Initially I wanted to tell my story because the opportunity presented itself
and I was told that I could not do it, meaning that I did not have the aptitude
to write. It reminded me of how I was always told as a child that I was
worthless and that I would never accomplish anything in life - words that still
haunt me. I became determined to write my story simply because I was told that I
couldn't. Then, I discovered that it was cathartic and cleansing for me to
write about my life. I felt free, free from what felt like secrets...free from
the responsibility of such unhealthy shame.
Having my story told gives me faith and encouragement and reminds me that
there are good and unselfish people in the world; people who would help an
absolute stranger by giving him the tools to pull himself up, giving him the
chance to benefit society. Despite the unfortunate circumstances of my life,
there is hope.
How peculiar and blue that those words, "You ain't nothing. You ain't
never gonna' be nothing, â€˜cause you come from nothing" made for a
fervent fuel that gave me strength and the courage to persevere. But there is
more to it than that. At the age of 17 when I was homeless, all I had were my
thoughts and the comfort of pretending that my situation would improve. I would
think to myself, â€˜something good is about to happen.' I learned to convince
myself of seemingly impossible things. Sometimes they would work out, sometimes
they wouldn't, but I remained optimistic long before I knew the meaning of the
word. It was that optimism coupled with my fear of failure that allowed me to
hang in there for the nine years it took to bring this film to life.
When I saw the film for the first time, I was overwhelmed by a mixture of
feelings: fear, joy, pride and satisfaction - all of which still linger, and I
am certain they will for the rest of my life. I hope others, too, walk away with
those same feelings and the courage to do something to better the lives of
children in general. I hope that after seeing the movie and reading my memoir
that people will see that every child has value and boundless potential and that
even if all one has to give is an encouraging word as a genuine gesture of
care...that gift alone can save a child's life and give hope for the future.
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