A quote that we live by. We need a movie quote because all the real ones have failed us.
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”-Rocky Balboa
My name is Andres. I am a felon. I wasn’t born a felon. I never aspired to be one, and I certainly didn’t expect I’d have to live as one for the rest of my life. I didn’t even know what one was. This is a short story of who, what, why, and why not. I’m not a victim, but I need to let go of what is holding me back from evolving as a human being. I am coming out to you today because I am tired of living a lie. The amount of pressure it takes to pretend you’re someone else is straining on the soul. It’s testing on the people you love, and it’s not reality. Although my reality isn’t the same as yours, the more I accept this fate, the more accepting I am of being a felon.
I grew up in a very loving household. I was given too much as a kid, spoiled rotten. My mother would always say that I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth but that they were a poor struggling family. But, I knew she was trying to teach me a lesson right from the start. As parents, we don’t want our children to struggle. Both of mine were dirt poor from the start and had zero desire to watch me go through the same. Everything was terrific until one day, toward the end of a school day, I went into the school cafeteria, took a sip of water from the fountain, and it was lights out.
“This is a short story of who, what, why, and why not.”
I am Criminal
This was my final mugshot. I took felonies for many people, and all they did was let me rot in MDC. I am a six time convicted felon. All white collar. The way society treats felons is mind blowing, no one told us we would be felons for life even after we got out of the system.
Childhood trauma fuels the soul in negative ways because we can’t process things as children as we can as adults. When I was eleven, I was brutally raped in the cafeteria of my middle school in Costa Rica. All I was doing was getting water from the fountain inside. At first, I thought this cafeteria worker I had known for years was joshing, but obviously, he wasn’t. That was my first milestone as a human being. I wasn’t innocent anymore. I was tainted, and I’d never be happy like I was before that day. This event started my trajectory. I let it define me. I let it rule who I was.
My whole life, I wouldn’t let anyone inside. Not my kids, not my ex-wife, not my parents, and certainly not my partners. Because of my inability to be emotionally available, I have pushed everyone away, I never knew that being there for someone meant being there in all forms of support, love, advice, sex, and availability.
“Although my reality isn’t the same as yours, the more I accept this fate, the more accepting I am of being a felon.”
I Have Learned
Some of us need to hit rock bottom to appreciate what we had so that in Chapter two or three of our lives, we won’t forget what was valued and essential. Others need jail or prison. When you’re locked up and realize you can’t leave, that shifts your perspective slightly. But, unfortunately, sometimes, we never get it and die. Jails-Institutions-Death. I had help. No one can do it without help.
I have two awesome kids. I’ve loved two women my whole life. I’ve tried to keep things as complicated as possible and have succeeded in doing so. I’ve attempted suicide multiple times, and I became addicted to drugs after my divorce in 2012. In 2013, I had nothing. I had ruined everything and everyone around me. I was homeless, so naturally, it was either:
1. Accept the lifestyle of a homeless person.
2. Become a criminal.
3. Get my life back on track.
I CHOSE #2…
“Some of us need to hit rock bottom to appreciate what we had so that in Chapter two or three of our lives, we won’t forget what was valued and essential.“
Drugs fuel crime. Period. There are very few that do this for the hell of it. I was one of those few. I never cared about the money. I was in it for the thrill, the heart-pumping sensation. It was a heartbreaking game, an unwinnable game. Last time I got arrested, and sentenced to a year and a half, I got charged with six felonies, six felonies, who does that?. Six felonies. I had a white-fenced life before all of this. I was well respected within my community. I had money, a car, a dog, and a house.
I am human
I am me. I live for today, because yesterday is gone and you never can tell what tomorrow will bring.
Almost seven years have passed, and the biggest shocker to all of this was job prospects. I am a very specialized WordPress engineer. I am a hybrid of sorts. I can sell it and provide technical assistance. That’s almost unheard of. Usually, the sales guys have no tech experience, and the tech guys can’t speak to customers. I have had multiple $100K Jobs. I have been the final candidate with offers from Automattic, Pagely, and GoDaddy. They all backgrounded me, and the background check companies all said that I would rip them off, steal their property, and hurt my coworkers. So after like two months they would let me go. I will get one one day. I’m a patient man now.
What is the purpose of a Diversity and Inclusion Statement when it excludes a whole demographic? I have been treated like human feces by these companies. Once people find out that I am a felon, they lose it. I thought that if you were the best candidate for that particular job, they had to hire you. Google hires felons.
I thought it was a good idea to come out and tell all of you that I was a felon. Maybe this will hurt me. But, on the other hand, it’ll give me the confidence I’ve been looking for to move up and on with my life.
I am never going back
The recidivism rates in this country are a staggering 72%. That means that seven out of every ten people goes back to jail or prison. If you need help, because you fear that your messing up or whatever the problem might be. Visit us at www.elcamino.io There is always help and support.