One thing I have come to realize is that, regardless of how much change I make or what I do, I will always be judged for my past actions. Many people do not want to say it and will not say it … but the truth is, once you are in prison, you are forever under scrutiny.
Some people don’t see me as a child who went through over twenty foster homes and placements. Or as a child whose mother was murdered when I was 9, or whose father was physically abusive. Or as a child who was abused while in the foster care system, denied and deprived of any real chance to get the help I needed. Instead, some people see me as a “super predator” who cannot be rehabilitated and who will always have violent propensities.
When I was incarcerated as an adult at the age of 16, I was not surprised that no one ever came to visit me. Sometimes I wonder what it is like to be loved, liked, or even appreciated. These things seem foreign to me, but I have always tried to make it seem as if they did not matter to me. When you grow up in foster care, you are considered lucky if you are loved; most of the time, foster parents look at you as a job responsibility, not a part of their family. Many times I found myself isolated and alone with no one to really talk to. Yes, children get social workers, but the truth is that most social workers are overworked, and even if they care they will not remember what was said to them a week later by one of the two hundred kids on their caseload. So I decided not even to talk to them. I buried my emotions, and psychologically I began to build a wall. That wall turned into a block that both allowed me to accept the abandonment and abuse and also blocked out real love.
But no matter how hard I tried to act as if I did not want to be loved, I still did. I knew that love existed, and I wanted it. As I got older, I found myself investing my emotions in people who did not care, into things that had no worth, and into bad relationships with people who did not even consider my emotions.
Here I am now, 22 years young, and I have done most of my time locked away, wanting to have someone to confide in or just build with. While in solitary confinement, the feelings of abandonment are exacerbated, and they can bring anyone to a new low or even a breaking point. I try to bury myself in my writing, my legal work, and my advocacy, but the feelings of abandonment are always with me. I can still feel the effects of being unloved, and I wonder if I always will.