No person is born bad. When we are born we are like a ball of soft clay and we often take the shape of whatever we are molded into. When we are children and our conscious mind mind is not developed, we accept what our parents, society and the media placed in our minds, for the most part of it. This is where the majority of an average person’s beliefs come from. From their childhood when they did not know any better. Because of this, we have many beliefs that do not help us and often limit and hinder us from our life. I was born different, what I learnt as a child limited and hindered my entire life throughout my adulthood.
Like most black men, I came to this world with a single parent. Not having any say in who my parents would be or how I would be raised. I was born in Chicago in the year 1975, my mom had me when she was 16, so you can imagine how inexperienced she was not only as a mother but in many other aspects of life. This position placed me directly as the immediate victim of all she suffered as a result of her mistakes. I was forced to go through all she went through and as a result I grew up faster than most.
As a child, I was exposed to many things that molded me into a cold hearted criminal, a drug dealer, gang banger, alcoholic, drug user, sex addict and a womanizer. These habits and dysfunctional behavior led me to hurting many people including myself. I have found myself in and out of jails and prisons in my entire life. I was known different from 50% to 75% of all the people who return home from prison and end up incarcerated again in 5 years. I was woefully underprepared to re-enter the society because I never climbed the ladder or reached for the five rings on the ladder to economic freedom and social mobility, due to my lack of high quality education and job training. I was trapped in my dysfunctional lie that I knew my entire life. I kept going back to the habit that put me into trouble in the outset. Now I am serving a life sentence in prison, fighting for my prison.
Prison is undoubtedly a terrible place to be under any circumstance. Even so, I use it to my advantage to restructure my old habits, my thoughts and learning everything I can. Unlike my past sentences, I have made it a priority in the past several years to transform the many idle hours here into hours of gaining the power of knowledge. Because I understand how I use my time now will affect not only me in profound ways, but also those who are involved with me. Moreover, I now know my purpose in life, I have been living my life like most black men without knowing my true purpose. In my hood, like most hoods, “what’s your purpose” is never the topic of discussion and therefore like most, I never stopped to think about what my purpose in life was. Growing up I unconsciously made attaining money and material things my purpose in life. I was so wrapped up in wanting to possess what I saw the drug dealers with. I used to dream about it when I was younger and I eventually got all those things I desired so much. I now realise I confused my wants and needs all my life with my actual purpose. I finally realized that obtaining all those things I desired was not my purpose but simply tools I wanted and needed to survive and live somewhat comfortable.
Not knowing my purpose played a major role in me losing everything I desired including my freedom. I have learnt to accept my actions and lack of understanding throughout my life because I know that every choice and decision I have ever made was part of a bigger plan. All I can do about them as a human being is continue to learn from them and grow. In a way, my bad choices led to my transformation and my getting to a better, more positive place in my life. That is why I believe every lesson is a blessing and my blessing came in the form of prison. This prison is the place that gave me the time to learn and understand my purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink into a grain of sand. This I will apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all.
If you have not found your purpose or thought about it, ask yourself if today you are doing what you were born to do. Because the two most important days in our lives is the day we are born and the day we find out why!
by Micah Matthews