JH Artwork

JH Artwork

Writing Exchange 2006-2017

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

Planned Exchanges 2017: December 15

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you really knew me you would know.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

This month, students were given the challenge to write FICTIONAL stories that are EXACTLY 59 words…not one more or less.  Some were entered in the CNR Fiction 59 Contest and results for that come out on November 2:  

Entry #1470
Jonathan was miserably struggling for hours across the open desert, sweat dripping from his face; heat of the sunlight impaled his skin like sharp needles. About to collapse, hopeless, he saw something glimmering in the distance: a 200 foot tall delicious cappuccino.  With that he pushed forward.  Now his bad circumstance involved climbing to the top of the cup.

Entry #1471
Little Billy’s Salt Shaker
The snail was having  a wonderful day until, suddenly a white crystal substance started to fall out of the sky like God Himself was scratching dandruff from his scalp. The next thing Mr. Snail knew, he was bubbling up into endless oblivion. The last thing he saw past his slimy antennae was the hairless, baby-face of God Himself.

Entry #1472
Girl Next Door  
Since she arrived, Hannah rode a blue bike to school. I can almost picture her now.  Right here. Backpack on, coasting down the driveway. Her front wheel turns and she pedals past me on the sidewalk. I watch her ride down the long stretch of pavement, passing trees, parked cars, and houses. I stand and watch her image disappear.
Entry #1473
The Note
Adam set his third, last baby tooth underneath the pillow. He was awakened by a tugging feeling. Knowing the rules, he pretended to be asleep so he could get a glance at the Tooth Fairy. When he tried to look for the money; it wasn’t there. There was just a tiny note saying, “You can’t fool the Tooth Fairy.”

Entry #1474
Penance for a Widowed Scrooge
People went to Barnaby’s Pub for Boof, the town fool.  He could be found there singing, dancing and smiling. People tipped him generously. What people didn’t know was that every night Boof walked back to his lavish mansion, stopping at his well where down went his tip money. He sighed, “Oh Darlene, you always said I should smile more…”

Entry #1475
Mother really only had three rules: A) no bad grades, B) no trouble, and C) no touching.  A + B + C = admission to a good college. This was an incontrovertible direct mathematical proof. It wasn’t a theory. It was the only possible outcome. I used to believe that too. That was before I started to wonder why.

Entry #1476
It started as a dare. I’m supposed to walk through a room of mirrors. Upon each one I see a different person. I look behind me, to see that nobody's there. Lost in each face, the eyes stay the same. The deeper I go the darker it gets. I realize the reflections are all pieces of who I’ve become.

Entry #1477
Killer Unknown
There was a deadly killer on the loose. Suspicious people were in awe, wondering where the bodies were coming from. The bodies were left out in the open, for everyone to see. They were so curious. Why was the killer doing this? Often, at every crime scene, there were hairballs, scattered all over. But, Sampson just strutted away, purring.

Entry #1478
Halloween Night
On October 31, 2017 Max was driving home and saw a girl walking alone in the rain. Her name was Molly and he offered her a ride home. The next day Max went back to Molly’s house and there’s people outside. Max asked them if Molly was home. They told him that Molly had been dead for five years.

 Entry # 1479
Eternal Loneliness
I remember waking up every Saturday morning to the music blasting and breakfast cooking. Now I awake to sounds eternal loneliness. Now that my father is long gone, I wonder when he will return home. I decide to go for a walk. As I walk I see I’m lost. In the distance my father he walks. I’m also gone

Entry #1480
All in a Dream  
Delicious wisps of smoke tickled the senses in the boy’s nose. His very soul was being massaged by the heavenly scent. He has reached Nirvana. Floating over the transparent sea-green surf, sharks and fish frolic in harmony. Clouds smile. The view is sublime. Good smoke. He’s in bed, realizing his house is burning down. Not good smoke. Bad.

Entry #1481
One For Each Wrist  
Walking into a Rolex store, everyone’s got eyes on Tommy and his disgusting clothes. The salesman called for security. Security tapped Tommy on the shoulder and told him to get out. The salesman looked at Tommy all crazy, “Which one??” Tommy pointed at the most exclusive Rolex in the store. He pulled out a MasterCard Black, and bought two.

Entry #1482
On his way to work one day John grabbed his keys and went outside. When he got out the door he realized he was in outer space. Floating around, he didn’t know what to do. He decided to pull his phone out and called in sick. Since he had his phone he Ubered a ride home in a spaceship.             
Entry #1483
For Those Easy to Reach Places,Too
Brenda Brown lives in the college dorms. While showering, she gently applied some generic apricot face scrub. With eyes pinched, she reached for the shampoo.  As she thoroughly lathered it into her luscious brown hair, her scalp began to burn...locks of her hair falling off. Terrified, her eyes open wide just long enough to read the label. “NAIR.”

Entry #1484
As John stands there waiting, the tornado gets closer. Destruction making its way toward him. He’s ready though. His powers are ones to defend. The whole village stands behind him as they’re sealed into his invisible dome. The tornado is closer now, pushing against him. He weakens, and the storm breaks through killing everyone except him. Eventually he confesses.

Entry #1485
Clay Piece  
William sculpted a model of the most perfect woman he could imagine. The next day she was at the kitchen table eating eggs benedict. She started sobbing because she too felt lonely.  She looked up suddenly, saw William, and gasped. They had a year to themselves. After falling in love, they both slowly transformed into clay works of art.

Entry #1486
The Great Dragon
Yatchua woke up in a dimly lit cave, struggling to remember what happened the night before. Then he recalled the battle, the dragon. The sound of its roar, a thunderstorm.  The divine beauty of its golden scales. As he looked along the cave floor, he saw it was as massive as a redwood.  Now, as still as one too.

Entry #1487
Thursday Night Torture
Max was fighting with his parents so he decided to run away. Passing scary streets one by one, he was thinking how much he hated his parents and how they treated him: making him take out the trash every other Thursday night. Realizing he had no means of transportation, he called his mom to assist him in running away.   

Entry #1488
Shedding Skin
Scorcher the gifted snake learned to talk at 4 years old. Scorcher went to bed in his little hole. When he woke, he felt kinda weird. He went to go do his hair and the mirror started talking to him: “You don’t have any hair!”
“Don’t mess with me, mirror!”
Scorcher threw it against the wall, angry, but vindicated.

Entry #1489
Accidentally Sold a Soul
At the bus stop waiting for the greyhound, Billy Corbel strums his guitar. “Something’s missing,” a hypnotizing voice whispers. Billy jerks, and almost drops his guitar. “Let me tune that for you,” the woman beckons. Billy is unable to refuse. Not only does the mysterious woman tune his guitar, she gives him a kiss. Soon enough, Billy was famous.

Entry #1490
Burnt Nicotine  
He feels the grass on his legs but that doesn’t bother him as much as the smell of the burnt nicotine. It makes the world spin, as the razor wire fence goes round and round super-fast. A pounding migraine enters. The staff yells, “Get to running”. Staggering, he falls face first into the mud, brought down by his addiction.

Entry #1491
Once there was a boy who had a Coyfish named Coy. The boy ran to the pet store to get a fish friend for Coy and got another Coyfish named Moimoi. On his walk, he met with a friend who took him and Moimoi home. They both have new friends.

Entry #1492
Cruising the Lunch Line  
She is Latina; about 5’9; with brown hair; blue eyes; a gorgeous personality. John tells his friend, “Wow! She is really beautiful,” quietly looking at her. When she stares back at him, John gets huge butterflies going through his skinny stomach. A big grin spreads across his face, ear to ear. She tells him to come sit with her.

Entry #1493
Locked Away
Ruby misses the smell of tobacco. Waking up at 6 every morning to take a rushed shower. Right after that they tell her what to do, to go to her room! Behind that locked door sitting on the concrete bed, counting the bricks in her room. Waiting for them to release her so she can get her tobacco fix.

Entry #1494
As he’s walking the very dark street he notices a car moving  towards him. He starts to walk faster until he’s in a sprint.  He keeps looking behind him until he’s in a daze. He looks up and realizes he’s been hit by...a still pole. Then his friends get out of the car and asks if he’s okay.

Entry #1495
The Likely Candidate of Anger  
Jimmy Jackson is joyfully flamboyant, florid, and extravagant. These types of characteristics express his true personality. But today his attitude and even posture show that he’s infuriated with something. He was sentenced 180 days. That’s it, that’s his dilemma. He thought to himself “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” Jimmy quickly got back to his flamboyant self.

Entry #1496
Will has court today. In court he’s sitting there smirking and flirting with his lawyer. As the judge gets up to read his charges he scoots down his glasses and looks at Will. The first charge he anticipated: out past curfew. But, the second, murder, he didn’t see coming and would leave him incarcerated for many years to come.  

Entry #1497
Michelle’s monster was everywhere, killing her from the inside out. Once it got her, it controlled her, like a puppet on a string. It made her break into sis’s piggy bank, made her family repeatedly look down on her. First it was quite friendly and made her feel great; then she started losing weight, friends, appetite, family, and life.

Entry #1498
Accidentally Facing Fears
Billy was scared. He saw it. Now it’s gone. The eight-legged creature disappeared in the cracks of Billy’s brown and black dresser. Scared to move, Billy lay on his twin race car bed. The spider mimicked his frozen stature. Later, he wakes, slowly moving off his bed. He hears a pop, crunch. The spider was right to be afraid.

Entry #1499
Bobby’s Cancer Walk
Bobby had been walking in the tunnel for days. The dare to run through the tunnel was too much to resist. Once Bobby got in the tunnel he could see the light at the other end. But no matter how far he walked, he never came close to reaching the light. He turned to find an eternity of isolation.


Entry #1500
More Than Using
                I was introduced to drugs by my cousins. They were always using drugs around me and I got pressured into using one day. I always looked up to them but they got comfortable and started using around me. I got used to people using. The first drug I tried was Marijuana, but after using that drug the choices kept expanding and became dangerous.     
                Sometime I would have days filled with using drugs with my cousins. There were nights I wouldn’t even know where I was. Some days we all would wake up in apartments or houses where we didn't even know the owner. There would be days when I would be blacked out all day. I just didn’t want to do anything, but use drugs and my life was going downhill.
                I was spending a lot of money on them and missing school and other appointments. Drugs were taking control of my life. Being incarcerated has helped me with my drug problem and showed me life is worth way more than using.

Entry #1501
Praying for Strength
                When I was fifteen years old, I tried meth for the first time on New Year’s Eve, 2015, two days before my sixteenth birthday. A lot of people I knew were doing it at the time. Some of them were even family members. I wish I could say that I tried it and never went back to it, but, sadly that’s not even remotely close to how my story goes. Less than three months later I found myself sixteen and pregnant as well as in a relationship with a guy who shot up meth and smoked heroin on a regular basis.
                At that point in my life though I had only tried meth once and constantly was begging and fighting with my boyfriend at the time to stop using. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, I had a miscarriage and as unprepared as I was, it crushed me. After leaving my doctor’s appointment that day I began using on a regular basis. In May of 2016, I was sitting in my bedroom with my aunt, boyfriend and one of our friends when the homie accidentally shot himself. My boyfriend ended up going to prison, considering he was on probation at the time and the house was raided.
                After that I became even more depressed and fell further into drugs. I was now using constantly and in November I ended up crashing my car and getting a DUI. I’m currently in juvenile hall serving six months in a substance abuse program. I just hope and pray that I’ll have the strength to stay sober after I get out in December.

Entry #1502
The Cost
I was 12, and in sixth grade when I started to smoke weed and drink. My parents always told me to stay away from stuff like that, but of course I never listened. If only I could have looked into the future to see what kind of person drugs would turn me into. I wouldn't have touched them.
                It all started when I would go to the park and hang out with friends. I would just hang out while they smoked weed and drank. I wasn't really into that kind of stuff. They would always tell me stuff like, "Just try it and you'll love it," or "Just try it this one time." What they didn't tell me was, "Just try it at the cost of your whole life," or " Try it once and you’ll be addicted for years to come.” So, of course, one day I said, "F-it, one time won't hurt." Little did I know that one time would lead to more times, and the more times would lead to the end of my childhood altogether.
                So here I am now in the eighth grade and I'm fourteen. Yes, I am still doing drugs and now it's not just a bit here or there, it's all day every day, just so I can make it through the day. It's just not weed and drinking, it's also many different kinds of pills. I started with the pills in seventh grade, but that became something I do now more than weed. How I thought something so small could make you feel so big and good, little did I know pills were making the end of my care-free youth come so much quicker.

Entry #1503
I was in love with powder and doing the wrong things.
I remember going out on day and staying up for four.
I heard I was ugly and didn’t mean anything from boys.
I saw my cousin shoot himself in the head.
I worried that I would never do right for my mom.
I thought I was going to die because of my choices.
But, now I want to change.

I am a growing, brilliant and worthy individual.
I think there is always a time to turn your life around.
 I need to go to eat Navy and get out of this town.
I try to stay focused and only think positive in any and all situations.
I feel overjoyed because me and my mom are prospering.
I forgive her for introducing me to powder.
Now I can change.

I will stay on track and do what it takes to succeed.
I choose to stay away from powder and all other drugs.
I dream of being a forensic psychologist.
I hope God will give me the strength to push on.
I predict I will be successful and a striving young adult.
I know I will be beautiful and prosperous.
I will change.

Entry #1504
Always There
It was always there, following, haunting;
I didn't want it till I started falling.
When I gave in, it trapped me with my sin.
I gave myself away, and was forced to stay;
Nothing could help me, it was too late.
Always awake, figuring something I could make.
Under a name full of blame, came pain till I was drained;
There was nothing to keep me sane.
The Lady was my main, and took all my strain.  

Entry #1505
Comfort Me
                Meth was my drug of choice. I was introduced to the drug by my ex-girlfriend. I started using at the age of fifteen. I am now eighteen years old. I didn't plan on using drugs as long as I did, it’s just that I used it to self-medicate.
                I went through a lot as a kid. I didn’t feel like I had anyone on my side. I felt alone. My mom worked nights and couldn’t really be there for my little sister and me like she should’ve been. While Mom was at work we’d have to clean the house, wash all the laundry and cook for ourselves at the ages of thirteen and fourteen years old.
                I used drugs because I was used.  I was self- medicating to get rid of the pain that I felt. Drugs turned my life upside-down. I used to get rid of the shame, guilt, disgust, and hurt that has always been a part of my life.
                While on meth I did a lot of bad things. I caused a lot of pain to myself and my family. Mom wasn’t around to comfort me and my big sister wasn’t there to talk to. I had no one to talk to, to get the weight off of my chest.
                Now because of my drug use I was sentenced to six months in an in-custody drug program. I’ve been sober for six months and I am ready to make a change in my life. I’ve realized that using drugs is not the best thing to do when you feel in need of comfort.

Entry #1506
Vanishing Childhood
                My childhood was good while it lasted. When I was a toddler, my family would do fun activities like go to the lake, barbecue and go on trips. Everything was normal and good until my mom found out my dad was cheating on her. I loved both equally, so I wasn’t going to pick sides, especially, being so young.
                I had three other sisters with two older and one younger. My two older sisters already knew what was going on. My parents split up after fifteen years of being together. That affected me in a way that I didn’t realize.
                At eleven I started smoking to wipe away the anger I had inside. I eventually stopped caring about school and started skipping classes thinking I was a cool kid. By the end of the 6th grade, my dad got deported which had a huge impact on me. All I did was smoke and drink, wishing my pain would go away. I stopped going to school after that and would go to parties thinking I’m grown.
                I missed out on all my middle school activities because I wanted to be in the streets. All I wanted was my Dad back in my life, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. My mindset changed. I was thirteen and trying to act eighteen. I enjoyed my childhood, but I wish it had turned out different.

Entry #1507
High Score
My childhood was extremely fun; I never wanted  to grow up. My favorite game as a kid was cops and robbers. The kids in my neighborhood and I would use the whole block to play the game. There would be about 20 of us and the game would keep on going until the other team gave up. The game would go on for hours; sometimes we would play until midnight if there was no school the next day. Sometimes our parents would come out yelling at us to go home. I wanted to stay that age forever; there was no stress. As I start to grow up there are more things to worry about. It was in Jr. High that I started falling apart because I started to hang out with the wrong crowd. I was put on probation for robbing someone for something that I didn't even need. This time it wasn’t a game. Life is too fast to make mistakes. I can't live this life forever.  

Entry #1508
Happier Days
My childhood was a struggle. It was rough. Of all my friends I had the worst childhood because my mom and dad were never there to show me how to do anything. I say it was rough because I grew up always thinking and wondering if my mom or dad would ever show back up so I could live a normal life with them, but they didn't. I grew up with my grandma. She was always trying to show me what's good in life and what not to do. If I had the chance to change my childhood I wouldn't because I wouldn't be the same person I am today. That struggle I went through made me proud. It made me realize that no matter what you go through there'll always be better and happier days waiting for you in the end.

Entry #1509
Influenced To Try
I got introduced to drugs by my dad and brother. They would always tell me to never use or they would beat my ass, but it was really hypocritical; they did it around me and I got influenced to try. My first time using me was with my so called friend. It made me feel unstoppable and like I could do anything at that moment. Then, it got really bad. I would use any excuse to leave my house for some money. I’d even take something to trade for meth. I would miss out on visits with my mom in prison. I wouldn't visit my dad in county jail, or even my brother in the hall. I would steal things from friends and family just to get it. I was only 13-years-old when I first started. I looked up to my friends... well more like they looked up to me for some reason because I always came through with my whip to take them somewhere to hotbox the car with meth smoke. I started to smoke heroin with a buddy. It started to mess up my life from the very first hit. After those days of doing meth and heroin I got stripped while I was coming down, asleep at a trap house for my 380. A month later I started on Xanax pills and caught a felony charge. Now I'm in the hall for a couple years.

Entry #1510
The Good Life
While I was growing up, I saw people doing drugs and drinking. I was eight-years-old when I smoked my first blunt. I was hanging out with people that did it for fun. I started drinking and smoking on the daily. By the time I was twelve I would ditch school and go smoke or drink. Never did I once stop and think. I just wanted to get loaded. I would go get high and lost in my thoughts. I started to spend lots of money trying to get high. Before I knew it I was selling just to get by. I was fourteen-years-old, pushin weight like I was thirty. I thought I was the man, doing everything I wanted. Two years later I was living with a girlfriend selling every drug I could get my hands on. I was sleeping with my girl when the cops kicked in the door. They grabbed me right out of bed. They ripped through everything of mine. I was only sixteen when they charged me with sales, trafficking, and possession. Now I've been locked up for a while, and I'm just learning my lesson! All I ever wanted was to have a good life

Entry #1511
New Family
           I look back to my childhood as both good and bad because, when I was born, my biological mom and dad were meth and heroine heads; they didn't care about anything other than drugs. I was taken away from my parents when I was eight months old, when they went to prison. When I was growing up I was in foster care until I was three. I got picked up by my current parents. They’ve been the greatest, best, most fun family I could ask for. No one can replace them.
                   My parents let me do my own thing. They let me go places on my bike. As I grew up they got less and less strict. They gave me a phone and trusted me to check in every couple of hours. It felt good growing up and the freedom of my bike. My bike was life!  I was on my bike every minute possible.

Entry #1512
My homie and I smoked some marijuana, drank liquor together. I was only 13 when I first started using drugs. My parents really never gave a shit about me. The only person that was there for me was my Uncle. He was the person that taught me how to fight and stand up for myself. I didn't have an easy childhood. It was unbearable, actually. But I managed and I had to grow up at very young age. I didn't even have a chance to be a kid. I was fighting bigger people than me and doing what I could to get by in life. I had to fight my mom’s boyfriend for putting hands on her. It was not good growing up the way I did. Feeling like it’s your job to protect and take care of your mom like I did was awful. It was a bad environment and I had to deal with a lot of things that no kid or teenager should deal with.

Entry #1513
A Different Me
  I have not had a terrible experience with drugs such as overdosing, but it has affected my life in many ways. I lost some of the people closest to me and I started making new friends who were into the same habits that I was. The people close to me would always call me and tell me that I didn't have to be doing drugs, that I was better than that, and that they would help me. But I let the drugs get to me and pushed away the people who tried to help. After I got locked up I realized what drugs had done to me and the way I had treated people; now the people I love the most see me as a different person and I've never felt the same.

Entry #1514
        When I was introduced to pot I was just twelve. In seventh grade the person that introduced me to this head high drug was a kid in the so called “cool kid” group. He was an eighth grader. I looked up to him and this group. My aunt was the principal, so the cool kids would have me do things for them that other students couldn't do. In return they would let me smack their pot and let me be a part of their group.. I made bad decisions. I started to drift off with the group and ended up getting expelled. Then I found alcohol.  

Entry #1515
Be Happy
I love bmx; it’s probably the most fun thing to do that involves two wheels. I started riding bmx two years ago and I have loved doing it ever since. I have learned how to do new stuff and it helps me dedicate my mind to something. Back in my freshmen year I came to school and I saw kids doing it and I wanted to try it. I made friends with people that rode bmx and they got me into it. It took a while but I ended up getting my first bmx bike and I started learning the basic tricks. Bmx is just a getaway for my mind. I just put my earbuds in and ride and it's like there's nothing else around me. I think other people should give it a try. I plan to do it for the rest of my life. I feel proud when I do it cause I finally have something that can help me relieve stress and just be happy.