Behind Enemy Lines


Personal Essay

Dramatic, life altering issues have plagued my life. From my earliest memory, all I can remember are the bad things that have happened to my family and me. With my mother bouncing from state to state and not having a steady father figure in my life, it has always been one major set of circumstances after the other. We settled in California for a while. In a pretty nice house with husband number two. They say that most people are a product of there environment well, I am. My surroundings were a vast plethora of guns, drugs and violence. My oldest brother was a troubled teenager, and he had a major influence on me. I can remember one time he got into a fight with five cops. Five cops, can you believe that? He used to take me with him to his drug deals so if he got caught, the cops would not take him to jail because he had a child with him. These are some of the things that I remember in my childhood.

When we finally moved back to Texas, I think it was some where around Dallas. My mother got married again to a guy that was pretty cool, but it did not last very long. There we were bouncing again. We moved to Houston next, and my mom got married to a guy named Lamar. He was an abusive drunk who really treated us bad. She stayed with him for a while, but finally had enough I guess. She left him right before Christmas. Shortly after we left, my mother and I got into a car accident. I think I was about eight or nine years old. It was pretty bad. I broke my neck in two places and had to wear a halo. That’s a brace that is literally screwed into your head. I almost died. This was a bad time in my life.

Later that year, when all the braces were off and I was getting better, we moved to Ladysmith, Wisconsin. A sleepy little town in nowhere America where snow is everywhere and cheese is king, that’s the kind of town we needed. We built a snow armadillo in our front yard, you know like a snow-man.

I remember getting teased in school because everyone thought that we built a big rat in the front yard. I got into fights all that week because of that stupid hunk of snow. I guess we didn’t need that town after all.

Back to Texas once again, and I’m a teenager. This is when I really start to show the traits of my older brother. Girls, girls, girls, that’s what life was all about. I remember I had thirteen girlfriends at one time. I didn’t pay attention in class; I didn’t pay attention to my family; I only paid attention to the girls. I was always so nice to the parents of these girls just so they wouldn’t have a problem with me seeing their daughter. I was the only teenage boy allowed to stay the night at the girls’ slumber party. For me, this was a good time in my life, everyone else around me suffered.

Throughout high school my life started to get a little better. I realized that I was good at something. Football was my main focus. The only problem with that is my school work started to decline. I remember my coach saying,”Mixx, if you don’t get your head on straight, you won’t get to play anymore”. Everything took a turn for the worst. And when the times got bad, so did I.

Well, here I am seventeen and thinking that I’m all grown up. Running the streets all hours of the night and reeking havoc wherever I went. Getting into fights, selling drugs and causing trouble were my favorite things. “Don’t mess with Dana Mixx” is what everyone would say. If one of my friends would get into an argument with someone, I would be the first one to throw a punch. “One punch” was my street name, and whoever crossed my path paid for it. I was surrounded by violence. This was a bad time.