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Coming Of Age…

When I was nine-years-old, I’d known early on in my heart that I was my own man. While most of my friends in Cleveland were running to the store for older guys in the projects, or holding their drugs and guns, I was out stealing and hustling to make ends meet. On several occasions, grown dudes had approached me in my hood with propositions or intimidation tactics, but every time I’d declined, assuring them that I WAS MY OWN MAN! It cost me a few war wounds, but I’d also earned my respect! At age twelve, I’d made a name for myself and influenced my peers to stand on their own. They’d stopped making the constant store runs and carrying contraband for older dudes: we were all equal then, a team.

Rise And Fall…

At sixteen, I’d become the “poster boy” for Longwood Projects. Things were going exceptionally well for me financially, but you know what they say, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems”. Not only had I’d begun facing trouble with the Law, I was having problems with girls, and everybody around me habitually looked for handouts. It’s like the more I’d extended myself to people, the more they’d expected me to. Most of my so-called friends became foes, and the real friends I’d had in my corner were in and out of prison. Haters were mad because my hustle was stronger than theirs, women had become upset that I wouldn’t commit to them (many of them), and the police were irate: what I made in a day on the streets was their monthly earnings. It wasn’t long before my world had turned upside down: I was arrested on drug conspiracy charges and sent to federal prison.

The Reality Check…

Not knowing what to expect, I’d begun serving my twelve-year prison bid, being surrounded by many men of different races, backgrounds and beliefs. I was always ahead of my time, so I chose to mix with the elder crowd, opting not to hang around guys my age with limited conversations of going back to the streets, and doing the same things that landed them in prison. The older men would teach me lots about life. They’d always painted pictures that made much sense, schooling me on the importance of being in my childrens’ lives—instilling how vital valuing freedom is: freedom at every level. That’s when I’d started revamping myself. I’d realized that I could change my life from whatever state it was to the life I’d desired it to be: by transforming my mindset and reference of myself. Where imagination leads you, reality will follow.

Soon after, I’d begun reading great books, learning more about my history and putting my best foot forward towards change—taking necessary steps to continue my legacy here on Earth, positively. The results of my choice to stay focused in prison, panned out well. I did my time peacefully, and was able to obtain my GED and college credits. I’d then begun my journey into the literary world as a writer. With application, I’d written manuscripts, and eventually was noticed by one of the greatest publishers of all-time, HICKSON: CEO of GHETTOHEAT®. He signed me, giving me an opportunity to be more than just a street hustler—one known for doing wrong in the past. Your attitude towards failure, determines your aptitude for success…never stop growing. Life is a constant orchestration of growth: through adversity and challenge.

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