Eye Opening at West High

Douglas Darby

Today I visited my second school to speak to today’s youth. I was at west high, I knew going into it that It would be a different experience than my time at Bay Port. My gut was right…it was definitely different. Not different in a bad way by any means but these kids have attitude, an attitude like they cant be hurt. Going back and putting myself in their shoes I remember having that same attitude….in life u sometimes need that attitude to survive! Not just in prison but in life in general, I carried that attitude to battle daily struggles. I saw that today, in these kids eyes…I heard it in their questions….felt it in their laughs, when I told them I was a junkie that put a needle in my arm. I used it as motivation because their ridicule and questions makes it all that much more real….i feed off of their doubt and understand their questioning eyes…..is this guy here to just tell us what to do? Or maybe, just maybe he really does care and may even want to make his story intertwine with my story.

No matter how hard I attempt to keep speaking on a business level, the truth is I cant! I feel these kids pain. And see their looks of hopelessness. Ill never turn down a speaking invite but I see how much some of these kids need help….hell maybe not even help, just someone to listen. I feel like so many of them just want to scream…just to be heard, just so they know themselves that they are alive. These kids will never understand what they give me… and how much they help an addict like myself! These kids relate to these issues…..shit they live it daily!

So for as much help as I feel im doing I cant help but feel as if more needs to be done…me speaking for a hour only does so much…giving my number out to these kids only goes so far and that’s if they ever pick up the phone to reach out….today I stayed after to speak at a different class and we talked about that helpless feeling….when your in a hole and cant even see a light, little lone a way out! What do u do? What can u do? I still feel that way everyday..i feel it now for different reasons, I feel it because…..well I feel… for one and two because some of these kids don’t have the support that I had and have! They are battling through life on their own. Makes me feel such remorse for putting my loved ones through this! How selfish I was to spit in their face when all they were trying to do is help….how so many of these kids just wish they had someone that cares, that wants to know how THEY are doing.
So who do we blame? Parents? Schools? Society? T.v.? music? Drugs?……..how about we stop blaming and start owning up to our own things….if ur not apart of the solution, u r apart of the problem! Its so damn cliché but it’s the truth…if ur stagnant then ur moving backwards. These kids need support! Sure they aren’t getting it at home…but I know people out there that have a story to tell to..they have time to share, not to tell these kids the dangers of the world! Not what TO do but at least what not to do!

I remember being locked up one night and thinking to myself….what good can come out of this? Yes I was having a pitty party for myself… thinking that id never be able to rebound and have a normal life. In a way I was right Im never going to have a normal life! Really today I don’t want a “normal life” I don’t ever want to walk into a school and feel as if I cant reach these kids…..everything happens for a reason? Ur damn right it does! My mistakes and hardships were most certainly for a reason…I had to be brought to my knees with this…praying for god to take me away….praying for the pain to stop. But god showed me that this shit was on me….that I would be the only one to pull myself from the darkness…he sent me many people along the way to help! He sent me all of u guys! The people that have stuck with me even when u shouldn’t have, even when I cursed u or asked u to leave me be…its all of u guys that saved me! Now its my turn to pay it forward! I just want these kids to know that bad things happen and that’s ok u just get up and move forward! Lifes hard I get that! But what r u gona do?…..Give up? Not an option! As long as ur loved ones aren’t putting u in the ground….well then u can dust urself off, put on a smile and say ehhh that wasn’t so bad J.

Big thank you to Sheena Shubat for inviting me into her class today and having me speak! It was a true pleasure and an amazing thing to be apart of! Thank u again!

As always stay positive and always remember!


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