"As a young man I started searching for my own identity by looking into family, friends and inside
Myself. My mother always taught us to live free even when confined, meaning “never let anyone break you down physically or mentally.” Since my living environment was so heavily impacted with violence and illegal activity I found myself adapting to social norms that later in my adult life would negatively affect me. For example, certain physical reactions that were acceptable, as a child would give you a reputation on the street as tough guy, don’t mess with him. The same mentality later in life, as a man would label you as a predator of some sort and a woman abuser. It was hard to understand the true value of a man and all his worth and everything he is capable of achieving, when you’re surrounded by pimps, hustlers and con men that all may make more money than the men with trade jobs and have more of an appealing lifestyle for the short- term progress."