Hey, everybody. I wanted to write this brief piece kind of talking about my past and what I went through.
I was born and immediately started experiencing the darkness and scariness of our human society. A man tried to give me beer at age three, and I couldn’t find out why so many of us youth were suffering. I would investigate it, but my young self had nobody to talk to about what I was seeing, feeling and experiencing.
I was bullied for being fat. I used to think only having a mother was completely natural until another child called me a “bastard” because her parent told her that’s what I was. I was stopped dead in my young tracks and began to explore my fatherless reality.
Eventually I met my father, and I wish him peace and respect — though, we don’t click. There is no relationship now I have with my father. I have a relationship with one of my sisters from his side, her husband and their daughter, which is more than I could ever ask for.
Even before I became a teenager, I developed alcoholism abuse issues and I was exposed to sexuality at too young an age to ever develop healthy in that regard. It took me a lot of pain, a lot of mutual disrespect, and a lot of not doing things the appropriate way that I found out how I want to be in relationships and how I choose to behave and respect my counter parts. I just wanted to be there for people and build something meaningful, but the world is very tough on the minds of young men and young people every where. Our society clearly is not in the best place with explaining sexuality to our kids.
I fell into gangs and juvenile halls twice. The second time I was going to steal beer for a store, but I put it back because I knew my mom was in the store. When my friend and I were walking out of the aisle, the manager said: “Grab him!” and my friend and I were put into chokeholds. My mom came running up and a young guy put her in a chokehold. I swear I wanted to hurt him so bad, but I was drunk and couldn’t do anything to defend my innocent mother. They let us go because my mom made them look at my waist band, which contained no liquor. Yet, the manager still managed to intimidate one of her employees, a classmate of mine, to tell her where I went to school so they could call a detective. This manager took it on herself to do that, to show up to my moms court case (because she said my mom was the get away driver) and teach her employee how to lie on the stand. My mother did a week in jail because of that and I am still very mad at that. I went to school drunk to ask a girl to be my girlfriend because I needed liquid courage. I was picked up by a security guard and taken to the office. The detective was there, my probation officer (who couldn’t look me in my eye) and some security guards. I was scared, drunk and afraid (the detective was an asshole) and I knew I had no power against the system, so I kept saying: “Yeah, I know, I’m going to jail.” And one security guard told me: “Brandon, shut up. If you stop talking, they can’t take you in.” The detective took me to the hospital across the street from my house, and I asked him to let me go, that I wouldn’t do anything. He said: “No, sorry, I gotta take you in.” And then he took me into the hospital, made my back face a bed, handcuffed me to it and raised it to it’s highest setting and left me there hanging from the hospital bed with the metal cutting into my wrists. A male nurse saw and started questioning him on what happened. The nurse had my back. Thank you. In my only seemingly chance and window at rebellion, I began singing “Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest.
I went to prison once. When I went to prison, that’s when I sobered up and I knew I didn’t want to run the streets anymore. I wanted to live the best life possible, and so I began to change from the inside out. I left behind gang racism, and started promoting love between races. I was singled out and targeted but held my own because I was determined not to let anybody hurt me or stop me from becoming who I knew in my soul I always wanted to be.
I’ve totally transformed myself and worked my ass off to be the person I am now. And I just got back from a weekend ceremony, where I’ve touched very deep degrees of enlightenment. I feel so strong, personally powerful in myself, refreshed, cleaned, and confident, and so mature and wise, that I am so thankful to life for icing my cake after all of my struggle.
Please know that though this is a brief description of my total life story, the darkness and emotional pain and weight was sooooo heavy… I used to literally beg God to kill me in my dreams. One night, after a crying session where I wished death upon myself, I fell asleep in my dream and it was all black. A voice asked me: “Do you want to die?” And I thought about every reason why I wanted to live. And then I said: “No, I want to live.”
And I woke up. And now I’m grateful for my past and I see it as intense training grounds to give me this beautiful understanding I feel blessed with.
May you all be well – and in the name of the Buddhist prayer: “For all those who faced death and chose life.”
Sincerely, and with Purpose,
- B. Elliott