My name is Shu Shin Shah. But I was born Willard Hegward Melson Jr. I am fifty years old. I
am single. Never been married. Don’t have any children. I write poetry and tell wild
stories. I am bisexual. I am an atheist. An insulin-dependent diabetic. A liar. A cheat.
An ex-thief. An ex-wino. An ex-arsonist. An ex-rapist. And an ex-con.
And I want you to love. (Chest thump-thump.) Yourself.
When I was three, my mother told me she had me because she didn’t believe in abortion.
She bought me food, clothes and toys. And gave me some protection. But she never kissed
me. She never hugged me. She never told me to “be somebody.” And when I wanted to
be near her, she would always push me away. Love yourself.
I was sent to church at five to learn about God’s love. I accepted Jesus Christ as my
personal savior. And never missed a Sunday of worship. I was baptized. I read
the Bible. I studied. And I prayed. And prayed. And prayed.
Love yourself. When I was six—true story—a nice neighborhood
man saw that I was always alone and began calling me into the woods surrounding our
house. He would give me candy and help me play with my toys. We would always pretend
it was my birthday. And he would tickle me and spank me and make me smile. Then he would
take off all my clothes and put his finger in my butt.
Love yourself. When I was seven, I tried to kill myself by running
in front of a speeding car. At eleven, I would put juice and bread in an empty shampoo container
then place it on my windowsill for a week. It didn’t smell good. It didn’t taste good.
But I drunk it anyway. Love yourself.
I didn’t make many childhood friends. There would be whole days I never talked to anyone.
Days I spent lost in my own world. Days I played with fire. At thirteen, I would burn
everything and just watch the flames roar. I collected tall mounds of rubber, plastic,
aerosol cans and batteries from the street. I would take off my clothes next to the fire.
And feel the heat. Thinking the flames were alive. Fantasizing about having a friend.
Love yourself. I would take off my clothes. On the front
porch. In the backyard. In the woods. At school. Next door. Across the street. I didn’t stop.
I secretly hoped someone would see me. But I would always run away if they did. I was
a naked, drunk, thirteen-year-old boy with his finger in his butt.
Love yourself. At fifteen, I tried to kill myself with a
razor blade. At sixteen, I started masturbating in front of strangers. Mostly gay men in public
parks and restrooms. I would hold their attention with a slow striptease. I also began spying
on girls. Looking in windows. Sneaking inside women’s houses and apartments then taking
off my clothes. I would walk around naked sitting on their furniture. Wearing and stealing
their panties. Eating their food. Even touching them while they slept in their beds.
Love yourself. Ten years later at twenty-six—this is a
true story—I was caught naked inside a woman’s apartment with her vibrator stuck up my ass.
I was so drunk, I had passed out. Dreaming I was making love to someone. The woman locked
the closet I was hiding in. And called the police.
Love yourself. I was in prison for burglary and attempted
rape. I was forty-two. My cellmate was strangling me. He had already broken my nose. He wanted
a blow job, but I had told him no. And now we were on the concrete floor of the prison
cell. He was on top of me. His hands around my neck. His thumbs pressing against my Adam’s
apple. Blood trickling back down into my throat from my broken nose made it hard for me to
breathe. He smacked me hard several times then turned me over pulling down my pants.
I felt the soft margarine he had snuck from the cafeteria. He lubed up my asshole then
pressed his hard cock deep into my anus. Pain was everywhere. My booty was on fire.
I felt disgust. I was sickened with myself. Because I liked it. I liked it. Tears rolled
down my cheeks as my cellmate fucked me. Love. Yourself.
My celly had an orgasm. Squirted his spunk inside me. Then kissed the back of my neck.
I rose to my feet feeling his sperm drip from my rosebud onto the concrete floor. My
nose pulsating. Blood covered my face. I had just finished praying. So I stood there for
a moment. Waiting. And it was on that day. At that hour. With
those few seconds, that I finally, finally realized no one was coming to save me. That my mother
did not love me. That God did not exist. That the nice neighborhood man was a rapist. That
I was a rapist. And that I was looking for something I already had.
I rushed to the cell desk and pulled the shank that was taped, hidden behind it. I was going
to kill myself. I was going to start over. I stretched out my arm as far as it would
go. And I stabbed my celly. Then I pulled out the shank and stabbed the motherfucker
again. True story.
My name is now Shu Shin Shah. But I was born Willard Hegward Melson Jr. I am fifty years
old. I am single. Never been married. Don’t have any children. I write poetry and tell
wild stories. I am bisexual. I am an atheist. An insulin-dependent diabetic. A liar. A cheat.
An ex-thief. An ex-wino. An ex-arsonist. An ex-rapist. And an ex-con. I’m a registered
sex offender. I’ve spent sixteen years of my life in the penitentiary.
I am. Somebody. And I looovve! (Chest thump-thump.) Myself.