I just got back from my parole officer appointment. And I am gratefully amazed, because I realize that I had ‘ah ha’ moment.
. I never would have believed that having to go to a parole officer could change my whole way of thinking! Being assigned to my parole officer posted a detour sign in front of me that points to a different direction than I had my mental pathway focused on.
My parole said that I am a sparkling living billboard that needs to be presented in front of children in grade school and middle school so they can see that we all can be overcomers and conquers. We all have the ability to choose a bright life and to walk away from the dim and dark life. God has the same love and high value for me as a person who was borne on the right side of the track to a high income family or borne in Buckingham Palace.
It wasn’t anger from God toward me that made my father decide not to father. It wasn’t anger from God toward me that made my mother addicted to drugs so she had to live on the streets selling herself in order to keep her needs fulfilled. God didn’t do that. That wasn’t His choice.
Now the parole officer says that I need to become a part of an organization that he is going to introduced me to. I will get to go to schools and youth groups and let them know how I made it. I get to tell them that if secretly in their heart they are being abused by their parents (verbally, emotionally, even physically and sexually), that it is going to be O.K. They can make the right choices. Foster homes can be wonderful and they can be un-wonderful, too. But it is going to be O.K. And I get to go tell them.
I am also very excited now to get to be in Cindy’s Lizard gang. I am very pleased to tell you my story of how it was, what happened and how it is today. My brother was about two years older than I am. We did our best to survive as we scratched, scraped and schemed. We used a lot of ingenuity and it was rough. But we did exist when it came to finding food and shelter.
Mom was not there. She couldn’t be there. And I am no longer furious. She’s my mom. The dragon got her. The dragon didn’t get my brother. The dragon got me. And I suppose my father decided not to father because the dragon had him. I don’t know.
As a child early in life, my brother and I would wake up starving and sometimes cold. We were in dirty, wrinkled clothes. Quarters to wash clothes at the laundry-mat were way too luxurious for us. But we needed to be clean because we wanted to go to school. We needed to learn all we could, so we could get out of the rat trap and the flop houses we lived in at the time. We took care of each other (my brother and I did). We found food anywhere we could.
I remember that I would walk to school. One of the most terrifying moments for me was when a pick-up truck stopped in front of me. A man rolled down his window and put a pistol to my face. He said: I am going to kill you.” And he pulled the trigger. I was so stunned that I couldn’t move. I closed my eyes and heard the trigger, but nothing happened. I peeked and looked at him. He looked like a ball of anger and hate and rage. And he said very slowly: “Next time it will be loaded. Tell your mother to pay me”. Then he left. Every day going to school I found a different route and I would go on a bike as fast as I could feeling terrified. It was like survival in a war zone. That is not good for a child. That is called trauma. That is called abuse.
One day there was a knock on the door. When I opened it there were 3 kids and they had a bucket with a label on it. It read: Donation for church camp. They were going from door to door. A lady was waiting for them at the sidewalk curb. Well, I have to tell you that a light bulb went off in my head. I had arrived. I had found a way for my brother and me to have an income. I got a bucket and washed it out. Then I put a label on it that read: Donation for the orphanage. I would go from door to door collecting quarters and dollars. We able to eat and have clean water to drink. We also had a few quarters to wash our clothes.
And then I found myself stealing snacks and candy bars from convenience stores and selling them at school. My business mind was growing. My ingenuity was soon to get me in trouble. First I was a ‘gofer’ picking up drugs here and taking drugs there. I was a delivery man. After that I was a dealer. After that I became a junkie, myself. Soon I went to reform school. After getting out of juvenile school, I began going from jail to jail.
But before I started my jail circuit, something happened that most people in the United States know about. It happened in my hometown in the hood in New Orleans. This something that happened was called Katrina. She blew in and blew away my neighborhood, our home and blew away the life of my brother.
I could not understand how God had done so much to me and had so much against me. I was filled with anger, remorse and despair. Did I mention total loneliness and abandonment? As I stumbled around day by day and fix by fix, I went to jail. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Because after Katrina, I had become extremely possessed by the dragon.
It was the same dragon that had destroyed the relationship of my mother and her two sons. It was the same dragon that had captured away from me my own father. That dragon lost this time. Because due to me being put in jail, I got clean.
I am out now. I am in a sober living house in a neighborhood that has many sober living houses. Our 12 Step clubhouse is nearby. I have found a new way of life. I am working those 12 Steps with a strong sponsor. I go to drug court classes. I see my probation officer regularly. I know now that I never did anything wrong. I know that the world, the universe and the creator of the universe were never against me. It was just the dragon that destroys families from generation to generation until somebody takes the first step to stop the cycle. I took that step. Each day for 24 hours a day, I slay that dragon.
I actually believe, as it says in our 12 Step program, that ‘God was doing for me what I could not do for myself’ by letting me have the privilege of going to jail. I have a great parole officer who has pointed out to me that I can tell my story in a creative way as part of the Cindy’s Lizard Gang. I can also tell my story in an entertaining way as my parole officer arranges for me to go to boy’s clubs and schools to speak. This is so other hurting children, whose family has been attacked by the dragon, can know the truth that they are not bad. They are just victims and there is a solution to find a new way of life.
If the above description is you, I suggest to get through school. I suggest to keep to yourself. I suggest get to church if you can. Get your high school education. Find a counselor at school and ask for help for higher education if you want it. If you are already dabbling with the dragon and it is too late, because he has got you; get to a 12 Step program and ask for help. There are good people. Find a rehab and knock on their door. Ask them what you need to do.
But if the dragon does not have you, yet (if you still can say “no”), you already know the answer.
Thank you to my higher power and the judge and the policemen and the jail workers and the parole officer. It has been a precession of being carried from one institute to another institute to another program to where I am today. Thank you, Creator, who I call God, that You had a plan. And it was painful.
I heard Cindy Lizard say: the painful part of our past is no more than life lesson 101. Now we have the certificate. It is our choice what to do with it.” I decided to slay my dragon!
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