Are you afraid of being you? Too often I see guys coming into prison trying to be something or someone they’re not. Men want to look hard or important in the eyes of other men. This causes problems because eventually you get found out. People loose respect for fakers or Wannabes. I respect the men who don’t put on an act. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what type of money you had in the streets; if you’re genuine, people are going to embrace you. I noticed that the guys who come into prison being themselves have no problem adjusting and getting through their time. When you’re playing a role and faking, the truth always comes out. Sometimes the truth can get you hurt.
I ask again,”Are you afraid of being you?” Each day you wake up and look at yourself in the mirror what do you see? Do you even know that person? The issue with being a Wannabe is the work and lies you have to keep coming up with. You have to keep explaining yourself or cleaning up stories for people. It can be stressful.
I consider myself a Wannabe in a different way. I want-to-be a better person when I get out. I don’t try to impress men inside prison because it means nothing unless you plan on spending the rest of your life in prison. I take no pride in doing time. This isn’t the life I wanted. I want to impress myself by coming home and being better. I had a young guy get excited when I told him how long I’ve been down. He smiled and said, ” Man you been biddin’!…” He said it as if it was something to be proud of. I shook my head at him and said, “I haven’t enjoyed doing this time. This is what I HAD to do. If I had a choice I would’ve changed my life before getting to this point. I spend my time finding ways to never enter these gates again.”
Young guys are too impressionable. They strive to be kindred with other criminals. They Wannabe like the things they hear in here. They see our pictures and want to return home to try to emulate what they saw or heard in prison. I tell guys all the time, “The things you heard about us was done in the past. We got caught and put away for a long time. Why would you want to follow in our footsteps? What you should see is the truth; the things we did didn’t work!”
There are older guys misleading younger guys in here because those guys started out as Wannabes too. They need the younger guys to follow their lead to validate themselves. They pull guys into gangs, drugs or worse. I look down on these guys; they hate their lives so much that they want young men to be just like them. If you follow the lead of a fool, you will become a fool.
My message to young men is always going to be positive. I may deliver the message in a raw way but my intention is to wake you up. I want you to see my life and instead of praising the illegal things I did, look at the other side of this life. If you Wannabe something, be better than I was by learning from my mistakes. There are a few young guys in here who pay attention to what’s right. I can see the intelligence in these guys. I tell them all the time that they are way too smart to spend their lives in prison. I ask them if they are afraid to be who they are because I used to be. I used to be afraid to show the intelligent side of me. I didn’t want to be looked at funny or unaccepted by my peers. When you get to prison you begin to see your flaws. You have a choice to change or you can continue being a Wannabe; It’s all on you. The world is very different now and we need men to be stronger and more responsible. I hope more young men make the right decision.
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