My name is Adrian Paredes, I was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life for three counts of attempted murder. I have been incarcerated for 29 years, I was 17 years old at the time I committed this horrible crime. I have very present the magnitude and gravity my crime, but it took me many years to truly understand and start making amends and to demonstrate my remorse. I came to prison carrying so much emotional pain and resentment which I turned into anger and violence. I was stuck in the same 17-year-old mind frame. I was reckless and insecure without a true identity.
Guilt and shame kept me in denial. I could not find a way to heal and move forward. But, finally God came into my life and gave me a ray of hope. At first, I thought I did not deserve any help or hope. But God is merciful and He gave me the opportunity to take refuge in Him, He became my teacher, my father, and friend. He also gave me the gift of art to express my emotions, my fears, hopes, and dreams.
Art became the reflection of my own evolution of growth and maturity, it reflected my struggles and private victories.
In the beginning a new little to nothing about art, all I had was passion and the desire to learn, and in the same manner I wanted to be better person and make amends for all my past wrongs but I knew little or nothing on how to do this…Finally, I was able to understand that it takes hard work, discipline, and commitment to learn the principles of perspective, dimension, depth, composition, and color theory to create a beautiful painting and in the same way I was able to understand and apply the same principles to all aspects of my life. To be a good man and start making amends.
Art is in my DNA, my mother is a poet. I remember her letters that she sent to me through the years, they had the power to make me smile or cry for the most part cry but it was this emotional sorrow that became my fear; my motivation to redeem myself. I was determined to regain my dignity and give meaning and purpose to my life. I was able to finally understand that it was within my power to right my wrongs by writing my own script and paint my own canvas of my life.
Looking back throughout my years in prison, I can see that I am blessed for having the opportunity to recreate myself. To become a person that stands for something with integrity, restitution, and service through my art. I have contributed to many people. I have taught other people to develop their own talents and in the process I see and believe that they can also learn to be givers, and bring beauty to their lives, and the lives of others.
My life and my journey has not been easy, but all the bad and good experiences have made me the man I am today. My past has been a significant life lesson that gave me the insight of how to apply all those learned principles and to trust and allow them to govern my life choices to keep honoring all those I have harmed and injured in the past.
Life is good, I see all the blessings God has given me. And out of deep sense of gratitude I am motivated to keep on making daily living amends by dedicating my life to contribute and make a difference in the lives of my family my community.
I hope that my story can inspire others to believe that changes within our power and it doing good and brings good.