By Akeem King
Hi, my name is Akeem King and I would like to tell you that there is a very thin line between perception and reality. Sometimes what we see or think we see is often what we believe. Sometimes what we believe or think we believe ultimately becomes what we see.
There was a time when my life was this big fun house mirror. The one you would find at a circus or a fair, where the image you see is all twisted and distorted. Like many young boys today, I had no conscious understanding of who I was or what I wanted in life. I had no drive and no clear goals or definite expectations for my future.
My life was in influenced by the sub-culture of the streets and the lack of real male guidance within my community. Since I never personally knew anyone who went to college, the idea of having an education and its importance to not just a young black male but to anyone seeking social importance and financial security had never crossed my mind.
I strongly believe that the absence of real male guidance and lack of education really caricatured my perception and consequently my reality so much that my ignorance and immaturity lead me to play a role in an act that resulted in a young child losing his life and it was at that point in my life when the fun house mirror completely shattered into a million pieces and for years now, there are lines throughout my mirror from where it was once broken and whenever I look into that mirror I recognize that. “There is a very thin line between perception and reality.”
Cracks within one’s mirror often make it difficult to not just see but truly understand that in order to Let the Healing Begin we have to challenge ourselves because how much of our perceptions come from presumptions. If a mother was to stand in front of her mirror and put on a dress for her son’s funeral, what would she see? If another mother was to stand in front of her mirror and put on a similar dress for her son’s arraignment, what would she see? These are just some of the questions that I often reflect on whenever I try to think about the pain and suffering I have caused to my victim’s family and the pain and suffering I have caused to my own family (especially my mother) or whenever I look around the prison yard and the chow hall at the black and brown faces of young men who look like me and whose lives tell a story equal to mine.
If only I could stand them in front of their mirror, ask them what they see and then explain that there is a very thin line between perception and reality.