Writing Exchange 2006-2015

This blog was created to display some of the powerful writing being done by incarcerated youth. Participants currently include juvenile hall facilities in Lassen, Shasta, 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.

2015 Exchanges: November 18; December 16

2016 Exchanges: January 27; February 24; March 30; April 27 May 25

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Entry #1007
Wishing Things Turned Out Different
I remember being a little girl, happy as can be.
Growing up with no father, mom all strung out on meth.
I remember feeling alone, not loved, non-important.
The horrible things I would go through as a little girl.
I remember seeing my mom hitting herself, crying her eyes out.
I remember growing older having nobody but my brother.
I remember my dad coming home, but going back to the cold cell’s within a month.
I remember my mom’s face and voice as she hit me repeatedly blaming me for thing’s I didn’t do. 
I remember screaming, crying, not wanting to live anymore.
My brother holding me telling me thing’s to make me feel better.
I remember being kicked just because I was hungry.
I remember when I hit my first blunt.
I remember not caring about anything anymore.
I remember going to the fourth grade and meeting a girl I now call my best friend.
I remember my life starting to change, well as I thought.
I remember being 14 and getting a call from my best friend in the middle of the night crying, telling me her dad had passed away.
I remember the next year I was at the age of fifteen when I thought I could trust one of my oldest brothers.
I remember “My brother” coming into my room while I was sleeping and feeling his touch.
I remember crying inside scared to tell anyone.
I remember telling my best friend and only her.
I remember hiding all my feelings inside, not saying how I truly felt.
I remember feeling my parent’s failed to protect me.
I remember feeling it was my fault.
I remember being so hurt.
I remember drowning my feeling’s into a liquor bottle with my best friend.
I remember isolating myself from my family.
I remember coming home drunk fighting my parent’s, saying hurtful things and trying to end my life.
I remember getting locked up my first time.
I remember getting locked up became something to do.
I remember my mom and dad so hurt.
I remember my parent’s changing their lives for our family.
I remember being happy about that, but still dying inside dwelling on the past.
I remember feeling like juvi was nothing and the judge giving me so many chances.
I remember not going home at nights from being so drunk.
I remember waking up in a stranger’s house, scared.
I remember alcohol becoming my closet friend.
I remember drinking my last bottle with my best friend.
I remember thing’s getting out of control; seeing red and blue lights.
I remember waking up in the hall wondering what happened.
I remember going to court thinking I was getting another free pass.
I remember seeing the tears in my parent’s eyes as they watched their little girl walking back through the metal doors instead of the doors that lead to freedom.
I remember sitting in the hall with my best friend for six months, wishing thing’s turned out different.

Entry #1008
If you really knew me, you would know that I come from a long line of family drug use and before I brought myself together, I was a coke addict. I got so bad that I started to use LSD and Acid. Violence keeps me moving and helps me get my anger out, once my fists lock they stay locked and this scares me.
If you really knew me you would know that... my mom isn't the ideal mother that she should be. I haven't had the best support from my peers.  My life hasn't really been the greatest but I've always managed to come along, even when times at home were tough. I dropped out of school when I was barely a seventh grader, and I still regret it to this day because I am now two years behind.
 If you really knew me you would know that... I put my walls so high up that I'm not sure if I'll ever let anyone get close to me. I try not to show so much emotion to anyone, because I'm afraid that if I do I'll get hurt and betrayed. I've lost many people in my life because of this.
If you really knew me you would know that... My mother looks at me all crazy because I want better for my life and I WANT to succeed. But she doesn't want that for me. She wants me to follow into her footsteps and become another unsuccessful person in our family tree.
If you really knew me you would know that... Today I'm working on turning my life around. I'm working my ass off in school. I'm sober as all hell and I can feel myself getting stronger day by day. I feel so good about myself. I have people who care now, myself esteem is boosted and it’s escalating by the minute. And I thank the people who have come into my life to give me the help and support I needed.
If you really knew me you would know that all my life I've ran from all of my problems, my help, and most importantly my life...

Entry #1009
I Remember
I remember when we would get drunk to feel numb.
I remember when we were all friends and nothing could go wrong.
I remember when we would do stupid stuff, just to have a little bit of fun.
I remember when I first saw you so high, you blew out a cloud like a cloud in the sky.
I remember when you told me I made you feel safe.
I remember looking into your eyes and I could see you wanted to escape.
I remember when I told you I’m here to help.
I remember seeing you so happy to be clean.
I remember when I told you it’s just you and me.
I remember when they put the cold steel bracelets on my wrists.
I remember thinking you’ve probably already left me.

Entry #1010
Counting Days
Burnt bridges and sunken stones,
Dark memories of a broken home,
Regretful actions of a wrong took path,
Hurtful words I can’t take back.

Friends lost
Dreams tossed
A lonely road is all I got,
Wishing, hoping, counting days until my life will change,

You think you know me but you don’t,
Emotions pouring like a deep slit throat,
Cut me up and wear my skin
And show me how to live again.

 Entry #1011
Empty House
I was born on the floor of an empty house
At a day old I was rushed to the hospital struggling to breathe
Sexually abused at only a month old
I was sick all the time as a kid
The state of California took me away
I remember being in various foster care homes
I remember being adopted and meeting my new family
I remember my cat Oreo and my dog Davis
the holidays and expensive birthday parties
I remember starting school 
I remember my Grandpa Jeffery passing away
I remember my big happy family
I remember mom and dad starting to fight
all the emotional hurt and pain
I remember the divorce
and my life turning upside down
I remember the visits with dad
My little sister being born
I remember moving
I remember going to juvenile hall
I remember going to a group home for a year and a half
I remember going to San Francisco
I remember when my relationship with mom stopped.

Entry #1012
90 Days To Think
I remember growing up in a bad situation. Listening to my mom yell, telling me to get the kids ready for school.
I remember hearing a loud knock on my front door, it was probation. They walked to my brothers room and took him away.
I remember coming home after school to my mom passed out on her bed with drugs and pipes laid out around her like ornaments on a Christmas tree.
I remember my mom going to the casino for days on end and it felt like she would never return.
I remember getting high for the first time. I would do it just to forget but all I can do now is remember.
I remember telling myself I was going to quit selling but I wanted money.
I remember the first time I came in here. I told myself I wouldn't come back when I left but here I am again.
I remember sitting in front of the judge, telling me I got another 90 days in the place I hate the most.
I remember...

Entry #1013
I miss the old days when it was just me, mom, dad, and my ten siblings. We were all set back then, chillin’, living life, until my mom got caught smoking dope. I miss the woman whose name was supposedly mom. She’s been gone…gone for wat seems like too long. My dad got caught up and is now in prison for what seems like life. I miss the old days when I was stuck at home. Now, I’m stuck in a jail cell with no more goals. I wish I could have stayed out, lived life with no doubts, but maybe that’s just wat happens when your parents are gone for so long.

Entry #1014
I wish that I could go back in time,
that I could change the past.
I wish that I could have stayed out of trouble,
that I could have enjoyed my childhood.
I wish that I could have spent more time with my family, instead of friends.
I wish that I could go back to the day I lost a close friend.
I wish I could have valued the times I spent with my friend.
I wish that I could have my wishes come true.

Entry #1015
Mom’s Meals
I miss going out with my little brother out to the soccer fields and playing soccer and football with him and watching him enjoy every minute. I miss being home and enjoying good dinners with my family as we laugh and live in the moment. I miss going out with my girl Friday night and enjoying her company while we sit and relax and watch movies.  I miss making fast money, hitting the mall the same day, and buying stuff. I miss sitting at home and drinking a cold soda while I play video games with my little brother.  I miss staying up late on the phone and talking about everything with my girl. I miss relaxing on a Sunday afternoon with my cousins and enjoying the laughs and stupid stuff we do. I miss my mom’s meals that she cooks every day, being full and relaxing watching TV. I miss going out every weekend and getting home exhausted on Sunday.

Entry #1016
A Failed Attempt
A little girl
Thirteen years old
Standing in a closet with a noose
A simple scarf
Tied in a loop
Eyes burning with tears, ready to die
Ready to give up life
Not caring who will find her hanging
In the closet
She is crying
Now placing the noose around her neck
Ready to kick
The box away
To allow the scarf to end her life
She kicks it now
The noose pulls taught
The light is slowly drifting away
The room now fades
Her lips tingling
She is smiling now, she welcomes it
The room goes dark
It all goes black
There’s no turning back now, it’s done
That’s what she thought
While hanging there
Before the light faded from her eyes
But she wakes up
On crisp white sheets
The sharp clean smell of a hospital
Overwhelms her
As she lies there
With tubes inserted in her body
The monitor
Beeps crazily
Her heart rate spiking to high levels
She’s in distress
She is not dead
The group home staff had gone to ask her
“What do you want
To have for lunch?”
They think they saved that little girl’s life
That little girl
Thirteen years old
Falls unconscious again for a while
She remembers
Oh so little
Of her stay there at the hospital
The days and nights
They seem to merge
At a mental health facility
She remembers
Drugged out on meds
Those three simple words that enraged her
Three simple words…

“A failed attempt.”

Entry #1017
Leaves on a Stem
I remember when I liked to do drugs,
Regularly blacking out on alcohol,
Stealing bottles every day.

I miss using windex on my windows,
The smell of it is so tantalizing...it reminds me of home,
I love my baby sister,
13 months locked up,
I need to get out…now.
I'm slippin’

I hate drugs and alcohol now,
My life is like a never ending Fibonacci sequence,
Like my release date, seemingly never ending,
Doesn't everything end somewhere?

Entry #1018
If you really knew me, you would know
That I let drugs get in the way of my life.
If you really knew me, you would know
Why I act the way I do.
If you really knew me, you would know
I’m protective of my loved ones.
If you really knew me you would know
My biggest fear is the dark.
If you really knew me, you would know
That I react in violence because that’s all I grew up around.
If you really knew me, you would know
That I am a strong person because of what I have been through.
If you really knew me, you would know
That I said F the past, it’s time to focus on the future.

Entry #1019
I miss sleeping in my own bed at night
I miss being able to go and cook something when I want
I miss her lying by my side, making me laugh

I don't miss having the smoke being sucked into my lungs

I miss being able to sleep in till noon
I miss wearing my own clothes
I miss my Siberian Husky

I don't miss my f- it attitude

I miss her making me breakfast on Saturday
I miss the sound of the train at 2 AM
I miss being able to leave my room when I please

I won't miss this place because there's too much to be grateful for outside   

Entry #1020
I wish that I could go back to my first year in High school and just fix all my mistakes.
I wish that I could have taken my schooling more serious and was actually able to graduate from a "real school."
I wish that I could be out having a good time with my friends and family...I have so many great memories that I wish I could just relive one last time.
I wish I could have just kept my head on straight and never got myself on probation, losing my freedoms.
I wish I could have just listened to my terms and conditions so I could have finally been able to live my life.
My whole childhood has been stripped from me because of one stupid mistake.
I wish I could just go back to my first year of high school and just fix all my mistakes.

Entry #1021
I remember when I was out with the homies acting a fool and getting in trouble.
I wish that I could go back to the times I was not getting locked up.
I am happy when I’m out of here with my family and friends doing positive, productive things.
I am sad when I miss family parties or birthdays and special occasions.
If you really knew me, you would know I don’t obey the law or my p.o’s requirements.
I remember the day I got locked up like it was yesterday.
I messed up bad and now will miss my birthday and other family members.
I wish that I could get out right now and get off probation and be with the family.

Entry #1022
True Feelings
If you knew me, you would know that I tend to hide my true feelings
you would know sometimes when I'm smiling, inside I just want to cry.
I miss my family every minute I am incarcerated.
If u really knew me u would know, you would know I'm a fighter and no matter if I fall, I will always get back up an keep fighting to be happy again!
If you really knew me, you would know that all I think about is my family, my soon coming daughter and how I want to be the best father I can be to her.
Sometimes I feel that I have let her and her mother down and she’s not even here yet.
I will never fail my girls ever again! I am going to do the best of my capability to make sure they never have to hide their true feelings like I do.

Entry #1023
Sneaking around the neighborhood not wanting to be seen by my uncle. I needed to talk to my cousin that I hadn’t seen in years.  We used to be as close as brother and sister.  Beneath his window I hoped he’d still remember me and not hurt me.  Then I saw his smile; soon he was outside hugging me.

Entry #1024
Hey can u see me?!?!....Hello are you there? Mom! Mom! Can you hear me? I scream this as I look at my mom on the other side of the glass wall I am stuck inside. Maybe she's inside, I don't know but I keep screaming for her. Mom look at me please! Can you hear me? MOM! I stare at her with eyes full of emptiness, loneliness, and then whoosh she was gone with the wind, nothing left but the lingering mist left behind from the still foggy morning. I'm confused as I do a 360 trying to look around to see if I can see her in the distance through the fog, but I can't. Feeling weak and defeated. I wake up from the sudden POP! and I look at the blank white walls staring at me with cold iced eyes. I close my own eyes, and slip back into the abyss I just escaped thinking where did she go just when I needed her most? It's been two yrs.  Will I ever find her?

Entry #1025
Anger Management
If you really knew me, you would know that I get mad fast. When I get mad I don’t care who’s around me. I can’t stop arguing with others. For me it’s hard to keep my temper in check. When I get mad I’m not being funny. If you really knew me, you would know that when I get mad I’m like a run-away train with no brakes. I can’t stop. I am like a bull that has his eye on the red flag ready to attack it? If you really knew me, you would know that when I’m mad, just leave me alone.

Entry #1026
Missing Myself
I miss my family and friends
and the letters they'd send.
I miss how I use to go home
and that I used to be good.
I miss sitting and eating my mom’s food.
I miss my friends acting a fool.
I miss just sitting and watching TV.
I miss everything that use to be.
I miss all my past memories
I miss living my life how it should have been
living in innocence, looking up to men
I miss waking up and being happy
The California street
I miss my friends from elementary
I miss the Dorothy Johnson Center
I miss hanging with my brothers
I miss what could have been
I miss... life. 
Entry #1027
Push, Pull, Strive
I am really happy when I'm with my mom, because she brings out a part of me that no one else can. Well other people can but I know she means it 100% and that's what makes it more special about her. You can never doubt a mothers love. They say that different people bring out different sides of you and I believe that is true; my mom brings out a part in me that keeps me striving and focused. I've learned so much from her and I love that. Even though I'm not with her right now I know she's with me. What connects me more to her is that we are both Gemini's,   haha! I believe that's why we are actually a lot alike. When I was younger I used to think that no one really knew me but little did I know Mi Ama knew everything even without me telling her . I appreciate my mom especially for being a role model that no one else can be because she's my mom. Man, I can never fool her, even when I think I can. She knows what up. When she was younger we looked way too much alike. We don't look so alike anymore. After having me she changed a lot.  Me and my 2 brothers stress her way too much. But now all I want do is make her happy, stay focused even when I'm locked up and keep pushing. One day I will move her into a house full of peace and no worries. That's a big dream of mine and I know I can make it happen. Even with the many people who doubt me . The hate has always wanted me to make things happen 10xs more. With my mom always by my side I know I can make anything happen . Just watch me push, pull, strive.