Cyril D. Walrond

GROWING PAINS!

Standing in front of a dull reflective sheet of metal, I am staring at myself in what some would call a mirror but truly it is anything but.

As I try to make out my face in the distorted reflection I notice something that was new to me…

Facial hair!

Having already been incarcerated for nearly a year at this time, I am faced with an obstacle that if handled wrong could forever scar my baby face.

The obstacle: Shaving!

I am 18 by now and residing in the 3-West Unit of the Pierce County Jail where I have bigger things to worry about than shaving.

While my life is in limbo, and my future uncertain in terms of my judicial fate.

One thing is for certain that I am still growing and my body is maturing.

Arrested development may stunt some peoples mental, emotional, and even intellectual growth. But, I am still a growing boy and physiologically I am having to grow up in a foreign environment and adapt to foreign ways of living.

I had to learn that the simple things prior to incarceration aren’t so simple while incarcerated.

About 30 minutes pass and I am still just looking at myself in this sheet of metal.

Examining.

Pondering.

Praying!

Most boys learn from their fathers or a signifcant male role model in their lives about how to shave.

Not me.

Standing in front of this metal sheet I ask my cell-mate for advice. He is an older partner that has not only watched me grow up in the jail. But, he has watched my facial hair sprout to become two seperate and misshapened patches on opposite sides of my chin.

He notices my nerves and so he jumps off his bunk and tells me to watch him.

I literally pull out a lined piece of paper and begin taking detailed notes:

Let sink run until water is warm.

Wash face.

After washing face, lather face with soap.

Grab new single blade razor out of bag. Etc., etc.

However somewhere in my meticulous note taking I must have missed a step or two or several, because this experience for me soon turned into a traumatic one.

He cleans up after himself and tells me, “it’s your turn lil’ homie!”

Not the words I wanted to hear as my hands were already nervously shaking and I haven’t even grabbed hold of the razor yet.

The moment of truth. The moment I dreaded. I try to stall.

“So let me see, let me get this right. First I…”

“Cuz, I already showed you what to do. On the set, I ain’t gonna hold your hand through it. Either you are gonna sink or swim, float or drown! Stop actin’ scared! Stop stallin’! Just do it!”

He figured out my stall tactics.

He picks up a Chronicles of Narnia book and begins reading. Leaving me once again staring in the sheet of metal.

His endearing words of encouragement were in essence a gang-members rendition of a motivational speech. It did the job.

I looked myself in the eye and gave myself a silent pep talk as I go threw the notes. Line by line. Detail by detail.

What he did not tell me about was TOUCH. As in, how much pressure do I apply to the razor as I am taking it across my skin?

Looking in the “mirror” I am pretty pleased with myself.

My baby face is back. My baby face is in tact.

But wait, I begin to notice redness and droplets of blood.

Having stepped away from the sink I walk back towards it and just the brisk movement that created a breeze had my face squenched as if I were eating a raw lemon.

I touch my chin and see sprinkles of blood dotting my hand.

I did not just shave my two little patches off. I shaved the skin off my face.

For days I was in pain and agony.

My chin hurt when I laughed. My chin hurt when I frowned.

My chin hurt when I touched it. My chin hurt when air hit it.

My chin hurt when it was hot. My chin hurt when it was cold.

MY CHIN JUST HURT!

I could not stand washing my face or even showering during this traumatic time in my life.

But worst than the physical pain and agony was the embarrassment of having to walk around the unit and explain to my boys why I had to scabs on my chin.

These are the simple GROWING PAINS of life.

EPILOGUE: Since this day I have never shaved with a razor again and doubt that I ever will as long as I have a choice.

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756

Categories: Cyril D. Walrond

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