I write to you from the other side — the side that awaits you if you don’t change your course of action soon.
I know you are going through an extremely tough time right now as you seek independence and try to figure out your identity. Most teenagers find themselves doing the same thing. Your friends are very influential right now, and I understand that no one wants to be shunned by their peers, but please believe me when I say what you have been doing to impress them and gain acceptance is NOT who you are and will only lead you down a path of self-destruction.
I know you started drinking because you are very shy and wanted to come out of your shell and be more sociable, especially when it comes to talking to girls, but if you knew what I know, you would stop right now. You wouldn’t pick up another drink if you knew you would become a full-blown alcoholic within the next two years. Martin, you’re better than that! You’re smarter than that and have the potential to do so much more than what you’re currently doing. You can make it in this world by pursuing what makes you happy — not what others want or expect you to do.
You have so much potential. I see it beneath your bravado, tough-guy exterior. You don’t have to put up this facade with me — I know you . . . better than you think. You’re not a gangster, thug, or tough guy — who are you kidding?! I know you’re passionate about art and writing, so why not pursue those things with everything in you? Trust me, you will not regret taking this path in life; it sure beats the alternative — the one that surely awaits you if you stay on this destructive path you’re currently on.
Man, if you only knew the pain you’re putting your mom through by going to jail for those stolen-car joyrides you and your brother have been going on with your so-called friends. Are you crazy?! You’re already putting yourself in a category that makes it more likely you’ll end up in prison than in college! How do you think your mom will feel about that? Believe me, Martin, her pain will be immense. In fact, it very well could contribute to her death some years from now. You don’t want that on your conscience, to say the very least, do you? But imagine how happy she would be if you did what you’ve always talked about doing: going to college to become an architect.
You don’t want to be where I am, where you’ll be told when you can shower, use the phone, watch TV, eat, and go to bed. You don’t want to miss your nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays and Christmases for the next seventeen and a half years, do you? It is beyond demoralizing to have to watch them grow up through pictures and visits every six months or so. Trust me, that would make you regret every decision you are currently making in your life, Martin.
There are countless men where I am who routinely reflect on their lives when they were your age, expressing how they wished they had made different choices that would have kept them from this dreaded place. I am amongst them. I pray you change your behavior soon so you’re not counted among us as well. I beg of you to change before it’s too late!
I see what you and your friends do. Where do you think that will lead you? Seriously, I want you to take a moment and ponder where you think those things will get you. Do you think there is a future in doing drugs, drinking, and stealing? Look around you; give me the name one successful alcoholic or drug addict! Listen, I’m not here to lecture you; I never liked that either when I was your age, but as I now sit here in a concrete cell staring out of a narrow window into a courtyard with a basketball hoop and barbed wire, a huge part of me wishes I had paid attention to what those older people were trying to tell me. Clearly, they knew things I didn’t, even though I thought I knew all that I needed to know. I only tell you these things because I love you and don’t want to see you end up here — this dreaded place that surely awaits you if you keep on your treacherous path. They even already have a number assigned to you if and when you show up here.
I want you to reject what those who claim to be your friends want you to do because when you really think about it, you should be able to clearly see they don’t have your best interest at heart. Be true to yourself, believe in yourself, and give yourself a chance — you deserve it. Deny these people the opportunity of ever being able to use that state inmate identification number — ever!
Your Older Incarcerated Self
Categories: Martin Lockett