Meet Terence…

My education has given me the clarity and understanding of how to be accountable. It’s like I have the answers to the test. The test of life. I’m a work in progress which started when I enrolled in the Hudson Link- Mercy College. Today I can say that I don’t hate myself anymore. I’ve even started to learn to like myself and maybe one day I’ll learn to love myself too.

Terence, 47
Incarcerated: 12 years
Housed: Sing Sing Correctional Facility

When my younger brother died in his mid 30’s, I had a very difficult time grieving. We were close. When he got into trouble for a fight at school he called me to meet with our high school disciplinarian. No matter what I’ve done in my life he always looked up to me and never changed how he saw me, even though I’ve definitely disappointed plenty of people. His death could have been the straw that broke this camel’s back. I wanted to drop out. I could barely function but Professor Downey told me to keep showing up. In her class, I also started to learn about the effects trauma had on children’s development and decision making. So I listened and kept showing up because I trusted her knowledge based on the work she’s done in research. A light bulb went off in her class: the class brought up a lot of pain from my childhood with the different case studies we’d read on adverse childhood experiences. The discussions and my brother’s death at the time had me on an emotional edge. Showing up was about all I could do. But I was just learning how my traumatic experiences affected my development. It never occurred to me the intense feelings of shame that I can’t really remember ever living without, those reflected in my abnormal development from those events. I just thought they were THINGS that HAPPENED. What I do know is that through education here I’ve been given hope. People who leave prison with a bachelor’s degree have a recidivism rate of 3% and 1% with a masters which I plan on pursuing here. My education has given me the clarity and understanding of how to be accountable. It’s like I have the answers to the test. The test of life. I’m a work in progress which started when I enrolled in the Hudson Link- Mercy College. Today I can say that I don’t hate myself anymore. I’ve even started to learn to like myself and maybe one day I’ll learn to love myself too.

1 Comment

  1. Diane bausher

    So Terence, I found this when you referenced it in the handwritten letter you sent. It brought tears to my eyes. Childhood trauma runs in this family and then you add generational trauma and it puts us on a journey we would rather not take but must to live an authentic and honest life. So proud of your accomplishments. Keep up the good fight, Hugs, Diane

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