Check in, check in. Hey y'all Freedom Chronicles followers. It's now seven months to the day since I left San Quentin State Prison, and let me tell you at this point, it's has not all been peachy!! Yes, I hit a breaking point with life. Yes y'all life happened and I was almost sucked back into the fiery pit of destruction. What I'm saying to you all is I found myself having thoughts about the street life...

So let me bring you back up to speed. Just to let you know, this is no justification or excuse for entertaining those thoughts, but I want you understand what the struggle is like. Here we go. Six months into my newfound freedom I found myself tempted to risk it all due to my financial situation. Even though $17.50/hr is great, the cost of living here in Oakland is brutal. Trying to get my own apartment, along with me having two children, car payments, etc. I've found myself not being able to cope, which ultimately caused me a lot of stress and a much needed meltdown.

Within this meltdown, I discovered some things: the biggest thing I discovered is that I have NO desire to go back to the streets! Valuing life, family and freedom, I cried and called my support system here at Planting Justice, Anthony Forrest, and we talked and I was able to find a solution. The solution meant finding another job to where I could ease some of the burdens of money. So what that means, freedom followers, is that I may be part time at PJ for now (I got a job as a construction worker through a union that can pay me more than PJ can). 

So, 7 months into my freedom, today to be exact, I now have means to get into my own apartment next month! I'm back and centered. I've worked in the garden this morning, harvesting kale, tomatoes and jalapeño peppers. I'm smiling, y'all. I find a peace starting my morning in the soil. "Connected" is what we should call it, and wonderful. So bear with me y'all, I'm still a work in progress. 

This has been my 7 month check in. Still climbing. 

Stay tuned,

Bilal 

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