Growing up in San Diego wasn’t easy. I faced a lot of challenges from a very young age.
I grew up in cockroach infested apartments and didn’t have much. My dad had his “other” family and my mom was addicted to meth. Her boyfriend used to beat her up a lot so she, in turn, would take her frustrations out on me.
I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up until I learned how to play basketball in middle school. Then, the summer before my freshman year of high school, all those friends started smoking, drinking, and hanging out with gangs. So, that’s what I did. I just got those friends, and I didn’t want to lose them. With my insecurities, abandonment issues, and feeling the need to prove myself, I did everything that they did, … plus some.
I caught my first case [got arrested and had to go to court] at 13 and my second case at 14. By 15, I was in and out of group homes until I was 17 years old. I got kicked out of the last one which was a homeless teen shelter called The Store Front. With nowhere to go and no family to turn to, I sat at the City College trolley station in tears feeling like no one loved me and that there was no hope. I remembered a friend who always had money, so I called him up and asked him if he could teach me how to make some
money, because I didn’t know what I was going to do.
That was the beginning.
I started doing -and selling- drugs.
From there, I got into all types of illegal activity, until eventually I turned into a 6-time felon who had done 8 years in county, state, and federal prisons, not including rehabilitation centers and group homes. I became institutionalized and used money, drugs, women, and the lifestyle to fill in the gap of my depression, self-esteem, abandonment, pride, and every other issue you can think of. I was looking for hope in all the wrong places. Back then, I didn’t know that the reason I could never fill that void or find the hope that I was looking for was because that void could only be filled by one person.
That hope that I was looking for was Jesus.
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