On Growth

Interview Transcript:

Hi, I’m Brandon, a.k.a. Mack. I am a two-year-in college student, I’m 34, and I am a Leo.

I was an only child. I was premature, so I was a little baby – you could hold me in your hand. Um, I didn’t have anything growing up. My mom used to work at Baylor downtown, and that was back in the day – so I’m 34 and we’re going back in ’86, I guess the drug era or whatever. It was hard then, so I guess she had a hard time being a CNA, her trying to do things right and still tend to me. With me being a Leo, I guess I want everything, and I was an obnoxious brat or whatever…so I guess I made it hard for her and I made it hard for myself. But all in all, I’m in school and I’ve learned a lot of things and I’m well off now – I’m okay, you know what I’m saying?

I think I should have been raised more on facts instead of ‘Santa Claus’ stuff. I think you know what I’m saying – like when I was growing up it was just me and my mom, and it was just we were very poor and lived in a trailer home and stuff like that. And I remember waiting on Santa Claus and stuff like that – and as I got older, I was like: ‘man, it was her that was really doing everything.’ It’s stuff like that, you know: I– I really need the truth and facts in my life. Because growing up– growing up on fake stuff: it’s not healthy, because…when you’re being raised with the ‘Santa Claus’ stuff, you put a lot of expectations onto things, and then when you start putting a lot of expectations, feelings get involved – and then when you start finding out it was all a lie, [it feels like] “Whoa, why didn’t you just tell me the truth from the get-go?” Because, well…the truth hurts, but you learn from the truth.

Because, well…the truth hurts, but you learn from the truth.

I’ve been to federal penitentiary, TDC. I’m saying I’ve been to state fed: only person on earth that probably went to TDC did less than a year. These guys did 20, 30 years and then went to federal penitentiary – and then those guys were 20-30 years in – so you got state then fed. State you can parole out, federal you’re doing day for day.

I did less than a year in federal in TDC: I’m a Leo, I have a message. I’ve been through a lot, and yeah, I can open your mind to a lot of things – but like I said man, it’s been a rough, long walk.

I’ve been raised by my mom so, raised by a female so…I got those female characteristics, you know? I’m soft, but I can’t be soft: got to be tall and hard going to penitentiary. I put up a face, so I had to fight a lot, you know what I’m saying? So yeah – I went in there and I went and stuck my chest out got into a lot of fights. You know what I’m saying: I learned how to fight; I’m a Leo. 

I only did a year, so those guys were jealous because they was in there for a long time. I went in there for only a year. I went for white collar crimes – I’m not stupid, I don’t have no dope cases or drug cases, you know what I’m saying? They get you a lot of the time.

And then I had a mind, so I know how to talk and use my words and educate. Those guys in there didn’t have the education, so it was a mind thing, too. So I came in there, and, you know, I’m not black, so there’s a lot of Black people in there. So it was like a family thing almost – so we gotta– they wanna teach me something, too. Everything’s a learning process, but I made it out.

I’m still alive.

….I didn’t have a father in my life, you know what I’m saying? So I had to learn how to be a man – but how can you be a man if you weren’t taught to be a man?

I didn’t have a father in my life…so I had to learn how to be a man. But how can you be a man if you weren’t taught to be a man?

[So,] How’d I get to where I’m at now?

Well, I feel like God is showing me something where…I can’t learn it on my own, but I do need schooling, because it teaches you how things work outside of the structure – and then you can see yourself within the structure itself.

I guess I’d sort of say [that I’m] showing people that you can overcome obstacles…because I used to be – oh man, I can’t say all that stuff. [What I mean is that] I came from a bad place, so, you know, because…well, I’m not Black, but I was taught I was Black. So I come through the low-income, poverty thing; I’ve seen a lot of things – I come from that era, right? So, well, I dabbled in those things, but I got away from those things so now I’m a different person. I’m going to school, right, so when I go to South Dallas here – you know what I’m saying, through the hoods and stuff – they know me and stuff like that. They see that I’ve changed, right? And I’m like, “Hey guys, y’all can change too!” you know what I’m saying? “Let’s do this together – and I know the method,” you know what I’m saying.

So you start, like, accomplishing things and goals. It’s like…I come from something and I’m trying to I’m trying to change something. I’m going to.

Well, I’m still growing, I’m still learning. I have a big heart – I try to put my best foot forward, because I believe in karma, and everything go back around. So I try to help people and stuff like that…but since I was brought up in a ‘Santa Claus’ type of way, I had to learn the hard way. But I have a big heart, so I still try to give, and – well, I can’t be perfect, you know what I’m saying.

But everything wrapped up? Well, I think everything’s gonna be okay. I think I’m here for a reason. I think I have a message to give to people, and I want to change for the better. I want to change myself, too: I want to make myself better so I can help the world. I’ve been to the lowest to the lowest of the bottom of the bottom, you know what I’m saying? But…

I’m 34. And two years into college. And I know I’m from Dallas.

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