I had two older sisters at the time but in these situations they would just stay in their rooms and listen to loud music and cry. I felt that it was up to me to do something because if I didn’t step in, nobody would. I’m not saying now that I hate my father but I feel that after so long of the same thing the love just goes away.
 The next year the separation was official. It did not feel like people said it would: that I would feel that I had something missing. I felt like I was relieved of a great burden. I felt that I could finally relax. The protector in me never really left.
 In the years to follow my two sisters and my mother struggled financially. The stress led my mom to lose her job and eventually the house we were renting. We were forced to live with my grandparents until my mother could find a stable job. It took about a year before she found a job and a house and we moved out.
 Now it’s just me and my mom. Although we both put those memories of pain and anguish behind us, we both share from what we went through in our lives.

Entry #746
Sober Living Environments (SLE’s)
Growing up in SLE’s,
eating nothing but juice and cheese.
I never learned any manners like thanks or please.
As I opened my door to some loud knock,
More often than not, it was the cops.
Getting shined on by bright lights,
Getting read my Miranda Rights.

Entry #747
You could say I was robbed of my childhood. You can also say I had no childhood. My parents split up when I was in 4th grade, but that’s not where it started. It turned out that the previous three years my father was cheating on my mother. I found out because my oldest brother told me. I asked my mom if it was true. She cried and said yes. I lost respect for my so-called father that day. Now when I think back to it, it all goes together. The work days, always going away on business trips, the nights my parents would have – it all made sense. My mother even caught my dad with another phone his b… got him. I know not to trust men, but there is still an emptiness in me that I want to fill. I’ve been used and hurt many times. I’m not safe in the world. Seeing what my mother went through, I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I know when to leave. All I can do now is try to forget the past even though I will never be able to forget the pain brought to me.

Entry #748
Two weeks before the first of the month money always ran out. My family of five would have nothing left to eat. Going to friends to ask “Please, just a little bit of food for my family.” Or sometimes calling dominos placing an order for a big party, about 20 pizzas. And then not picking it up because there’s no money. The next day I’d be going to the back of the store in the alley and digging into the dumpster, hoping for the pizza that I didn’t pick up. On a good day I’d be going home with the cold stinky pizza, asking the fam “Do you want some?” They would all say “Hell yeah, were starving.” It’s a struggle when there’s just not enough money to put food on the table.  Sometimes we’d be going to the Salvation Army, lining up next to all the homeless people, receiving dirty looks. There’d be people mumbling under their breath, saying “They have a house and clothes, taking food they don’t need.” But the truth is we needed the food and we got hand-me-downs from neighbors for all our clothes. What’s happening in my life sucks. I’m going to try to change it from a struggling life to a happy and livable one.
Entry #749
Right or Wrong
I am a child of divorce. My parents got married when my mom was 18, the same year she got pregnant. So, my mom had me once she turned 19 then maybe a year or two after I was born my parents got divorced. Although I can’t remember watching, I memorized all the stories I was told of the violence that went on in my house. There were all these stories of how my mom and dad would be arguing and then the next minute then they’d be blowing chunks. My mom always said my dad was horrible because he would give her black eyes, broken bones, and have boot prints on her face and chest. But then my dad’s stories were how she would kick him, scratch him, beat, and even stabbed him. I never really could say who was right or wrong because they would always say, “I would never lie to you.” But once I got older I realized that this was the biggest lie they told.

Entry #750
My childhood was far from average. I wasn’t like rich kids who grew up without life trauma or damage. I was a little kid cursing God like, “Damn it, why’d you stick me in a family that’s broke and can’t be managed?” My home was a place with little to no space. I had three younger siblings I had to look out for, chase, feed, clothe, and pull them apart when they were in each other’s faces. With no food in the house I took to stealing. Due to my age, I couldn’t get a job so I stepped up to drug dealing to pay for what mattered. For a nine year old, I didn’t fit into society’s standards. Eventually my grandma stepped up and swooped my siblings up to give them a better life. Mine was still full of pain and strife. I was stuck, trapped in a place where I felt so alone. The only time I spoke to my pops was when somebody snuck him in a cell phone. So it’s true, I grew up without kindness and surrounded by people with angry and violent mindsets, but I emerged from my poverty situation. And even though I’m locked down, I’m getting my education and moving up in life. I can do whatever it is I set my mind to. I’m over my strife.

Entry #751
Moms Fried Chicken
I remember when I used to be on my way home from my friend house on my bike. As soon as I hit my block, I knew something was cooking. Not just anything, but my mom’s famous fried chicken. Oh man, that’s the stuff and the way she cooked it just topped off KFC and POPEYE'S because she used corn meal and flour to fry it, so it was extra crispy with the sweetness of the corn meal. It was a little piece of heaven in each bite and on the side we had baked potatoes with corn and maybe some green beans or salad. It was just great when I walked in the door, like I could already taste it. After a few tenders I would be food over-dosed.
It was just great. I’m going to get some of that soon as I get home!

Entry #752
Let’s Talk about Love
Why does love have to be so confusing?  There are so many different types of love.  You have love for your family.  If you have children, and that love is the strongest of all. Then there is your first love, but we all know how that ends up.   Someone is always heartbroken.  You move on and end up loving someone else, and look back on that first love and say “What was I thinking?”  In the end, love ends with someone being hurt, and that someone is usually me.  Love is not fake, but I would rather not feel it. 

Entry #753
If you really knew me you would know I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get out of here.
If you really knew me you would know when I get out of here I’m going to be alone.
If you really knew me you would know all my enemies would love to see me fold.
If you really knew me you would know that I love getting my dough
If you really knew me you would know I hate getting locked up and feeling all alone.
If you really knew me you would know that I’ve always wanted a kid and I would never leave him/her alone.
If you really knew me you would know I always have a friend around to avoid loneliness.
If you really knew me you would know the only thing I know how to do well is sell drugs.
If you really knew me you would know I don’t like being alone. 

Entry #754
Childhood Memories
 I remember my sister being so nice to me all the time holding me and wanting to push me around in a stroller. I also remember my family being a normal family with birthday parties, family vacations, and just having family fun. I was about ten years old when my mom and dad started to have big arguments and fighting with each other. One day thing’s got serious and my dad was crying, asking me if I wanted to go with him. I didn’t want to because I didn’t know where he was going. That day he said bye and that he loved me. He left and didn’t come back. I felt so unwanted. I cried for some months, every night telling my mom I missed him. She said she had no way of getting in touch with him. We didn’t hear from him for about a year.
 One day he got my mom’s phone number, called her and asked if he could pick me up so he could spend time with me. She approved of it and I got ready to get picked up. I remember going to his friend’s house. She had kids and I had fun playing with them. Later on in the day he took me home to my mom. This went on for a while. He would come pick me up every other weekend until I didn’t want to go with him anymore. I felt he wasn’t doing what a father does for his kids. I just started doing whatever I wanted. Now I’m in the juvenile hall because I never let my mom tell me what to do. I grew up thinking I could do whatever I wanted. This is basically all I remember about my childhood.

Entry #755
Froot Loops and Fried Chicken      
I remember when I was maybe five or six and I lived on the top of a hill in our town. It was a Saturday and the first thing I did was go into the kitchen and look for something to eat. I found a box of cereal, Froot Loops to be exact. When I opened the bag and smelled the fruity tasty smell it felt like I was in heaven. I don’t know if that’s how others look at it, but I absolutely love them. I poured myself a giant bowl and ended up eating it in like five minutes. When I was done I went outside and rode my bike up and down my hill like five or six times. When I went inside I didn’t see that my tire was going flat from running over glass or something. Till this day I still don’t know what caused my tire to go flat. A bit later, my mom told me to run down the street to get my brother for lunch. We were having fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. So I hopped on my bike and started riding as fast as I could go down the hill. I didn’t notice my front tire was flat and I started swerving. The bike went to the right and out from under me. All I remember was going face first to the pavement. I woke up in the middle of the rode and my older brother was running towards me. He asked what happen and then realized my tire was flat. He started yelling, “Why the hell aren’t you wearing your helmet?” Then he picked me up and left my bike in the middle of the road. When we got to our house my mom started screaming asking what happen. My brother explained that I crashed because I had a flat tire. Now whenever I have Froot Loops or fried chicken I have a crazy flashback of when I crashed and cracked my head open.

Entry #756
My childhood was a nasty, filthy, tweaker infested memory. I was raised with the dirty and grimy. Shady is the way they made me. A child’s brain developed to a criminal mind is mine. I was corrupt before I even grew up. The ghetto and slums is where I’m from. I’m no longer ashamed of the places from which I came. If you ask, I’ll tell you to your face the horrible truth of a drug addict’s fate.

Entry #757
Strawberry Cheesecake
One of my favorite childhood foods has to be cheesecake. I have always loved cheesecake; all kinds. It didn’t really matter what kind of cheesecake it was. If you had told me it was some nasty food I hated but added cheesecake at the end of it, I just might have tried it.
This childhood food reminds me of my sixteenth birthday because I got a strawberry cheesecake all to myself. Eight slices and I got to eat the whole thing! My metabolism is fast, working so my health is good when it comes to eating fatty foods. I remember that day as my happiest.

Entry #758
Conflicting Thoughts
Damn dog, I’ve been stressing to the max. I pull my eyelashes and eyebrows out when I stress. I don’t know why. I don’t know why a lot of things happen, but I want to figure it out. I’m having a rough time. I mean yeah I get fed and got a warm place to sleep and probably have life pretty good compared some, but the fighting in my head makes life miserable. I’m confused, I don’t know what to do. Conflicting thoughts make it hard to make decisions. I feel stuck most of the time. White walls constrict, clocks tick, trying to get this all to make sense.

Entry #759
Candy In My Room
You can never get too comfortable being locked down. It sucks because you want to leave but you cant. You’re just stuck. Everyone always tells me that I don’t belong here. Every day I try my best to follow the rules, but somehow, someway, I find trouble. I got in trouble today for having candy in my room. It’s funny how lame this place can be. It’s funny how I always come back. Maybe I do belong in here. No way, nobody belongs locked down in a cage like an animal. I got 10 days left. I am ready to leave.

Entry #760
Wicked Thoughts
My mind started playing tricks on me. I started seeing things that weren’t even there. I had started to smoke crystal meth, twisting that pipe to release my stress. When I saw my parents argue it was tragic for me at my young age, so I started staying away from home so I wouldn’t have to feel. I saw my mom go through too much. Watching tears fall from her eyes hurt me inside. Knowing I was no use to stop my father from yelling at her, I continued to smoke dope till my father realized how skinny I started to get and he finally he seemed to stop arguing with my mom. They both have gotten along more recently. When they used to fight, I just didn’t want to sleep or eat. I was afraid for my mom. I was always there to make sure nothing would happen to her. Now I’m glad to say my parents changed their ways and stood by each other’s side to guide me through the right way. I’m happy to say I have their support here in juvenile hall.

Entry #761
Vinegar or Wine?
How can I show the D.A. that there’s a place in my heart open for change. That I’m seeing them as people, not just silhouettes on a range. I don’t pray, so all I can do is hope they recover, because that day I almost took the life of a little girl and her mother. Some may see incarceration as an unforsaken passage of time. But I like to think of this place as a barrel, and as us cons as the wine. As the days pass some will become smoother, more refined, altogether improved. Others will turn to vinegar, sour and bitter, a solution nothing can soothe. So will it be the former or the latter? That can only be defined by the ticks of the clock. Because some days I will be fine, but on others I’m faced with the mutiny of my thoughts.

Entry #762
Commercial Break
My childhood tasted like the sour patch kids. The reason I use this expression is because it’s like what the commercial said: “First they are sour, then they are sweet.” I like this statement and I can relate it to my childhood because I always had ups and downs. I had sour, sad, and down moments in my childhood that I didn’t like. But as I went on it got better, sweeter, and happier just like the candy.

Entry #763
Mom Raised Us
       I really didn’t have a father in my life. He went to prison when I was a young boy. I didn’t know because my mom told me he was always at work making money and I honestly didn’t care as much as I do now. I was with my mom my whole life. I didn’t mind it but all those years I just saw my mom. It wasn’t my mom’s fault my dad went to prison when I was like 6, maybe younger. My mom eventually told me, “I’m your mom and your dad.” I really didn’t mind it. My mom told me where my dad really was when I was like 10. I wrote him all the time until I got older. I wasn’t really tripping off it. I felt bad because he would send me so many letters and as I got older I would never write him back. I was so busy hanging with friends and stuff like that.
       It’s 2015 now and he got out this year. I was really excited to see him. I saw him but he couldn’t stay since he was paroled in Sacramento so it seemed the same to me, like he was still locked up. Now I’m here sitting in Juvie. My dad sent me a letter, the first letter I have gotten, to tell you the truth. That’s how I know my dad truly loves me and really cares. I thought I wouldn’t get any letters, but I did. I really appreciate him spending his time writing his son a letter. I get emotional sometimes thinking about my family. That’s all I think about in here is my family. It’s really hard not to think about them because every time I do I remember the great times we had and I miss them truly and dearly.
       I wish I could go back in time and change everything, like my dad going to prison. Maybe I would have had a better life or maybe not. Now I’m in here and nothing can change except me. My mom divorced my dad because he was in prison for 10 years and she got a new boyfriend.  Initially, I didn’t like it. My mom gained her feelings back for my father the first time he returned. We had a BBQ and we had fun. I wish it was like that every day, but after that BBQ he had to go back to Sac and then she was back with her boyfriend.  I got no problem with her boyfriend.  It’s different. Long story short, I had an alright childhood.  My mom raised us.
Entry #764
In Many Ways
As a child I’ve dealt with my parents getting divorced and it wasn’t a good feeling. I hated the fact that that my family wasn’t complete. My mom and dad were always fighting and arguing a lot so in the end it was just me, mom, my sisters, and my brother because mom kicked dad out the house. My parents getting divorced has shown up in my life in many ways. I’m sure I would have become more responsible and more mature rather than who I am today. I would have stayed out of trouble more by joining sports and doing good activities instead of doing drugs and being in the streets all day. So yeah, my parents getting divorced really did affect me in a bad way.

Entry #765
 My parents recently got a divorced. When I first found out my parents had broken up I was shocked. I felt down, sad, and depressed. My life had changed and I was not myself anymore. I wasn’t being me, the loud, happy, and outgoing kid. I was much quieter and I was just sad all the time. Also I’m a type of person who doesn’t let things bother me but this just killed me. At home my mom saw my behavior change dramatically. My best friends even saw what the divorce did to me. They were constantly asking me “What’s wrong” and “Are you okay?” I guess I thought that with the divorce was going to cause my parents to fight, argue, and hate each other forever. It didn’t end up like that. It never happened and I thank God for making my parents talk it out like adults are supposed to.
       As weeks passed by, I got back to my normal self. My parents got along fairly well which made me happy. I still got to see my dad. My dad still helps out instead of just leaving us with my mom, so she doesn’t have to raise three kids by herself. My dad doesn’t live with us anymore so I don’t have a dad around. I have a second mom which was my loving Nina. She helped out my mom a lot so it wasn’t as bad. I only get to see my dad once or twice a week.  I never did ask why my parents got a divorce. I didn’t want to get involved.
       We are still a family and find ways to be stronger. We might not be all together but at the end we still are a loving family. I love my dad and mom equally. This divorce didn’t change that. 
Entry #766
Alfredo Everywhere
       My childhood tasted like Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo because it’s an awesome tasting food. My life growing up was smooth, yet sometimes tangy and also very warm with great smells. Plus the noodles tell a little story about me: real flat and thin and doesn’t get in the way at all because they just dissolve with ease. And they are lengthy too, kind of like me because I’m tall. Along with the alfredo sauce stirred perfectly so there’s not too much on one side compared to the other. I was never in one spot most of the time; I was everywhere. To me, this is what my childhood tasted like.

Entry #767
Grandma’s Choppers
One smell I’ll never forget is so simple, but always made me so happy. It was the good old shake and bake pork chops as they sizzle and crisp up in the oven. My grandmother was the one person in my life that could make anything taste good. She could really make you get fat. There was always more and man oh man she always made them just right. When I would go over to stay she knew that’s what I wanted. It would fill that lovely comforting home with that aroma that was just to die for. If there wasn’t that smell in the air, I knew by the end of the night I would be able to talk her into it. I loved and appreciated that she knew it would cheer me up. That’s one smell that is imprinted in my brain! I’m looking forward to that day to come, where I can eat those pork chops again and smell that smell that I never did forget.

Entry #768
You Are Here
 If you really knew me you would know that growing up for me wasn’t easy. For as long as I can remember my dad has been in and out of the household and on and off of drugs. I can also remember my mom having several jobs just to keep the household running smoothly. I have three little brothers that live with me and a sister that does not. I am the oldest out of all of them.
       Growing up I was the problem child. I’ve been in what seems to be hundreds of fights and used a multiplicity of drugs, even when I was as young as 8 years old. When I was about 12 is when the more serious issues started coming up like popping pills and things of that sort. I have made a lot of bad choices in my life and regret most of them.
       When I was 15 my grandmother died and she was the one who basically raised me while my mom was out working. This devastated me and put me in a very dark place. I felt lost and hopeless. While I was in this dark place I would lash out at other people…even strangers that I knew nothing about. I would roam the bike trails late at night looking for trouble.  I found it. 
       I would look for someone to rob or just beat up till I knew they were unconscious. When I hit the age of 16 I started to mellow out and make a little smarter decisions, quitting all drugs other than weed. I started going to school and getting good grades and making better choices. Then out of nowhere I felt like I had to do something, something stupid, something that I knew would get me caught up. I got put on deferred entry of judgment probation because it was my first time getting caught for anything serious. After a while I got used to my probation and made the mistake of skipping school for a day, which led to me getting locked up. Well, here I am.