Princess Can Prosper
by Mary Taylor
First place winner, Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022
* The Beginning *
2022 — Who would’ve known I would end up here again at A.C.J. or with a new record.
Let’s go back to 97-98. A senior. I know High School was a time your suppose to find yourself and have fun becoming an adult, not me I hated school. That was the year I lost my virginity and found out my mother smoked crack.
See growing up in Elementary School my mom was a drunk her and her BF would drink Velicoff by the gallon. If she wasn’t out with a man she was drunk. I got beat for no reason and kept up on school nights. That’s what I called mental & physical abuse.
In Junior High I participated in every after school activity I could: Cheerleading, Pom-Pom, Double Dutch and Basketball just to escape from the reality of home. I have no siblings it was just me. So in school I didn’t know how to be a good friend or share not to mention I was shy and my wardrobe wasn’t up to par. Shoot, sometimes I had to wear the same thing twice a week and also it didn’t help I couldn’t read.
Yep you guessed it I graduated and couldn’t read they just passed me by, but one thing I could do was write a helleva essay and I was good at it.
My senior year I got accepted to two colleges: U.D.C. and Wesleyan. I knew I wasn’t going to college. There was only so many bathroom breaks I could take when it was my turn to read. So college definitely wasn’t an option. I took the easy way out and got a job at McDonalds and went to Sanz School for medical assistant, but that didn’t last long.
Terminology kicked my ass..so I quit and got me a job at Marshalls, on my way to and from work I would teach myself to read. That’s when I met my son’s father the man I fell in love with, what I thought was love. That’s when everything went down hill.
My 1st Love
I was in love actually he was my first love, we were inseparable. I would sneak him into my room and he would sneak me into his mancave. I was 18 then and he was 21 and neither of our grandmother’s was having it. I thought I had me a good man neither one of us smoked or drank at least I thought.
One night I went 2 his house after work and he got a phone call all of a sudden he became adamant about taking some movies back to Blockbusters. I told him I want to go to, but he told me, “No” Red flag. Anyway long story short his grandmother caught me in his bed and called me every name in the book. Once I got outside I saw him in a car smoking weed with some girl. I just looked at them and walked away. I was hurt until I heard the girl tell him to go after me. Of course he did and I forgave him.
In 1999 we both decided we needed our own placed and moved on R St. NW. In February I found out I was pregnant. We were both still working and everything was good until we found out our rent was damn there $1000 because of my income. So I had to quit my job to make it more affordable.
After that things got worst. One of his sisters moved in and we didn’t get along and he started hanging around females and smoking weed alot, and I hated it. I wasn’t getting no attention and then he lost his job and had the nerve to take it out on me and told me to get an abortion. I like to died, but I knew that wasn’t an option. I would move back home 1st.
Anyway he started hustling with his BG down the west and everything was good money was coming in his sister and I was getting along. At this point I’m 5 months and I found out I was having a boy and I had chlamydia. Do you know this nigga had the nerve to say I gave it to him. I left him and moved back home. A month after that the apartment was raided looking for his sister’s boyfriend, and who did he come running to yep me.
At that point our relationship was over the trust was gone but I still loved him. In November 21st I gave birth to my son 9 lb 10 ozs 21 in. At HUH by C-Section.
My son’s father was some shit he may have came everyday to see him but through labor he was ghost. I left in 5 days but my son stayed 20 days due to complications and I didn’t even indulge.
After his birth I started kicking it with some girls from school. And through them I met Tony Bone and found a G.G.G.F. [good girl friend]. T.B. loved me and my son like he was his. I was 19 and he was 28 and a male hoe.
After what I been through my heart was shut down for repair. So I started messing with both of them on the side.
Good Girl Gone Bad
In 2003 I moved to Woodland SE. I should’ve listened to my family when they said “no way.” I got back with my son’s father and everything was good at least I thought we were working, I bought a car. Then here comes his BF came and put him on again from there he started back hustling. Dude’s there didn’t like that he was in their territory, so they started stealing and robbing him, but that didn’t stop him.
Next thing you know an informant told on him and they raided the house but no one was there. Once again God spared us. I was so scared I thought we should stay with his sister for awhile, that was 2004 that’s when shit hit the fan he started smoking PCP and I was his punching bag. All his money and time went to PCP. There were blackouts, some times he got lost, and don’t forget the flock of dipper heads around. That drug was taking so much of his time.
I tried it and liked it, it was the worst mistake of my life.
When we saw not charges were filed we moved back to our apartment he started hustling again this time my aunt moved in which smoked crack so money was flowoing like water. He got locked up again and he went away for 3 years and I was lfet with a vicious habit. I started taking over the hustling by day and while at work my aunt had the night shift.
The girls around there already didn’t like me because I was fly they really hated me now. I had to idea what this drug was [doing] to my brain, but I loved this drug and it didn’t love me back.
Then I started hanging with this girl who was the devil. At this point Im catching charges every other year. I was so gone I decided to steal my neighbors truck. I pack all my clothes in the truck put my turtle in the front seat with the seatbelt on. I had no money but I was moving to NY to sell my ass for a living, before I left I got 4 dippers and pulled off without paying.
At this moment it’s 2008, my son’s father is home but wants nothing to do with me because I won’t stop smoking. You got to be kidding right. The only good thing he did was take my son with him, because I was done. Anyway I got all the way to Baltimore called my BF who is a officer, and decided I wanted to go back. So I went back home and got a U.U.V. [unauthorized use of a vehicle] charge. I was losing my mind. I didn’t know I lost it when my grandma died in 2006, she was like my mom.
So at this point I got 2 yrs Probation, I’m clean working as a Document Specialists and hustling and hanging with this serpent. In 2009, this girl got me jumped and they hit me with a brick. All I could see was this girl who I thought was my friend dancing and laughing while there damn there killing me. HUH released me that same night why I don’t know my face was so messed up the bus drivers wouldn’t even let me on the bus. I was so embrassed.
One thing I can say is I always attendant church on Sunday because it is only by God’s grace I am here to write this. I’m saved and I got baptized twice at 13 and 42 yrs. At my church I’m in the choir and the production crew, but due to Covid 19 I relapsed and it robbed me of everything I owned and my joy. I’m done with that life of drugs.
I want to now become a Peer Specialist and help others leave drugs alone. I just hope God see fit to give me another chance and let me go home.
To Be Continued
by Karen Steelman
Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022
In life there are crossroad [where] we need to take responsibility for our lives. I went through the crossroad and chose the wrong path. I was supposed to die but by the grace of God I was given another chance. I have been clean for 16 months.
I have lived most of my adult life as an addict, I was governed by drugs. The end result was crimes, prison and poor health. I was so focused on getting what I thought I needed that I ignored most of the moral boundaries most people take for granted.
I stole, lied, scammed and robbed and in the end I was in the street’s twenty four hour’s a day looking for money and drugs. My life became miserable this resulted in a vicious cycle.
My pain was from childhood abuse, I medicated the pain with drugs. They made me feel better, but in the end the drugs drove me to the brink of death.
Now if I was to use street drugs it would be suicide. I still carry the pain of my childhood, it’s not always present but it arises from time to time. As a child I lived in a world of fantasy in effort to escape from my emotions fear, pain.
I have a disease it’s called addiction as I have been an addict all my adult life. I am powerless I hand my will and my life over to God, which has relieved me of trying to control things. It is up to God now – the results and footwork is up to me.
I thank God on a daily basis for my life and my recovery. I treat myself with respect and I love myself because I deserve it. I look at my behavior throughout the day. Today I’m more able to say I’m sorry. I forgive myself but not forgetting the crossroad and the path.
by Gabriella Hernandez-Benitez
Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022
Hot summer nights I remember how I use to like spendin em super high and chill not worrying about a damn thing it was always amazing until I came down..thats when I wanted you more and more at first I’d be at war with myself when I didn’t have you at one point I started to fall deeper and deeper in love with you. Not caring about who I was I losin on the way as long as I got my way. It was amazing ride of nod and going up up up no one told me how it was going to be when I didn’t have you oh boy it was like a living a livin hell but that didn’t stop me from doing it over and over
I have to admit I love gettin high always have since I was 15 years old Xanax and addys were my thing back then and weed of course but fuck what they say weed is a gateaway drug then I got introduced to Perc 30’s M box and Molly I was never going back from there I loved it loved the feeling it gave me. It was like a person to me even though it was nowhere near contact with a human being I know I probably sound crazy but you wouldn’t know till you try it..but everyone has there different reasons to use and abuse drugs mine were to escape reality and forget all the pain you caused and the pain that still lingers inside … me just eatin at me until I eventually heal and get over it but who knows when that’ll be I hope sooner than later..he will forever be my angel the baby boy I lost when I lost myself with “him” but you’ll never be forgotten always in my mind and heart. <3
I damn near lost my mind..when I lost you just wanted to end it all I didn’t care I kept usin until I was completely numb I gave no fucks when I say no fucks I mean no fucks at all I brushed everyone off I just wanted to be alone P+1 I was going thru to much pain to be around even “him” he still stuck around thru it forever grateful for that but then the claws of addiction suddenly touched me and then touched you..you knew how lost that shit got me or even know why you would try it but you did smh. Then you lost yourself I was so mad when I was home and found that out Im honestly tryna do better some of you probably think Id stop there but no I overdosed a total of 4 times some of them were on purpose I was so tired so fucking tired..not gonna hold you but you’d only understand if I told you exactly why but I can’t I can but I’d like to move on from that.
Some of you probably think “Oh she would never” When you be around me and look at me I’m suicidal it comes and goes with bipolar disorder I wanna free my mind cause my mind runs on and on endless thoughts never stoppin unless Im high or stable on meds I wish I could feel happy all the time..but that emotion never lasts sadly when I look back at all the time its been 3 years since I been on the drugs I mentioned it’s been a fucking roller coaster up down up down lost baby so lost I really lost myself now im tryna recover with him or by myself don’t really matter it all starts with me wantin it Im over it all I hope one day I can be strong enough to look at myself and tell myself I don’t need none of this shit I can better than these drugs that once took over it all fromme and hopefully I can stay clean 3 months clean now. but even sometimes I share the room with grim reaper it should be enough to scare away any thoughts of relapse I wish it were that easy but not even conversing days with death can disintegrate the claws of addiction and oh boy how I wish you knew how bad they claw at me..Im just left all alone in the dark bleeding all by myself like a non-stop nightmare but one day I swear I’ll see the light I’ve always been searching for I just really need to free my mind…Sincerely, Gabriela Hernandez benitez
By Shogua Waziri
Friends of Guest House, June 8, 2022
It all started the moment I turned 18. Well not that exact moment but you get the gist of things. I grew up with amazing parents who never skipped a beat. They were active in me and my brother’s life’s, making us a family that was close.
I redid the whole dynamic of my family the day I started using. I took 18 years of the same routine and natural life and turned it upside down and inside out. I stole somebody’s daughter, and someone’s sister the moment I started IV’ing my arms, I stole her and didn’t give her back to her family for the next 7 years.
For the next 7 years that family was going to loose their precious little daughter and their older sister to the disease of addiction. She was going to be alive but at the same time her presence would thin out in their life’s, her life wasn’t about anyone but herself and her disease for the next 7 years.
Her brothers didn’t have anything to do with her, they gave up, I mean how many times will you believe someone who comes home once in a blue moon and breaks down crying to you that they will never do what they have done, only to walk out the front door that very night again?
My disease not only robbed them out of their daughter but it robbed me from me. I was replaced with this human being that I thought I would never be, I was foreign to the body and mind I was living in.
I had nothing to show for the past 7 years of my life besides a lengthy record which marched me right out of several jobs.
I had nothing to show for the past 7 years besides some track marks and tattoos.
I had nothing and yet the drugs I was partaking in made me feel like I had everything. The drugs made me think I was whole and happy when I had them, but oh were the drugs taunting and screaming at me when I didn’t have them yearning for my arms or my nose or lips to take them in, so they could make a home inside of me.
The drugs had taken me out of my home so they could make their home inside of me.
by Keith Parker II
Heard/Arlington County Detention Center/OAR writing contest, August 2020
In a place were everything moving at the speed of sound and light, a place were it’s even crazier at night, a place were im stuck between wrong and right at a fork in the road were there telling me go left but I wanna go right.
A place were it’s never silince were it’s hard to find balance. A place were they need more science. A place were thoughts of voilence and were suicidal thoughts are making more progress. A place were yar fighting demons and yar own (self).
Yet I still dont know who’s won a place were im not at bat and it’s not safe to bet. A place were the devil congregate. A place were a docter cant operate a place were i been stuck since a teenager from my parents mistakes and all life has put on my plate. It’s not too late, still can be saved but no one knows who I am let alone brave enough to brake into this place.
This is my cry for help from a psychotic brake down! If you havn’t figured who I am by now I’ll call my self the brain from distorted eyes i’v seen me raped mentally by society from drugs I let him put inside of me. People I let get the best of me and things I wont let go from inside from me! But no one knows this side of me physicaly im healthy mentally unhealthy unstable maybe I shared to much.
Im finally able to say im scared fer once but nobody’s here to help us. What happens when being tough dosn’t work anymore. Will they call us weak all because I was afraid to speak im fighting a disorder by poker and multple personaltys and it’s killing me softly as you read (signed the Brain)
My name is Keith Alan Parker II. I wrote this non fiction poem on May 18 2020. The month of mentell health awerness! We all suffer from some type of mentell unhealthyness but some manage it different. I say this to say we should all pay close attention to people crys for help family friends and even inmates thank you for listning to my poem!