To the Editor,

I received a letter from a former classmate of mine (Class of 1994 WHS), and she claimed that she was stunned to have discovered that I was incarcerated and that I had been for six years now. She asked me what drastic turn in my life caused me ruin to end up in such a ... “concrete hell.”  I now can openly (mentally and spiritually) accept such constructive criticism because of the ultimate understanding my GOD has instilled in me now.

Yes, I do look back on the high school days and even some of my college days and recount some special events. I love and miss each and every member of the class of ‘94; they were my family coming up in the ‘80s and 90s. I can merely sum up much of what I truly understand about life now in just three words: “It goes on” — There are many avenues in life that will be considered to take. There was no subject in school that taught change. I was born to live and not prepared to live. I mean, if we don’t set a baseline standard for what we’ll accept in our life, we will find it is easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes; or a quality of life that’s far below what we deserve. I did that.

How we live is too far removed from how we ought to live, that whoever abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather learn to bring about his/her own ruin than his/her preservation. I am not afraid to look at my past faults in life. A mistake, error, poor choice, or wrong decision does not mean or equal “there is something wrong with me.” It means we are on our way to being better. When we acknowledge our errors and face up to our shortcomings, no one can use them against us. Our worst problems in life comes not so much from the situations we confront as from our doubts about how (our ability) to handle them.

From here on out, I will act if it is impossible to fail due to the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that I couldn’t solve the problems in my life because I didn’t know what it was. I must continue to structure my world so that I am constantly reminded of who I am. Everything that has happened had to happen. Everything that must happen cannot be denied or stopped. The truth is that we start from a position of success. No matter what happens, no matter what the appearance, we are always successful. It’s just that we have lessons to learn through our experiences. What appears as failure is simply a stepping stone to realizing success. A new life will come forth from the womb of darkness. It takes a deep commitment to change and even a deeper commitment to grow. Ralph Ellison, my education is never finished! Now I’m eager to enter society in 2012 with a determined will and burning desire to guide the younger upcoming generation. That’s my FACE OF NOW! Our shadow embraces all that we do, not wish to be.

“Rather than face how I truly felt about me, I stuffed myself with stuff, puffed myself up with a false sense of power and importance.” — Patti Austin

Simeon Zameka Flowers,