Atere, 27

Atere, 27

Meet Atere…

If I am a resilient person, I will bounce back after a failure or defeat, and quickly rejuvenate my spirits.

The Beauty of Resilience

I have become familiar with the concept that failure is inevitable. By doing so, I gained a better insight of my optimistic nature. When I played little league and my team lost in the championships, we focused on our weaknesses and by understanding that everyone had them, we came back the next year and won the championship!

Our determination to analyze every aspect of the loss gave us the ability to conclude that without failure, we wouldn’t have understood what it took to figure out how resilience played a major role in becoming true champions. This became the rubric in my early years that I implemented to help build my knowledge of self, and the resilience I possessed. By looking for opportunities of self-discovery, I found that my strength was developed that I couldn’t attribute to any other characteristic than resilience. By regarding myself in a positive way, I know that I was pleased with myself. With resilience though, I must remain optimistic in order to validate my self-value. If I judge myself too severely, then I leave little room for growth and create a blind spot that inhibits me from learning how resilient I am. The paradigm through which I view myself isn’t what dictates my resilience.

If I am a resilient person, I will bounce back after a failure or defeat, and quickly rejuvenate my spirits. Two things that I cannot change are the way that I was designed and the type of failure that comes from any situation. The only thing that I can change is how I react to it. Striving for perfection isn’t the goal here; instead, I focus on the strength that I lack. Resilience for me is the strength I gain after suffering from defeat.

By gaining strength, I am better prepared to succeed when it comes to situations I find challenging. My growth should be measured by the things I achieve after a downfall, not by the pain that I suffered during the downfall. With my newfound resilience I have learned to be a stronger me after the toughest of times, I can and will utilize this strength in any scenario and that is the beauty of resilience.

Corey, 48

Corey, 48

Meet Corey

Coming home from Iraq to a broken home and child neglect, I was unprepared to hear “You can have the kids, I wanna take care of myself!

Dealing with PTSD, job loss and wondering how to raise four kids alone, I made mistakes.

I wasn’t taking care of my own stress and mental health, nor did I put the lives of my children first. Asking for help as a military man was difficult for me. The stigma of losing a job and family broke me. Intending to take my life, God instead, sent me to prison. Here in prison, God spoke to me. God taught me things. God showed his love for me. 

Since I’ve been down, I’ve become an artist.  I’ve learned to sculpt wood, draw manga, write musical lyrics and write a novel. But most of all, I’ve learned to live life and not throw it away. 

Since I’ve been down, I’ve become a “lawyer.” I’ve helped men get the medical care they’ve needed. I’ve exposed the illegal actions of staff. I’ve helped men quash warrants and reduce bail, in order to obtain work release. I’ve helped men earn freedom. But most of all I’ve helped men not take their freedom lightly, to not throw it away on drugs, money and crime.

Since I’ve been down, I’ve studied God. I earned a Masters of Divinity, and I’ve nearly completed two doctoral programs: Doctor of Theology and Doctor of Ministry. With God, I’ve been able to talk to men about the evils of drugs and a new path with God. I’ve been able to convince men not to commit suicide for another day, and wait on God to show the light from our own experiences. But most of all, I have a job when I die. Working for him.

As a Japanese American, hailing from Samurai lineage, I am no longer a lordless Samurai called a Ronin. Once the Samurai finds his Lord, loyalty is the highest ideal. As I am within 90 days of leaving prison, I shall draw upon the Samurai spirit of my people.

Before coming to prison, I was clay that had yet to be dug up and put into something useful. The clay, in an artist’s hands, can be something special. I have and am an artist. I hope you get one or become one too!

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