Thanks to Tien, I now have a healthy relationship with my parents. He encouraged me to keep an open dialogue with them and ask questions.
Tien and I knew each other for a year before we began to talk. We met in a group that helps Asian Pacific Islanders understand intergenerational trauma and healing. Fortunately, since he and I lived in the same building, we were able to continue conversations about what we learned in class on our walks between classes.
Tien taught me that we have to understand where we came from to fully understand and appreciate who we are and why we do the things we do. From there, we can begin to heal past traumas and become the people we want to be.
Tien was not always this way, he entered prison continuing his criminal lifestyle, he participated in fights, sold drugs, and used contraband cell phones. He had not only done the work to transform his own life, he volunteered his time to help others such as myself.
I started exhibiting drawings, collages, and watercolors at events around the country with help from a friend who has sold my work since ‘04.
Along the way I discovered scriptwriting, with the future goal of directing. I have written countless crappy scripts, studying movies on dayroom TVs, reading every movie-related book in the library, and having my family send me movie making magazines.
As I write this, collaborators on the outside are shopping some of my scripts around to producers (fingers crossed). I’m on the second revision of my prisoner self-help book (showing prisoners how to live better prison time by seeing it differently), and catching up on portraits for guys in here (I never get ahead). “However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”