top of page

Afraid of the Light

It was June 16th, 1996, and I was standing outside my cell. It was # 70, building 28, in Dixon Correctional Center. I was an officer in one of the biggest Hispanic street gangs in the world. I had everything I needed, most of what I wanted, and most of all, I had a purpose. I was three days from being released, and I got my pass for B of I (Bureau of Identification): this is the one that everyone with an outdate is waiting for. I am going home, and to be honest, I am sick to death about it. I didn't want to go; I was in a sweet prison, I was home. I was safe, not safe from the elements, but safe from myself. I had a seat at the table, and it felt good; if I am being truthful, the power was intoxicating. I thrived in the dark, but they were going to take that from me again and send me back into the world. I don't belong out there; I'm just another nobody trying to keep the lights on. Being in prison, shit, that was the only time I felt at home!


This would continue for years to come. I would spend my life in more cages and more institutions than I can honestly remember. However, the worst prison I ever spent time in was the one I created. I had locked myself into a world that took all that I was. It wasn't a phase for me like it was for some of the kids in the trailer park I grew up with. This was who I would be for most of my existence. When we moved back to Chicago in 1990, it didn't take me long to realize that the streets were where I would set down roots. I was digging in; I mean, why not? It was good enough for my old man. Out here, I could create an empire, be whoever I wanted to be, and nobody would ever know of the scars that I carried. The scars that I could never outrun. I did everything else I set out to do. I made millions on the streets (shot most of it up). Me and my crew, we changed the boosting game. We were some of the best. If you ask me, I don't think there was anyone better. No matter how much we stole, smoked, or shot up, it was never enough. It was the same thing every day: different stores and cities would change, but the outcome never did. It always led me to be in cuffs, which in turn, gave me the freedom I wanted. I know that sounds backward to most.


However, I was a slave to the streets, the drugs, and trying to escape. I always tell people that the only reason I am alive is because of how much time I have done. When I say that I thrived in the dark, it's because that's where I lived for so long. There's no sunshine inside those prison walls. There's no daylight in the darkness of addiction, and there's a reason it's called the belly of the beast. In the real world, out there amongst the living, I was an outcast. Behind those walls, in those cages, I was at peace. I grew strong, physically and mentally. I educated myself, and not just in the art of prison warfare. I read, I went to school, and I absorbed everything that I could. Somewhere buried deep down, there was this drive like I knew the day would come and I would need it. The day would come when I would no longer be afraid of the light.


73 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Recovery will humble you, or bury you!

One of the hardest things to go through is watching someone you love struggle with addiction. It is especially frustrating now that I myself am in recovery. I remember thinking that I had it all figur


bottom of page