Andres Alejandr Freyre-Writing My Wrongs

Author of Book: Shaka Senghor
Date Read: July 22, 2023

Book Report

I found a book in the re-entry section of our library called “Writing my wrongs” by Shaka Senghor. I am actually very glad to have read this book because it confirmed many of my thoughts on many things, especially regarding why some of us exhibit such anti-social behaviors and the emotions behind those decisions to act that way. The book is about Shaka, who grew up with an abusive mother and eventually committed a murder among other things, and tells about his journey to redemption. What’s so powerful about this book is that Shaka’s honesty and insight into his own thinking and behaviors give such a meaningful look at the problems a lot of us in similar situations face. I think it helps illuminate the path that we can take to help people, especially youth, to more effectively regulate themselves so they can make better decisions.
I once had the thought that we needed to be willing to be vulnerable if we wanted to heal, but it’s so difficult to do this. This is especially difficult as a man not only because of the scripting and social expectations we’ve had to deal with throughout our entire lives but also because of the environment we’re expected to heal in. We’ve spent lifetimes pretending we are not vulnerable and that we don’t care about anything and that paradigm prevents us from healing. And then imagine putting a bunch of people together with that same issue, among other mental health problems, without any good leaders and role models and that paradigm thrives. As much as society wants to believe we are only criminals, the reality is that we are human beings that have gone through traumas that affected how our brains solve problems. We need help not punishment. It is in the interest of everybody to take serious steps to help incarcerated people heal. And by healing success is the result. It’s worth it. We are worth it.
I know now that it takes courage to be vulnerable. It is the exact opposite of weakness, but nobody ever told us that. I’m grateful and surprised that I was able to come to this conclusion myself. In a normal loving world, this is a truth that many understand, but in a toxic, violent, and emotionally dysfunctional environment that truth becomes fantasy. How do we promote the paradigm of being vulnerable as one of the vehicles for healing to people who have believed the exact opposite their entire lives? I remember feeling disgusted with myself at any type of emotion or even an inkling of vulnerability that I would admit to myself or allow myself to feel, even if nobody was there to witness it. Imagine that, being ashamed of one of the most beautiful things that makes us so fundamentally human. Looking back, that was such a roadblock to any type of change or healing for me. I think a problem was that I never saw anyone model that in real life. I still rarely see it. One small thing I can do for myself is to live a more emotionally healthy and mature life, and in doing that, by showing that vulnerability when it’s appropriate, so others can see it and normalize it, we can help our fellow humans heal. It’s crazy to think that just by helping ourselves, we can help others even in small ways. Shaka, the author of the book, found the beginnings of healing when he let himself feel his emotions in front of the mirror during his rock bottom moment in the SHU. His willingness to be vulnerable with himself was a catalyst for a change of mind, a change of paradigm.
These are some of the things I learned and reflected on while reading this book. I think based on my goals for the type of future that I currently envision, this book was really valuable. This book not only helped me understand others better but helped confirm my thoughts about my own experience. Also, the way Shaka finds success through writing and helping others after his release has become a very rough model that helps me visualize the type of things I can involve myself in to meet like-minded people and synergize with them to find success while helping others. This book makes it even more clear that networking with like-minded people is vital for success. It reinforces my belief that I need to find people that can advise and support me on the path to success in using my talents to help others. I’m not really sure where to start but I will definitely try to work towards this goal whenever possible.