"I wanted it to work, I just didn't know how."

I am Dre.

10.16.2014

Hey what’s up? How are you? I just got your 2nd letter today. I did respond to your first one. I’m not sure if it made it though. I forgot to add the extra money for postage, but I think they sent it anyways & just charged me for the postage, so it’s all good.

I’m glad to hear from you though. I look forward to your letters. I was having a bad day & your letter took all that away, so thanks for that.

And yeah, my brain has been up to speed & sharp Lol. Its gotten better since I started going to school. I usually only feel that way once im in my cell for a matter of hours. Its not something that happens all the time though. But being able to go to school is great. We’re in our cell basically 24 hours a day except 2, 10 min meals in the dining hall. So school allows me some more time out. I’ve been doing a lot of math lately. I love math. It’s always been my fav. subject.

And yeah I would love to be an attorney. I think the idea comes from being around the attornys that took me to trial, and just seeing how professional & smart they were, I thought that was cool. And also because they took my case for free, not only cause it would be good for them if they won, but because of how hard they fought for me just cause they actually cared about me based on our relationship that we built over the course of me getting ready for trial. So I think it would be cool to help young kids in situations similar to mine because I know how it feels to go through it & not be able to afford an attorney. So I would take alot of cases for free. But I really do love my sleep, so that’s a big compromise.

I DO THINK BEING AT THE residential HOME REALLY TAUGHT ME ALOT ABOUT MYSELF AND TAUGHT ME A LOT OF THINGS THAT THE STREETS COULDN’T. JUST BEING ABLE TO LIVE WITH OUT HAVING MY GUARD UP ALL THE TIME REALLY GAVE ME A PEACE OF MIND. I REALLY DID LOVE LIVING THAT LIFESTYLE, BUT IT WAS STILL VERY DIFFERENT IN A LOT OF WAYS & THAT MADE IT HARD FOR ME TO FULLY COMMIT TO THAT LIFE STYLE BECAUSE I HAD A PIECE OF ME THAT MISSED MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I WAS FAMILIAR WITH.

But also having been in the streets prior to going to the residential home & having that sense of freedom, then going to the residential home & having that authority & structure, I really didn’t like it at first, but I think it really did help me, but I always missed that feeling of freedom.

And yes, living in a residential home was weird at first, but it was a nice program & it was in a nice area. I think the weird part was not living in my own home. I was always scared that the kids at school would find out I lived there. But being there, I learned that I was good at so many things. Things I didn’t notice in the streets.

My brother did experience a lot of trauma growing up, and I’m glad you explained that to me. But he went through a lot. Did I mention that hes blind in his left eye completely? He tripped and hit his eye playing, on the end table. He was young. Like 10 years old. I cant remember exactly though. They tried to fix it but they couldn’t. And yeah, he smokes a lot of weed. He reminds me of Wiz Khalifa. He was using ecstasy a lot last time I was out, but I’m not sure now. I just talked to him last weekend. We only get the phone on the weekend. That’s my guy.

My mom didn’t answer my call because she said its too hard for her. My sister & I talked instead, and even though she is strong when we’re on the phone, she breaks down once the phone hangs up. Its so hard for them, but I’m gonna stay strong for all of us. And yeah, I am the rock in our family. How did you know?

Surviving everyday life in prison is hard, but you find ways to manage. Some guys chose to get involved in stupid stuff to keep their mind off the reality. But I never lose sight of whats important, which is family & my appeal. I constantly think about life outside of here & if I get the chance to get back out there, what I wanna do with my life. I never think of spending 61 yrs in this place, even though it could happen, but I don’t think about it. The moment I start thinking like that, that means I’ve given up already.

I focus on growing as a person & being positive. But like you said, its hard to think positive all the time. I have my days just like everyone else, you know? Maybe if I’m having a bad day, I’ll just write you, if that’s cool. You’re the only one who seems to understand a lot of the feelings that I be having.

I think that once I went to the residential home, I really did want a different lifestyle at that point, but like I said, it still was very different, And I wasn’t 100% comfortable with change, and anytime I felt like that, I always wanna go back to my old neighborhood. I don’t think that way now though. I’m 100% ready to live a new lifestyle. It’s exciting just to think about it.

And yeah, it did take me some time to be 100% ready, but there were times where I wanted a different lifestyle when I was in the streets I just really didn’t know how, and I was scared. Scared of what people would say & scared that it wouldn’t work or I would be too different to fit in with the other kids.

Playing basketball was definitely a point when I really wanted something different, but I gave up. I chose the streets instead because I wasn’t familiar with the skills that I needed to make that type of lifestyle adjustment like you said. I wanted it so bad though. I quit the team & I ended up coming back, but I quit the same day because I felt uncomfortable & kinda out of place.

I WANTED IT TO WORK, I JUST DIDN’T KNOW HOW. SO I ENDED UP GOING RIGHT BACK TO THE STREETS. THIS WAS MY 8TH GRADE YEAR. I ENDED UP DOING THE SAME EXACT THING MY FRESHMAN YEAR IN HIGH SCHOOL, EXCEPT IT WAS FOOTBALL THIS TIME. I WAS SO DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE KIDS ON THE BASKETBALL & FOOTBALL TEAM & IT MADE ME SO UNCOMFORTABLE THAT I HAD TO GET AWAY FROM IT.

But I actually played on a park district Basketball team & really like it, when I was at the residential home.

When I say that I was different from the rest of the kids on the team, I don’t mean that I was weird or nothing like that. I just experienced & seen a lot of things that they didn’t. And I was involved in a lot of things. But once again, I couldn’t commit to it. I quit before the season started. But if I would’ve gave it a chance for a little longer, and I got used to it, I would’ve been straight. But I ended up getting suspended before the season started because I got into a situation with a bully, and I pushed her. She was a big girl, and I was like 5’4” & real skinny. So I was suspended for that, and because of my suspension, I had to miss the 1st couple of games of the season. And I couldn’t practice for like 2 weeks either. So I said forget it & didn’t come back once I was told I could play, at first.

I ended up coming back, but my spirit was gone, and it just didn’t feel right. What really pissed me off was that, the 1st game of the season was against the school that I went to when I was at the resid. home. And it would have been my first time going back. I wanted to play in front of my friends there, especially the girls. Because even though we kept in touch by phone, our friendship eventually started to fade cause we were like 45 mins apart. And I wasn’t driving yet. But even though I was in the streets, I always put school first. I loved going to school.

It is interesting that being a “thug” is cool. Did I use the word thug? I don’t think it was really about being a thug, but just doing things that guys in the streets do. Like: selling drugs, using drugs, carrying guns & stuff like that. A lot of people thought that was cool. Specifically the people in the nice areas, or the kids that didn’t see & experience the things that people from my neighborhood did. Because the people in my neighborhood are used to seeing these types of things everyday and its normal. But for the ones who aren’t used to it, they think its cool. And sometimes they try & be that way to a certain extent. Until they really have an up close experience of some of the things in person, or they see someone get locked up & it becomes a reality for them.

Its like some rap artists rap about all types of stuff like: guns, drugs, shootings & selling drugs, but these are things that they only see other people doing from a distance, and they think its cool. But at the end of the day, they’re artists, but they’re good at convincing people.

I THINK ITS COOL THAT YOU SAID, THE LABELS PEOPLE PUT ON US CAN BE SOMETHING VERY POWERFUL THAT COULD HOLD US BACK FROM WHO WE ARE INSIDE. BECAUSE WHEN I WAS OUT, I OFTEN TRIED TO LIVE UP TO THESE CERTAIN LABELS. AND THERE WERE TIMES WHERE I KNEW THE BEST THING FOR ME WAS ONE THING VERSUS BEING IN THE STREETS, AND A PART OF WHY I ALWAYS CHOSE THE STREETS WAS BECAUSE I CARED TOO MUCH OF WHAT PEOPLE THOUGHT OF ME. EVEN SINCE I’VE BEEN IN PRISON, I’VE THOUGHT LIKE THAT. I don’t think that way now, but i used to.

If I was to get out today, there are so many people that put a label on me & think I am going to live the same life that I did prior to me getting locked up. But I’m ready for that. No one can tell me anything, especially if they haven’t been by my side to really get some sense of what I have to go through on a daily basis, and how much I’ve changed & grown.

I don’t care what people think. Not anymore at least. And your right, if everyone was telling me that I could make it to the NBA, I would have believed it & really turned that encouragement into motivation. But you were right, we can never know what would have been, and I am still cool Lol. Thanks for that.

You asked where my enemies are now, and what a normal life would be like now for me. I really don’t look at anyone as my enemy anymore, but I know there are plenty of people that consider me as their enemy, a lot of them I probably don’t even know. But they’re still out in my old neighborhood & other small towns in my county. But if I am successful on my appeal & I win at my next trial, I wouldn’t let that stop me from being who I want. Maybe the best thing for me would be to just move away & start fresh.

Thanks for the compliments though, I appreciate that. The things you spoke about, saying that Im a stronger person now that I have a new mind-set because I can face reality with dignity & integrity. I’ve never thought of it that way, but now since you put it like that, it makes perfect sense. And these feelings and the change in my mind-set seem to have come naturally, and even when I start to get tempted by things that would normally influence me to think the way I used to, it always goes away and I cant even entertain the thoughts anymore. And I really do enjoy participating in this project, I don’t understand why anyone would wanna blow it off. I told you like 50 times that I think what your doing is special, ant that’s part in why I want to help. To see how passionate you are about this project, and the thought alone that its for others benefit & none for your self is inspiring & I wanna do anything I can to help you be successful cause I can see that it means a lot to you.

I really do love the people that’s in my life. The adults in my life were always loving & great towards me. But like you said, they weren’t the best role models at all for me. I think they’re all really good people, but if they really wanted me to become successful someday, they would have encouraged me to chase my dreams & not encourage me to do the things they were doing.

And for my mom & other family members, I think they could’ve guided me more. To tell me, “Not to do this, or don’t do that” isn’t enough. It should’ve been more like, “Don’t do this, or that, but do this instead.” Because you can tell me not to go to streets & keep me in the house but that’s only going to work for so long because the streets at that point was all I knew & was familiar with, so if I wasn’t told not to go back to the streets & also taken away from them, then also guided in the direction of something new, I would just go back to what I was comfortable with.

Just because I’m taken away from the streets, doesn’t mean I’m capable of going in the right direction on my own because its something that Im not familiar with, or wasn’t, except when I was at the resid. home. But I had a lot of help there. And now that I’m older, I think I can do it with a little bit of help, or some encouragement. But im not blaming anyone. I’m just glad that my eyes are finally open & I hope I get a 2nd chance, because I know its gonna be a lot harder once I get out, but Im excited for that challenge.

I would love to start a family someday & have some kids. I think I would be real good at it. Its something I think about a lot. I would want to have everything figured out, with a college degree & a career first, and I would wanna start with my first child at around your age, and just continue to pop them out in my 30’s and maybe even my early 40’s. That way they’ll keep me young for a while & keep me busy.

I’ve been thinking about contacting my dad’s [name removed] side of the family, but only if/once I get out. But its definitely something I think about on a regular. But first I wanna get some test done to determine & be sure that we’re related, you know?

That’s cool that your a basketball fan, and especially a Bulls fan. Ain’t that something. I figured that you knew a little something based on some of the things you talked about in your last letter. I’m like, “She must’ve done some research.” But come to find out your a Bulls fan. That’s crazy. And cool. Its also cool that you always wanted to play ball. You weren’t that good huh? Did you ever practice? And do you still got a little bit of game? Maybe some day we can play one on one. I’ll take you serious. We play a lot of ball in here. Theres only a handful of guys that are competition, but the rest think they’re the next Lebron James.

I’m usually the youngest & the smallest. These guys are sometimes 6’3” & 6’5”, but I’m only 5’8”-5’9”. That doesn’t mean anything though. The season begins on the 29th I think against the knicks. I hope we beat them by 40. Especially with that stunt that Carmelo Anthony pulled. Acting like he was coming to Chicago. Rose didn’t want him there anyways. And I got the bulls going to the finals this year. Lebron James isn’t as big as a factor as everyone thinks. We’ll see though.

IN MY LAST LETTER, I SAID THAT I FEEL VULNERABLE SOMETIMES. I FEEL VULNERABLE NOW BECAUSE THE CHANGE IN MY MIND-SET THAT I HAVE NOW. I FEEL LIKE I DON’T HAVE TO HAVE MY GUARD UP ANYMORE TO A CERTAIN EXTENT NOW THAT I DON’T THINK WITH THAT “STREET MENTALITY” ANYMORE. I’M MORE EMOTIONAL THAN BEFORE, WHICH ISN’T A BAD THING. I ACTUALLY LIKE IT. BUT I ALSO LIKE THE FEELING OF NOT FEELING ANY EMOTION & NOT LETTING THINGS GET TO ME AT ALL. THE MORE EMOTIONS I HAVE, THE EASIER IT IS TO GET STRESSED, DEPRESSED, AND ALSO TO LET THINGS GET TO ME, BIG OR SMALL.

With that emotional state of mind, things don’t bother me much. Like no matter how big a problem can be, I wont panic, but instead, I’ll think really hard on ways to fix it. And I know you say that’s not good, but its situations, including the one im in now where I need to do that, not only for me, but for my family, because like you said in your letter I am the rock in my family. Everyone is hoping & waiting for me to come home so everything can go back to normal. You know what I mean?

And no I’m not worried or physically vulnerable Lol. If you meant that as if I’m vulnerable to getting raped or something like that, no im not. Those types of things don’t happen in here. Maybe in the 80’s, but not now. I haven’t seen a gay person yet. They’re all in protective custody. These guys are into gang banging & stuff like that. And its not like the gang banging on the streets. These are guys that were out 15-20 yrs ago & are really old school. But I’m lucky to be in a environment where its really laid back. I was only moved to the laid back cell house because I’m going to school. Theres also a lot of really good guys in the building im in now that encourages me & gives me advice if I ever need it.

The building I was in a few months ago was rough. I was there for 2 years. But yeah, Im not physically vulnerable at all. Any day I could get into a fight with some one, but I’m some one that everyone gets along with. What I meant was that, by having a different mind-set, I feel vulnerable because I cant think the same way I would if I had that “Street mentality,” which a lot of these guys still do have. So dealing with these guys, I cant afford to have my guard down, because in this environment, that could be considered a weakness. You have to deal with certain individuals in here a certain way, just like in the streets, because these guys prey on others weaknesses. Just by looking in someone’s eyes you can learn a lot instantly sometimes. And by having conversations with guys, I can see things in them that they’re trying to cover up that a person that hasn’t been in the streets and dealt with certain types of grimey & sneaky people couldn’t see. Does that make sense? But I’m not vulnerable to anything like that. I just said it make me feel vulnerable sometimes. But im all good.

I have misjudged people a lot, but I’ve been right a lot of the time too. I really don’t trust first impressions either. But I think eventually a persons true colors come out. But everyone wants to make their first impression their best impression, even if that means being someone that they’re not. But if you really pay attention, you can see through all of that. I really don’t talk much & I’m actually real shy, but I do observe & think a lot.

And for an example of when I said I don’t trust first impressions, it could also be something real simple that happens all the time, like everytime someone moves into a cell with someone, the guy that’s moving into the cell will always act a certain way for like the first week in the cell together, but after that hes a completely different person. Or maybe that just comes from getting tired of being around the same person all day, everyday. I’m not sure.

I’m sorry if its hard to read my writing. These pens are super cheap & hard to write with.

I’ve stressed a lot in these past 4 yrs. Even when I sleep. I get headaches and wake up in the middle of the night. And sometimes, I can’t sleep at all. At one point I didn’t sleep for months because I was stressed & couldn’t stop thinking. I would only sleep for a few hours a night. And even now I still have the same problem, it usually only lasts about a week though at a time. But being stuck in my cell with no one to talk to and just be forced to find a way to deal with all the thoughts & stress makes it overwhelming sometimes. Then my anxiety kicks in bad. And I’ll start eating snacks & stuff like that just cause. Or I’ll write a letter, but don’t send it out because I don’t want to be a burden on anyone out there. But yeah, it’s all good.

A normal life for me outside of prison would be me coming home first. I would spend a lot of time with family, especially the kids. I wouldn’t want to see too many people outside of my close friends & family. I want my life to be more private (besides what we’re doing in this project). I mean I really don’t wanna have too many dealings with people unless they’re in my circle, or unless I move to a new area & I meet new people.

I think I’ll need some time to get back used to everything out there, after being locked up for 4 yrs. I don’t think I need it now, but once I’m out, it’s a completely different story. I’ll immediately sign up for college. Im really broke, so I would probably start at my county’s community college & hopefully transfer to a university. I want to play basketball really bad, so I’ll try out & hopefully be able to compete at the highest level some day. I think Im really good, but if I was out, I could practice a lot & become a lot better. My only problem is my height. But then I look at Nate Robinson & he’s only 5’8” give or take.

I would have to be able to play well enough to earn a scholarship to a university. Get my degree & get a good job, or hopefully go to the NBA, if not, its a lot easier to play over seas for a lot of money. And the thought of getting a job and earning a living is exciting, if its something I love doing. So I guess a normal life would be me getting a good education and playing a lot of basketball. And just enjoying life & taking care of my family, and eventually starting my own family some day. I also see myself working with you & continuing to help on the projects that you have lined up. Theres plenty of ways to reach the kids. Inside & outside the prison. But having someone that can relate to them on so many levels is very helpful.

I hope this letter isn’t too long. Are my letters too long?

During my sentencing hearing, the prosecutor did mention the Anti-Social thing. I have the transcript, and I believe he said, “He was diagnosed at 12. He wasn’t even an adult yet.” Or something like that. And yeah, I agree now that you explained it to me what anti-social really means. But I will say when I was younger, I did meet that criteria that you laid out. Almost all of them besides the irresponsible ones. I’ve always been organized and responsible. But when I went to that residential home, all of that went away, and even though I went back to the streets once I left the resid. home, I didn’t meet those points that you laid out for me. Maybe one of them, but definitely not 3 of them. So yeah, I agree that I am not anti-social.

I’m glad you broke that down for me. Your really smart. I was impressed that you’ve accomplished everything you have at such a young age. And you broke that down just right. I understand it perfectly. And I don’t mind you explaining things as long as you want. Its interesting, and I can really learn a lot from you. I learn something new everytime I get mail from you. I like that.

I think its cool what you do though. To be able to give people a sense of understanding & relief is something special. Makes me wanna study psychology. That’s cool man. And yeah, I figured that the chair that people usually lay down on was old school. I had to ask though. Ha!

The counselor that I had at the resid. home, she’s still in contact with me. We write about random stuff. She’s cool & a really good person with a big heart. 2 of my teachers also write me. But I haven’t heard from them in a few months. But I understand people are busy out there. Its always good to hear from them though. I also have female friends that keep in touch. I usually talk to them on the phone though. But one min they’re here, the next min they’re not. Especially once the weather gets nice. Lol. But once they’re boyfriends treats them bad, they always come back. So its all good.

I don’t think you could have said it any better, “That I got to be a kid at the resid. home and have safety and support, but I still had that idealized or glorified image of the streets, and that outweighed all the good stuff about the resid. home.” That’s perfectly put. And that’s also the same problem that I had once I left. But my idea or glorified image of the street life at the age of 9-13 was completely different from my glorified image at 14-15. At 9-13 yrs old, it was all about fitting in & just smoking & hanging out. But once I hit 14, it became more about being independent & thinking that I could save everyone from all of their problems and just trying to be that rock for so many people. And also getting rich & powerful.

I WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN AS MANY PEOPLE THAT I COULD. I FELT LIKE I COULD DO THAT IF I HAD MONEY. I ALSO WANTED TO BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY & PUT US IN A POSITION WHERE WE NEVER WANTED FOR ANYTHING. I FELT LIKE I COULD BECOME A MILLIONAIRE OFF SELLING DRUGS. TO BE HONEST, AND I KNOW IT MAY SOUND CRAZY, BUT AS CONFIDENT AS I AM ON MY APPEAL, I WAS THAT CONFIDENT THAT I WOULD BECOME RICH.

The selling drugs part of my life kept me out of the extra B.S. that goes on in the streets. I only focused on family & money & just going out with my girlfriend. But the extra stuff in the streets like: shootings & parties & fights and all of that is what got me into so much dumb stuff. But I don’t care to do any of that now. I cant even think about it anymore.

I DID FEEL LIKE I HAD TO LOSE A PART OF ME NO MATTER WHERE I WENT. EVEN NOW, I FEEL LIKE I HAVE 2 IDENTITIES IN HERE BECAUSE I HAVE TO BE A CERTAIN WAY TO SURVIVE & KEEP MY GUARD UP TO A CERTAIN EXTENT CAUSE OF THE ENVIRONMENT IN HERE. ITS NOT HARD AT ALL, BUT I JUST WANT TO BE IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE I CAN BE AT PEACE & NOT HAVE TO HAVE MY GUARD UP ALL THE TIME.

I want the total opposite of what alot of these guys want. But theres also alot of good guys in here too, and I associate with them. The most humble guy I’ve met has been locked up for 30 yrs. That’s a long time right? It scares me to think that it could be me saying that some day. People out in society really don’t have a clue of what being in this place for that long does to you. It messes you up physically & mentally. My bad, my pen keeps going out. I’m thinking about just throwing it in the trash. I just bought it.

Yeah, I really didn’t have a hard time leaving the drugs alone. I think going to the resid. home helped a lot with that. I was using weed a lot & drinking hard liquor prior to going there. I got to see how good it felt to be healthy & sober. And plus I was in sports a lot. But I ended up using again once I left, and also tried ecstasy & all that. I know its hard for others though. I wish I could help. I see it on T.V. all the time.

Music & media & also movies influenced me a lot. Probably played a part in why I couldn’t leave the streets alone. Now I don’t listen to much rap. I have music channels on my T.V., but I only listen to pop, rock & R&B. I like Drake on the rap side though. Only when he isn’t trying to be a thug. Its annoying. Never really cared for too many rappers when I was out though. Only “Lil Boosie” & “Yo Gotti.” But even though they’re still my favorites, I can’t listen to them cause its gonna encourage me to go back to the old lifestyle I think. I haven’t really tried. I heard a few songs but really wasn’t feeling it the way I used to. But over a period of time it might start to change my way of thinking. And I’ve never ever listened to pop or rock or country when I was out. Now 90% of the time, its all I listen to, besides R&B. All kinds of artists. What kind of music do you listen to?

I think you took what I said in the wrong context. When I said that I wasn’t afraid to die. Most people are afraid to die because they want to live forever. Usually people think this way when they’re young. And some people, or most people also wants to grow old & all that. No one wants to die, especially at a young age, or maybe some people do, but most don’t. I was just saying that I don’t stress over dying because its gonna happen to everyone. Some people are afraid to die because they fear what’s after death. Life on earth is really short when you think about it. The years go by, and before you know it, you’re an old man or woman. But I believe in God & I think theres gotta be something after death. And that’s not something I started believing once I got locked up, because I’m not super religious. I believe in God, but I haven’t even read the bible yet. But I don’t do things & take risks based on my theory that I’m gonna die anyways Lol.

I KNOW WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE SOME DAY, AND THAT’S WHY I’M NOT AFRAID, AND CAUSE I BELIEVE IN GOD. BUT I’M NOT TRYING TO GO ANY EARLIER THAN I HAVE TO. I WANT TO BE AN OLD MAN. IN THE STREETS I WASN’T AFRAID EITHER BECAUSE ALL OF THE DANGERS THAT CAME WITH THAT LIFE STYLE, BUT I WASN’T GONNA JUST LET SOMEONE TAKE MY LIFE & TAKE ME AWAY FROM MY FAMILY. THAT’S WHY I ALWAYS CARRIED A GUN & WAS ALWAYS REALLY CAUTIOUS. IT ALMOST DROVE ME CRAZY.

I think your right when you say that my life story is my history & my legacy. But I feel like I have more bad in my past than good. Or maybe I wasn’t out long enough to do enough good. I don’t want my legacy to end here in prison. I want to get out & make a difference in a lot of peoples lives & make people happy. Especially my family. But all I can do now is to continue to grow as a person & do everything I can to win on my appeal.

Did you ask me if I smile now? Because I smile all the time. Sometimes I have people ask why I smile so much. But looking at the photos online, people have a preconceived idea of the type of person I am, but when they meet me in person, they’re surprised because Im not the person they thought I was. And no, the people I was hanging with don’t know the real me. They only knew the person that I was when I was in the streets. If you told them that I love basketball & wanted to play in the NBA, they wouldn’t believe you. Or if you told them anything else that we talked about, they wouldn’t believe. If you told my family those things, they wouldn’t believe you. Most people don’t even know my full first name. Only family & friends that I went to school with know my name. And so many people know me that I don’t know, because if you google my name, everything about me comes up.

But I do want a new start. And if I’m successful on my appeal in the near future, I’m gonna make something of it. And I will definitely want to be a part of ‘the one’ in every way that I can.  Having someone like me, or another person that’s been through similar things could also help when reaching out to the kids. Most of them are probably scared, because its something different to them. This is probably the 1st time anyone has asked them something like this. To be honest, I was scared at first, but I really thought about it & decided to go through with it. I’m glad that I did.

But I hope everything is all good for you. And I hope your looking forward to this upcoming season as much as I am. I look forward to hearing from you again. Take care.

Dre.

P.S. If you have more questions, I’ll continue to answer them. I don’t want to rush anything like you said in your last letter. And I think its kinda crazy & cool how you understand my life so easily in ways that I probably would have never been able to put into words or even fully understand myself. Especially about me losing a part of who I am no matter where I went, and how I kinda had 2 identities. Did they teach you that in school, or is that just something that comes natural for you? And my bad this letter is so long, I’ll try and keep the next one shorter.