YOU WILL LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF
My name is Carlos Avalos. I am currently serving a life sentence. I have made numerous mistakes in my life. I hope in time I will be able to correct some of them.
Being incarcerated in solitary confinement can be very stressful. My mind becomes my worst enemy. I constantly find myself reflecting on my past actions wondering what life would be like if I would have chosen a different path, made a different decision.
I know at one point in time, in anyone’s life, they wish they had the capacity to turn back the hands of time and do things differently.
I know this is not a possibility but let’s say for the sake of argument you were capable of traveling to the past for 30 minutes. What would you do with those 30 minutes?
Me personally, I would have an intervention with myself.
I would choose to travel to the end of 2009. New Years Eve to be specific.
I was 15 years old and I was fresh out of institution. I thought I was a man. I wanted to conquer the world.
When I get to this point in time, I know time is of the essence. I can’t help but look around and notice all the things I once took for granted. I take in the sight of my home. I’m on the outside looking in. I can see my family through the window, and I’m overcome with grief. I feel pressure on my chest. My eyes tear up. I fight to regain control of my emotions.
I want to run in and tell my dad and step mom that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything, that I finally understand. I want to hug them. I don’t want to be a man no more. I want to be a kid.
I run into myself when I reach my room. I see myself getting ready to go out for the night, ready to run the streets instead of spending the evening with my family.
“What’s up Carlitos” I tell myself. I can see the way my younger self stares at me in astonishment. I can also see that I’m high.
“Who the fuck are you?” (I must be trippin.) “What the fuck!” my younger self exclaims.
“I am you." I reply. "As you can see, I’m an older you. I’m from the future. Sit down, we have a lot to discuss and limited time.”
My younger self sits down.
“Look, our future isn’t bright. I have traveled here to tell you that you have to change for both our sakes. I know you're angry at Dad and our step-mom. I know you don’t care about anything except the neighborhood but I promise one day that will all change.
"You will grow to love yourself. You will learn to forgive others. You will come to realize that all the homies will forget about you as soon as your out of sight. But your family, Mom, Dad, Gabby, Marcos, Maria, Teresa, Jacky, will all be there to love you and support you.
"You will meet wonderful people. Chris, Neaners, Susan, Soraya, Treiya. People who will teach you about love and forgiveness. They will teach you how to trust again, but best of all they will teach you about God and how special you are to him."
“Why doesn’t our future look bright?” my younger self asks.
I tell him. “We are serving a life sentence. This is our second chance. Your decisions will determine our future."
“What do I have to do?” he asks, looking at me expectantly.
“Look at Dad,” I point out to the living room. "He’s so happy to have you home. Spend the evening with the family. Don’t go out tonight.
"Talk to Jacky. Tell her how angry you feel inside. I promise there will come a time when you wish you would have spent more time with the family.
"What you have to do is stop and think about your actions and the consequences that come with them.
“The hurt you feel,” I say, “will grow and you will start to hurt others. The pain inside will become unbearable. Your hate will consume you. Trust me. It almost destroyed me.
“I have so many regrets so please don’t let this be another one. Stay home tonight. Try to do something positive. I love you! So love yourself.
"My time is running out.”
I stop and just look at my younger self.
"You have a purpose. You are not alone. You are my past. I think about you every day. I remember you, so remember me. Let this memory be the foundation for your greatness. Trust in God.”
I came back to the present, a free man.