In this series, we share intimate stories written by the men and women living or working in our nation’s prisons. Poignant and captivating, these stories are a testament to the human spirit. They show our capacity, no matter our background, experiences or trauma, for self-compassion and ultimately, healing.
When I was 16 months old, my father was arrested on a string of burglary charges and eventually sentenced to 16 years in a California State prison, leaving my mother to support my 3 older sisters and myself on her own.
Starting a lucrative escort service and working as one herself, she indulged in freebase and cocaine to fuel her long nights of hustling and pimping. This ended in drug induced psychotic episodes, where she would turn abusive and suicidal, especially dealing with long lines of dysfunctional relationships and abusive boyfriends.
Many times I watched her slit her own wrists, passing out in a puddle of her own blood, or attempting to blow her brains out, if she could only figure out how to fire her boyfriend’s gun.
I was my father’s son, her only boy, and she saw too much of my father in me, and didn’t hesitate in letting me know how she despised me verbally and physically. Sleeping off her drug binges, I was a happy 4-year old boy playing with my sisters for a short time.