[Laughs] There is nothing there! That is crazy! Damn.
That’s me right now, and that’s me without then, eh? I have not seen myself like that in years, with nothing.
Wow, that’s a trip, eh? How ta oos change you, how it makes a difference. I am changing, but I think I would be more accepted if I looked like this, without nothing on my face or my arms.
More acceptance from employers and certain people, I wouldn’t get judged as bad. They would see me as the fat guy, the guy without the tattoos. I would rather be called that than the “cholo” you know.
It’s crazy how a computer can do this, wow. It’s nice.
The tattoos I am not going to be sad to see go: the 38 on my eye, the one on my lip, my eyebrow, and a few on my head— all the gang-related ones. I have no problem with the art that I have, it is just my story I am telling, but the gang-related ones, it time to grow out of this shit you know? Too much time I gave this and it time to be me now.
This picture here looks like I have finally let go of a lot of stuff that I had on me. I want people to see me, not to see not my tattoos first, my tattoos don’t say anything about me no more. It’s just a past life. It’s not me no more.
I got my first tattoo out of anger towards my mom. She had given up on me, so I wanted her to feel that I am doing this shit because I don’t have anyone. You gave up on me and that’s not what you told me, you told me that you were always going to be there. I went and got the tattoos, and when I came home my mom was like, “I already knew you were going to do it, so I really don’t care.” Damn, I was seeking attention from her, although it was the wrong attention on, but it did not even work.
When I was little my dad was a crackhead. He did not have money for the dope so my mother would pay for it with her body; my dad would prostitute my mom to get his drugs. My dad was not the coolest guy to be around. He used to kick us out in the middle of the night; we would sleep outside. I was six at the time, my little brother was four, and my eldest brother was seven.
Although my other brother is older, I was always the one to take everything for them, you know. They are good people
you know. I was always looked at like the bad sheep of the family, always got the, “You’re nothing, you’re a piece of crap.”
So I took that and I ran with it. At the age of six, one night my dad and my mom kicked us out of the house because the dope man was in there. A gentleman that used to be my neighbor, his name was Carlos, he is the one that basically accepted me into his family.
He came out and said he was tired of this shit. He was sixteen and he took it upon himself to become my mentor and my dad for that time. I took a loving to this guy. He was there for me regardless. It could be the middle of the night and he would let me sleep in his house...I felt like I was his son. He taught me a lot of good stuff; he taught me how to keep in school stay away from drugs, stay away from gangs.
One day in summer he was walking me back from school, at that time I lived in East LA. A gentleman walks up to us and asks him, “Where are you from?” He does not pay any attention to him, five minutes later he asks him again, “Where are you from?” Now he was angry. All that all I remember was hearing multiple pops. I heard pops pop pop pop pop pop pop, seven shots. As soon as I turned around I felt something splash in my face, it was his brain matter. He got shot in his face. His blood, his brains covered my body. He fell to the ground and he was screaming, he was crying. I grabbed him, he kept on telling me not to let him die, I held him in my arms until he died, but everyone else said that he was already dead when I picked him up that it was me that was screaming, that it was me saying not to let him die. After that everything went downhill. For the rest of the interview to be found in the book.