The Beat Within, a publication of writing and art from incarcerated youth, was founded by David Inocencio in San Francisco in 1996. Weekly writing and conversation workshops are held in California, six other states and Washington, D.C. Submissions and new partners are welcomed. Write to him at email@example.com.
At 15 I know that it seems like you’ve got nothing to live for and so much to die for. From trying to come up as a little homie to living lavish with those Ecstasy pills you’re running through like candy.
I’m telling you now you will never settle the scores for those deaths. In the process of your pain you will only harm innocent people that had no hand in either of your losses.
When I was growing up I thought forgiveness was weakness. I believed you shouldn’t turn the other cheek or be meek towards those who wronged you because that’s weak. I believed you get even or you pay it forward toward someone else. I tried to get even and stay one or two up to ease the pain and prevent myself from being hurt again. I built a wall of toughness, selfishness, anger and a hardened heart.