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I know life is precious, and with every fiber of my being let my actions try to make amends for taking a life.

Incarcerated: 18 years

Housing: Mark Stiles Unit, Beaumont, TX

I started my life sentence at 20 for murder and robbery, and thought my life was over – mentally. I fell back into the same negative mindset that landed me behind these walls: drugs and negative company.

Growing up I wasn’t a people person. I only went to school and took care of my little brother. I became an obese child with no self-confidence, and stayed away from people outside my mom’s house. With an affinity for drawing, I channeled all my frustration and depression into it, and became an awesome child artist.

As a teen in high school, I fell into false friendships to be accepted. I lived a double life: a school boy to mom and family, but beyond the house a gangbanger led astray by older teens. Yet I had art to fall back on. I graduated high school and got a scholarship.

Unfortunately, without guidance, I lost the scholarship, and ended up in prison two years after I graduated high school.

Thanks to my mom, I always had knowledge of God in my life, but my love and quest for knowledge caused me to search within myself to know what caused me to take the actions I took to do wrong. God has allowed me to grow in so many ways, and I understand that my purpose in life is to help others, especially the youth, through art and a God-centered life.

I am currently waiting to be accepted in seminary theology college to become an ordained minister, in order to minister other men in here. Through love for God, art, and self-introspection, I have found myself. I don’t want others to succumb to negative social norms that cause them to become something they are not.

Having a lot of time ahead of me in my sentence, I strive to positively evolve any way I can, hoping to spread love and energy through my creations and interactions with others. I cannot change my past, so let my past be my past, and I refuse to be defined by it. I am a changed human being, a fully formed man.

I know life is precious, and with every fiber of my being let my actions try to make amends for taking a life. Not to be forgiven by man, but to let God shine through in my actions.

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