The past is irrelevant besides being used as a teaching tool but keeps most chained up and prevents progress under the false assumption that the more one dwells on past mistakes, the better a person is. We have limited time and energy but can choose to spend it however we wish. I choose to spend all of mine to focus on the task at hand, achieving my highest potential, because I believe that atonement requires action. So I only discuss my past to help others learn from my mistakes without them having to live the nightmare I did.
I’m from the suburbs; blue collar middle class and a great family. My parents weren’t drinkers nor abusive. In fact, they spoiled me and sacrificed so that I could have a great childhood. I was top of the class in school and somewhat popular. I state this to prevent any of the typical excuses for my behavior.
School bored me to death so I started doing drugs and focusing more on my social life until it became my only concern. Drug use gradually increased to the point that my parents could no longer deal with me; I was becoming a bad influence on my younger brothers and had to leave. I was thrown on the streets, a naïve kid now in over his head. I was too young to support myself through any legal trade and refused to be taken into the system so I started selling drugs and never looked back. Problem is that anything I put my mind to, I go all in and my competitive nature takes me to the top. So, before I knew it, I was carrying guns and involving myself with higher level drug dealing.
Nature took its course and I eventually went to prison. The first time was a smaller sentence for violent crimes committed to establish my reputation. I served two years of a four year sentence only to return to the life I had grown accustomed to. Except now, I also had connections I made in prison combined with a criminal PHD.
I was out ten months before self-revoking my parole because I was under surveillance once my business partners got indicted by the federal government. I was the last man standing for being rationally paranoid in a dirty game, refusing to do business with just anyone who had money. I only had to do another year in prison for the parole violation, and in that time, the cops would move on to the next big fish.
This time down was a little different, however. I was one of many involved in a race riot that got out of hand and started shooting heroin with all the older convicts. I was now becoming respected in the prison world by increasing brutality. This time I was released angry, addicted and with even more criminal connections.
I enjoyed freedom for an entire three months before receiving a 10 year sentence, returning to the “big house,” consumed with hatred and giving up on life. I joined a prison gang and went all out with the full intention of receiving a life sentence on the installment plan, deciding that the “real world” wasn’t meant for me. That led to me assaulting a rapist and being sent to solitary confinement for the next eight years.
For eight years, I was denied human contact and sun (two basic requirements for mental health), and put in an environment proven to exacerbate the symptoms of mental illnesses after they diagnosed me with Type Two Bipolar Disorder. The walls felt as if they were closing in and I was overwhelmed with panic attacks so severe I thought they were heart attacks. Sanity required that I learn to meditate, burn off excess energy with intense cardiovascular exercise and keep my mind active with studies.
I adapted, but that’s the worst part of the story. The dungeon and extra-curricular psychological torture the guards felt necessary to dish out, became normal. I felt peace within the misery, I embraced hellfire and used my deep rooted hatred for those who poked me with a stick in addition to the guilt I felt for letting my family down, become the fuel that motivates me to be the best I could. I became OBSESSED with success, as my form of vengeance, since the system did all it could to break me.
Obsession turned unhealthy because I denied myself so much, thinking needs were weaknesses and the anxiety caused by the isolation resulted in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), on top of the long list of other issues I had already accumulated. I began to study psychology and philosophy to find my purpose, balance and the key to happiness. I simplified my findings and implemented them in my daily life.
Before I was released, I was plagued with cold sweats every day. My skin was translucent and homicidal dreams haunted me nightly. Something was wrong on a deeper level than I could fix. The doctors were clueless and none of the dated books in the library had the answer.
The first time my skin felt the sun’s rays, I felt alive and those issues ceased to exist. I still don’t understand them but they are the past, just like all I had been through. Adapting was hard and I couldn’t sleep for a week. Being used to sleeping with the lights on, with mentally ill inmates singing Christmas carols all night, while I slept on a thin pad made it next to impossible to sleep on a Tempurpedic bed; in a dark and quiet room.
My body wasn’t used to good food and I hadn’t been around people for years. Now they were everywhere and had no idea to the extent they were causing me to panic over simple things such as when it was appropriate to make eye contact or shake hands. I felt myself overwhelmed with emotion, and after embracing misery, I didn’t know how to accept pleasure. I was lost but refused to give up. And my stomach was having issues of its own.
Eight months later and I’m in the process of completing my first few real estate deals as a wholesaler, while also helping others find that successful mindset I happened to simplify. I’m far from a success story myself but on the way to greater days. My goal is to teach others to learn from my mistakes and become an asset to my family after being a parasite for too long. If I can do it, anyone can. Very few have dug a hole as deep as the one I had but I’m still fighting and refuse government assistance so it can’t take any credit for my inevitable rise. Keep moving forward, it’s worth it. Life is a fight but the worse you suffer, the more joy you can eventually experience.