The Story Behind The Book

 I was born an oops baby in the island of Puerto Rico. Mother was the most rebellious and chaotic of 15 living kids at the time. I moved to the US around age 3 or 4. She arrived to this country seeking help from family but ended up homeless hopping from different places to stay - to random shelters. During these moves I witnessed her be attacked, beg for help, get into fights, protect me from abuse, and shed numerous tears over where she ended up in life.


 Eventually she was relocated to one of the worse projects in the Nation to live at in the 80's - Charter Oak Terrace. While living there, we created friendships that grew to become family to us. She dated a Dominican man who later became my stepfather. As they dated we slowly moved out and on up to a lower middle class / middle class lifestyle.

 

 My class clown hyperactively curious behavior caused me a lot of problems as a student and frustration with my teachers as they knew the bright potential I had if given the right direction. I literally was held back in kindergarten for talking too much and not listening in class. As I got older, I enjoyed the benefits of a financially stable environment but dealt with the years constant parental abuses. My mother had no proper education or training on how to deal with a rambunctious kid. So smacks, whooping's, and verbal abuse was how she reacted to my behavior. 


 After 8yrs of marriage, a younger sister, financial woes, personality differences, infidelity, and finally getting his citizenship, caused the imminent divorce of the two parents household dynamic.


 What years of trying to keep it composed did to my mother after the divorce not only redefined the direction of my life but changed both her and I forever.


 We relocated to neighboring state. We went from a single family home to a multi-unit apartment complex in one of the poorest towns in the state. She lost a lot herself and I lost all my innocence. I started smoking weed, skipping school, joined gangs, became full of rage and violence. I hated my life and everything around it.


 As I got older my behavior got worse. It grew to cold heartless proportions after a year in Puerto Rico didn't yield much results in discipline from my newly found actual father. Instead it created more trauma and desensitized heartlessness.


 Things my mother participated in with me are things no parent should do with their child. Being influenced by Rap and the image I wanted to project. I was deep in the streets and homeless at times. Teachers tried to push me for better and authority figures tried to wake me up to the path I was headed. But I didn't care. Jail, juvenile detention centers, and courtrooms was my regular stay. I knew what I was doing was wrong but didn't care.


 My mother once again went back to a shelter for help. After being on my own at 16, I was asked to move with her and my sister to an in-state homeless shelter.


 Life once again changed after that. I was thrown into a lifestyle and surrounding that I hated once again. I moved to the suburbs where I was the minority and the thug. The list of fights, more jail stints, drug abuses, parties, women, jobs, police chases, arrests, shoot outs, home invasions, and so on created a life of death or jail.


 Being tired of it all, I settled down with a local girl. I was hired at a job that gave me limitless opportunity for growth and financial stability. I finally had life together. Moved out, had my own place, car, bills, and material things. I finally had control of my future. But this unknowingly changed me for the better and for the worse as time passed. I now had to deal with heartbreak without knowing how to control my anger and emotions along with a stressful job where my legal troubles would leave an undesirable and unreliable image of me to my bosses and peers.


 After years of prosperity, I lost everything I had accumulated and worked for over a broken heart on a drunken valentine's night. I was once again in jail with no friends, no car, apartment, girlfriend, job, belongings, or help. I lost it all as an adult and didn't know what to do from there.


 Ironically, it was at my lowest when I saw the direction of my life and the purpose for my existence. I accepted things I never thought possible and learned lessons I previously refused to acknowledge.


 My story goes on and on but my book will explain everything in clarifying detail. You will read what I thought, feel what I felt, understand what caused me to do certain things, but more importantly, be inspired of how I made it through it all. I confidently say this through the worn experience of living - What the outside usually projects of an individual isn't necessarily a reflection of what the inside feels and thinks. 


 Thank you all for your time and check out my website periodically for updates. For any questions or for more information regarding my work please go to my contact page and fill in your information along with your questions or comments. 


"If not you, Who? If not now, When?" 

Book Quotes

Chapter Untitled

 The patterns of environmental pressures which lead to repetitive behavioral risks of self-destruction. A section from my upcoming book:


"Most of us justify our well known negative actions by rationalizing them with excuses. You tell yourself you deserve this. You tell yourself it’s for a "just" cause. You remind yourself that you had no other options. You repeat that over and over again until you’ve convinced yourself that what you did was just. You’ve just reanalyzed yourself as a person - you’ve altered your known definition of good vs bad - you’ve now self-constructed an entirely positive lie around a fear you once had and knew to be bad. So the next time it’s not just a box of crayons. It’s something bigger."


"Remember, the reward you get from that act is justified by the reaction you get from your children when they see what mommy/daddy got them or from finally knowing you have something you’ve always wanted own. In short, once you do the act and get over it unharmed or unaffected, you no longer have the caution taped barricade – preventing you from trying it again, and again, and again."  

Chapter Teasers

When It All Falls Down...

...My Philosophical Chapter Preface


 The Egyptian Empire ended in 1070 BC. The Persian Empire ended in 330 BCE. The Roman Empire fell in 476 CE and dissolved in 1453. After this the western world experienced what we now know as the ‘Dark Ages’. The western world was going through a major change in power and territorial geography. The instability of these global changes spurred dramatic shifts in society. Although the fall of these civilizations caused us to lose major advancements in medicine, innovation, and technology, the world continued to move forward, expand, and reach regions that were unknown to the modern world but already well inhabited by its natives. Nationals united – introducing a new era in exploration, industrialism, and the expeditious global advancement with the introduction of free-market capitalism.

Our world is constantly changing. Our lives are constantly affected by these changes. Our families need to adjust or succumb to the changes around us for survival and to compete. Despite the constant changes in our lives, we must understand one important fact – there are changes that you will never be able to prevent or control. But despite these changes, as I just described, newly improved and successfully unimaginable benefits can come from it. As you look back in your life, can you feel or remember the traumatic or major event(s) that took place which altered the direction of your life? When you get to that memory, what age were you? How much did you know what was going on at the time? Did you make the decision to change your life or was it decided for you? What were the reasons behind such a major shift in life? How long did the change last? Where did you end up after it happened? How did you do with the change? Did it change who you were? Did it improve or damage the path you were on? And if you had to the power to go back, would you go through it again, stay the course you were on, or go a different route? Not sure if you noticed it, but I didn’t ask you why. Why? Because if you answered all or any of these questions, you’ve already asked Why -a million times.

Part of experiencing what it is to live is going through things you never expected and openly expecting things you never experienced. As we get older, we realize that the world’s too complex to understand. Relationships are too complicated to keep trying to ‘figure it out’. Friends are too many to expect much from but only a few. And for many, family will only be there when you really need them – if it’s not too late. My whole life I’ve been in tune with what was around me. I soaked it up like a sponge. If it was different, I wanted to know more about it. If I didn’t know you, I wanted to. This allowed me to experience a lot of different things at a young age. Most of the world around us is happening in the now and not waiting to see what we feel or think about it. When you are so comfortable with how things have always been, you don’t bother to think of what would happen when it suddenly changes. So, let us go there…

In order to land in a better position than the one you were in, you need to have or gain the unshakable confidence that you willprevail, a plan to make sure there’s always something you can rely on when things get crazy, and the financial means tocontinuously sustain yourself during this change. Now, if you’re a purist earth-loving-hippie who lives very meagerly and can sustain yourself without money – much power to you. I commend people who have figured out a better way at exploiting a fruitful life without being chained down by the financial infrastructure created for us and by us to survive. But for the rest of us who live within the parameters of our social constructs – we have to accept the realities in which we’re surrounded by. There is a defining though. A moment that changes us forever. A moment that despite our planning and expectations, changes us in ways we never expected. There are so many forces around us which are constantly causing ripples of unwanted change in our lives which we must learn to accept for what they are. However, (if you think about it), you sometimes didn’t ask for the changes that changed you. You didn’t cause it; so why should it have affected you so much?

At times, there are paths in our lives that we never expected to follow but had to against our will or sheer need of survival. There’s no one you can talk to. There’s no one you feel should know. You look around and wonder – how long will it last? Everyone around seems to be going through life just fine, but you can’t seem to get yourself to adjust. You try. You continue. You keep on trucking. But it seems like this change is not right, it’s too much to bare. You pray to god for it to change. You pray that it improves. You pray to get back what you once knew as ‘normal’. You ask god for help. You feel alone. But ultimately, you remember, this wasn’t your fault. This was forced on you. This was something beyond your control. This was the hand life dealt you. Nonetheless, you march forward. Why? Because you know that’s the only thing you can control – the insistence to exist... 


A Place We Can Call Home...

...My Personal Memoirs Post Preface


 The life in an inner urban city is dingy but awesome (in the full definition of the word). It’s chaotic but entertaining. It’s full of people you know not to depend on and full of others you eventually grow not to trust. Laying against a concrete building wall you have your known booze or ooze homeless addict pandering or halfheartedly selling recent shoplift or steal. Walking by him is a flashy mid thirties colorfully but well dressed black man - with a big smile and a forward open palm - offering to help people who don’t need it. Pushing out of a revolving modern commercial building glass door are a couple suited men, on their huge box phones trying to get in their limo or flag a cab down who don’t appear to be aware of the world around them. The men carry themselves as if they would walk over the homeless man to not get their shoes dirty or wet in a puddle of water. In between these extremes, you have everyday people running here and there mindlessly as well, simply following the routine they execute daily. You already know the people who are running late or looking for an address they can’t find. They’re walking faster than normal or at a dead stop looking around the vicinity as an owl who heard a scattering noise in the grass behind it.


After a while, you start to identify your social services recipients who have nothing but time to kill taking frustrations of life out on unsuspecting people. Coming out of bus route 62 your hard but over-worked mother rushes to her second job in the commercial building after leaving her prior one late. Behind the bus - in a utility van - is a middle aged man who’s been working for the city going on god knows how many years now. He’s not moving very fast. Kind of dragging his feet a bit with a neutral look on his face. He’s doing his best to avoid the chaos of people at the bus stop and complete his checklist of duties before calling his day quits in 30mns.


On the corner of the commercial building directly behind the bus stop booth - across the street from that - and inconspicuously (so they think) up and down that street and bus stop area are about a dozen or so scattered high school kids. Most are either truant from school or  recent drop outs. They spend their afternoon enjoying their weed high, talking crap to each other, and daring one another to do something stupider than the last dumb idea they had which nearly landed them in jail. Up the street, exiting a different bus stop, is a group of three teenage boys and a girl who are each wearing a white T-Shirt with dark blue jeans - which gives away their Solido’s gang affiliation. Their walking down towards the bus stop where the truant group of kids are hanging out - all with yellow and black bandanas hanging from their back pants pocket - making it known that they represent the Latin King street gang. These two gangs are mortal enemies in every sense of the phrase. The group of Latin Kings turn to each other and begin to mutter something in each other’s ear as the group of Solido’s notice the bandana hanging from the outside of one of the guys back pant pocket. They quickly say something to each other as they keep walking. These two groups quickly make eye contact as their demeanor and facial features stiffen. As if on cue, one of the Latin Kings lets out a high bird like whistle which grabs every youth’s attention. Like a distant echo - you hear the same sound in the distance. The first one to whistle raises his hand in the air in a ‘come here’ motion, then raises the other hand and pounds both fists together one on top of the other. The guy on the receiving end hastily yells at others not too far from him and they begin to run towards his comrades at the bus stop. The group of four Solido’s/Solida’s at this point stop in their tracks. They should’ve known better than to take the bus at the time they did. Just a mile or so down the street is Park Street – the main street ran and dominated by the Latin Kings. This isn’t a big shocker to anyone who lives in or has any familiarity with minorities or gangs in the city. The four quickly turn the other way and begin to run. They had about a good 100ft of distance between them - about four bus lengths. Downtown just turned into a gangsta marathon. Teens from one gang holding on to their pants with one hand, as they yell profanities and gang representations from the top of their lungs - to the four who are pretty much doing the same but with their backs turned. The crowd begins to look at the ruckus ensuing. While on-lookers observe the chase from the distance you hear the sound of a motorcycle approaching downtown and as quick you heard the bike you heard the police sirens coming from it. From the opposite end of him was a police cruiser who turned its lights on as it turned the corner from where the four Solido’s were running towards. The cruiser parked and two officers came out yelling at them to stop and get on the ground - as they each have their hands gripped onto their gun which is in the holster on their waist. The two officers look down the road to check up on the other officer who’s already been assisted by four other officers which showed up in two police cruisers. The other truant high schoolers which were there in the beginning of the gang feud were long gone by now and the observing crowd slowly carried on about their day. 


Traffic has now backed up a bit with taxi drivers and annoyed motorists honking their horns to get through the pile-up caused by the officers who showed up to address the potential gang beat-down/beef, which would’ve most likely ensued if the four would’ve been caught by the mob of Kings.


​My stepfathers now been gone for twenty minutes and he only has ten more before the meter expires. I’m in the backseat of the Honda observing the commotion of the city life as this is all happening. My sister is next to me in the car seat. He comes out the commercial building like Kramer from Seinfeld and looks directly at me with a concerned look on his face. He spots me and begins to look around at the chaos of cops and gang members around him. He hastily walks towards the vehicle, asks if my sister and I are okay, and drives off. He then asks me in Spanish “¿Que Paso Aya?” I told him some guys were going to get into a fight. He said “¿Oh y como esta tu hermana?” I replied with “Bien” and that was all that was said the whole ride home... 

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Carlos Ricard

Eau Claire, WI

Email: carlos.ricard@outlook.com • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IamCarlosRicard/