AV, 41

Meet AV…

Days, weeks, months and years passed; my saving grace were my mother’s words: “Read son, let your books teach you, open your mind and heart.” I climbed Mt. Everest, went to the abyss with Captain Nemo, felt the sand of Utica with Odysseus, but above all I opened my mind and learned about myself.

Incarcerated: 21 years
Housed: Wasco State Prison, California

People wonder why I smile and laugh all the time. I respond with ‘it’s a beautiful day, the sun’s out and I’m alive.’ For years I said and did nothing, expecting much. My journey took me to cold, desolate and destructive places. These places were much more than physical; they were mental too. My smiles were far from genuine or heart felt. Days, weeks, months and years passed; my saving grace were my mother’s words: “Read son, let your books teach you, open your mind and heart.” I climbed Mt. Everest, went to the abyss with Captain Nemo, felt the sand of Utica with Odysseus, but above all I opened my mind and learned about myself. I changed my circumstances and reality. When I smile it feels good. It feels good to build and create, to take control of my life. The beauty in my life has been to learn and grow. I’m thankful for the sun and the air in my lungs and the people who have shown love, patience and kindness. This world is beautiful! “If a man’s mind becomes pure, his surroundings will become pure.” – Buddha.