I’m Not Who I Use To Be

On Christmas Day I had the opportunity to see one of my sisters for the first time in over two decades. She lives three hours away from where I am based in Washington, DC. I never saw her while I was incarcerated, and even though I was released in 2011, she was not able to come to see me until now. When she walked into my mom’s house, I screamed, hugged her and asked jokingly, “Where have you been all my life?” She replied Continue reading

Missing Traditions

I wish I had some traditions to engage in during this holiday season. Even though I was in prison for 18 years I have been home for two years now. It seems like it’s time to begin building some traditions, practicing some customs. Only, I don’t know where to begin. I feel especially lonely this time of year. It’s not because I can’t be with others, but more because Continue reading

Second Chances

Today marks my second anniversary since I was released from Federal Prison. I am so grateful for a second chance to be a part of society. I am especially grateful to all of my friends and family members who have helped me learn to live again after 18 years in prison. I might not be where I want to be, but I am not where I used to be. I am still a work in progress. Continue reading

Rebuilding Bonds After Incarceration: Things Are Nothing Like We Imagined They Would Be

My daughter was three years old when I became incarcerated. By the time I was released she was 21 years old. I think we both had illusions about how things would be when I came home. I thought I would be spending all of my spare time with my children. I thought I would be babysitting my grandchildren and maybe even living with my children. I thought we would get to know one another and build a bond for once in our lives. To my surprise I Continue reading

Imagine!

Imagine you are abducted into a cult, you wake up the next day with a whole new set of norms and rules to follow, you don’t know anyone around you, and everyone is dressed alike. You find yourself enclosed in a small community with a school and a church on the compound. What if you stayed there for years then, one day, someone opened the gate to the community you were living in and Continue reading

Being Ready To Change

More times than I can count I have been asked, “To what do you attribute your successful Reentry?”  I think people see me as the exception to the rule so they expect some extraordinary response. The fact of the matter is that my successful rehabilitation while incarcerated has led to my successful reintegration into society. My Creator deserves the Glory for enabling me to grow, change and reform to the extent that I have. It was no coincidence that I Continue reading

I Deserved To Be Punished, But Why Can’t I Be Forgiven?

I remember reading a story about how the people in one African village respond to the bad deeds of others. Interestingly, in that Village, when someone commits a crime or a sin, that person is placed in the middle of a circle and the villagers tell all of the great things about that particular man or woman. That was a very long time ago and I never forgot that story. When you are a person who has been publicly persecuted for a crime you yearn for public forgiveness. You yearn to have the Continue reading