Mike: I’m from Homer, Alaska. I grew up in a drug infested family. When I say drug infested I mean that they were selling dope and my mama was on crack. She used to beat me and abuse me when I was growing up cause that crack… she couldn’t get what she wanted, so she would take it out on me. She used to lock me in the closet. She’d feed me bread and milk in the closet. Sometimes she would handcuff me to the bed and beat me, buck naked. 

The system took me away from my mother when I was eight or nine. The abuse was going on all the time. When she smoked, she’d beat me. When she couldn’t get none, she’d beat me. I had cigarette burns. I had scars all over my body from extension cords. 

So, one day I went to school. They was wondering why I wouldn’t take a shower at school, with the rest of the guys. One of the teachers saw the whip marks on my arm. She asked where it came from. I said, “I can’t tell you, cause if I do, I get in trouble.” She was like, “we’re not gonna let that happen, so just tell us what happened.” So I did. I told them everything. When they seen all the whips all over my body, they were disgusted, so they called DFCS.

DFCS took me from my home and made my sisters go live with my grandma. Sometime around the age of twelve, the whole family moved from Homer to Atlanta. My mom was doing federal time for selling drugs. I wound up back in the system when I got to Atlanta.

BW: So, you were in DFCS most of your childhood?

Mike: Yeah, the majority of my life until I was about 21. 

BW: Did they place you with different families?

Mike: I was in group homes and institutions… The group homes were worse than the institutions. They abused and beat me when I was in a group home too. This white family, no offense. 

BW: None taken. What did you get in trouble for?

Mike: I used to hate eating and they used to force me to eat bananas and mayonnaise.

BW: Banana and mayonnaise sandwich on white bread? 

Mike: Yep. Man, I used to hate that shit. To this day I can’t eat bananas. They use to beat on us for not eating. There was this older guy that lived there that would try to have sex with the girls in the house. Try to feel and touch on them. His wife knew about it but she didn’t give a damn as long as she got paid at the first of the month.  

BW: Did anyone ever try that with you?

Mike: Nah, they didn’t fuck with me cause I’d go get knives and stuff out of the kitchen. You aint gonna sexually harass me. They used to beat me though. Used to lock 2 or 3 of us in a small closet and leave us for hours and hours, not feeding us and shit. We might go a whole day without eating. 

BW: Do you ever talk to your mom anymore?

Mike: Yeah, we’re close now. In 2010 we had a powwow. We sat down and argued, we cried, we forgave each other and we moved on from that. I still love her. She’s my mother you know but I let her know in 2010 how that made me feel and I also let her know… how can I put this?.. How it effected me as a man, growing up, because I have issues when it comes to relationships with women.

BW: Forgiveness is powerful. Nothing heals like that but, do you feel like you really forgave her for all that?

Mike: Sometimes I don’t, to be honest. When I sit back and think about it, it’s really fucked up…

Look for part two of Mike’s story at 3 PM today.