1984, born to a mexican / indian mother and a white father whose love for me was so strong that to this day I haven’t lost it, all of their love was for their children, but for one another, their love was toxic. So here I am. An angry child of 12, “we’ll make it out someday” is what we brothers promised. It was us against the world, the time of firsts was upon us; my first girlfriend, first kiss, and first hit of weed. So here I am. Nineteen years old and living way too fast. My vision was limited to see only what was right in front of me. I needed that paycheck, that bottle, that cool drink with the long brown hair, I needed to numb my feelings and lose myself in a glass bubble. Wait, that’s what I thought I needed, according to my values back then, I was a product of the struggle not the trouble. Then it happened, I pull out the nine that would cause so much pain, “empty your pockets” is what i told ’em, I’ll just keep the heat on him, “that will hold him.” Why is he acting funny, turning and reaching, he must be going to pull out the rest. Oh shit!!! This can’t be happening, he’s grabbin’ for the burner, bang-bang-bang, the first one struck his chest. So here I am. 31 years old, a man who has loved, has lost more than most, but most importantly, a man who has chosen virtue over vice, a changed man in every sense of the word. Values and goals make the concrete where I firmly plant my feet. As the architect of my future, I will continue to build the new model which makes the old one obsolete. So here I am.