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No Longer a Boy...

I remember the day like I was watching a movie; I was a boy 15 years old. They were eager to punish me as a man; whatever ounces of innocence I had left was about to be stripped away. This is the day that changed me forever; I would go in as a child and come out as a monster. I had no idea that stealing the wrong person's car could have such grave consequences. I was in a cell in the basement of the Skokie courthouse, alone, lying on this beige-colored concrete slab. "Candelaria, you're up" That was how my prison career began!


This is yet another fragment of my story, another moment in time that led me to be what I am today. I often hear that your past does not define you, but doesn't it try? I sit at this moment and can't help but see my past very clearly as I live in my present. It covers me like a warm blanket on a chilly day. It is the epitome of who I am, yes, my past does define me, but it damn sure doesn't run me. Your past is not past if it's unresolved; it's your now; it's your reality. Look at your current relationship or job; it's so defining that it even dictates the clothes you wear. We are our past, we are our traumas; the moment we stop running from them, that brief encounter with acceptance? That is freedom. I use that shit hard now--it is a catalyst to put me in the position to have the now, the present, that I deserve. The now that my kids deserve. Don't get me wrong, I plan for tomorrow; I'd be a fool not to; however, life is happening right now as you're reading.


When I am triggered by someone who had absolutely nothing to do with my initial trauma, they more than likely receive that trauma response. Where do you think that comes from? That is your past defining you; it doesn't have to keep us in a place of misery. Our past traumas, and our experiences, both good or bad, that's who we are. Stop running from you!

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Aug 17, 2022

I don’t believe our past defines us. We aren’t the person we were back then. What defines us is what we have done to overcome our past. How we have dealt with abuse, trauma, addiction, etc. What defines us are the actions we take to better ourselves and grow each and every day. We aren’t our past. Did it contribute to who we are today? Of course. But it Isn’t the definition of who I am.

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