I’ve always been a rule follower, but I could not stop stealing.
In school, I worked hard to get good grades, and all I wanted as a reward was gum—Bubblicious, to be exact. But we grew up poor and on food stamps, and the answer was always no. No, no, no. So I took it.
Sometimes grape, more often strawberry. I stole what I wanted.
After high school, I went to college. I was the first person in my family to go to college, but I still found myself in a predicament: by sophomore year, I was pregnant. I had great social support, but no financial support. So I went back to stealing.
Baby need a new pacifier? Stick it in her mouth or in the diaper bag. So be it. I stole what I needed.
In my job now, my criminal history helps me be more empathetic. Yeah, it’s still wrong—but I see the whole person. And I try to get my colleagues to see the same.
We are not the crimes we commit.