I was talking to a family member and during the course of dialogue they said, ” You been behind bars almost 30 years, but you remain strong, how do you do it?” Now before I go deep into that question I must give you readers some of my background. Firstly, I was a young arrogant dummy with no direction, and because I valued violence and the street and all things felonious. I didn’t care one way or the other if I ended up in prison. My thinking was, what the hell, all my friends are there anyway, I’ll be okay, boy was I wrong!

The evolution of that abstract strength my family member metaphysically defined came about as a result of trauma. When I entered prison I was too mad to be scared and my mantra was, “test me you will fail!”

My second day at a prison in Virginia called “The Wall”, as I’m about to enter the mess hall a guy bumped into me and grab my ass. Then he runs into the mess hall and he’s looking at me daring me to do something. It’s surreal because he’s standing with about five other cats and it’s like everything is moving in slow motion. I get my tray and as I walked pass the predator I see the smirk on his face and he says, “what’s up?” Everything is still moving in slow motion, on my tray was two pieces of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, mash potatoes and a piece of cake. When the predator says, “what’s up?” I walked past him and then spin around and hit him in the face with the tray, but somehow I caught a piece of chicken as I break the tray on the predator’s face.

I held the chicken in one hand and took a bite, then I kick the predator (who was on the ground) several times. Back then I was about 150 pounds while the predator was about 6’2 and maybe 230 pounds. While the predator is on the ground I started to stomp him and in between by butt-kicking I was putting on him, I’m eating my chicken. The fight ends when a group of older convicts said, “Young blood, you prove your point he had enough, it’s over!” I stop stomping the predator and went back and got another tray and sit down and ate my meal. While I was eating several cats came and explained that the predator is what convicts call “a booty bandit” (a prisoner who preys on new and weak prisoners for sex).
From that incident came growth because I decided that I valued myself enough to fight anyone, and at no time could I or would I compromise my principles. To do so, would make me less than a man, and momma didn’t raise no fool.
I remain strong by knowing that everything has levels- the beauty of a thing is known by its opposite.