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Letter from the inside

Cody Wille

Editor’s note: Cody Wille, a 17-year-old Aspen resident, was recently sentenced to three years in a prison for youthful offenders in Pueblo for his role in a crime spree last summer in Aspen. He is presently being held in Grand Junction until he can be transferred.

Wille has agreed to send letters to The Aspen Times describing his time behind bars. We will print those letters as we receive them.

I have been doing a lot of thinking since my recent sentencing and have also begun keeping a diary of my daily life behind bars. My thinking has made me realize that maybe other kids my age know I’ve been sent to prison, but don’t understand on our (kid) terms what prison/jail is really like. That’s why I’m sending you copies of my diary – so that other kids can learn from my mistakes and not do stupid things without thinking about what the very real consequences can be. So, here is my first installment to the kids of Aspen.

Boom, boom, boom! I have arrived at my cell in Mesa County Detention Facility. Not to my surprise, I am unhappily received. The first thing I heard was a pounding like thunder; the pounding was coming from next door. The next thing I hear is, “What’s your name bitch?” I didn’t know what to say, I was scared. Next I hear, “Where the fuck you comin’ from bitch? What are you in for little bitch?” Just then I remembered what a friend had told me: “Act tough, act crazy, but don’t act intimidated. I did just that. I started yelling and screaming and acting tough. I heard the intercom click on: “Mr. Wille, if I were you, I wouldn’t associate myself with those two troublemakers.”

Now was a hard choice to make. Do I associate myself and run the risk of a write-up, or do I run the risk of getting my ass kicked. I weighed my options and went with shutting up and keeping to myself. I thought to myself that night about what had happened earlier in the day, and where I was now. I didn’t think sleep was an option because of the banging and constant verbal assault, but I closed my eyes and that was that.

“Hey! Is that bitch in fifteen up?” Bang, bang. “Wake up bitch.” I opened my eyes and there were about five people staring in my window. It was breakfast time; we had plain Cream of Wheat (what we have every morning). The day felt like two weeks. I had time to assess my entire life, what my worth was in this place. I had nothing. I felt that my whole life was about loss – the loss of my childhood due to my father’s drug addictions, then the loss of my father and finally, for the past 24 hours, the loss of myself. In those 24 hours in August, I had seemed to have lost all of my self morals and ethics; I had nothing and cared for nothing. In those 30 seconds before Clark’s, I changed my life in the most unhealthy ways possible. Now I can’t even believe that I was the same person who had committed those inexcusable acts.

I now live by Cody Wille’s 10 rules of life:

1. Be yourself, never try to be what you are not.

2. Set goals and set them high. I am never coining back to jail, and I am going to break my vicious cycle of loss.

3. Resist peer pressure. If I could have done that I wouldn’t be here.

4. Respect – the more you respect others, the more they will respect you.

5. Your family and friends are the most important aspect of your life. Choose your friends well.

6. Love – there are many different types of love – love for a pet, love for family, love for your girlfriend, love for the people that help you. Everyone loves differently, but love is what unites all of us together.

7. Pride – I am not proud of some of the things that I’ve done but I am damn proud of the man I have become through these hard times.

8. Never take things for granted. It’s the little things in life that make it so beautiful.

9. Forgiveness – forgiveness is as powerful as love. In fact, they hold each other hand in hand.

10. I may only be a 17-year-old Aspen High School senior, but I am wise enough to know that my life in only beginning and I have had one hell of a kick start at it. There will always be lessons to be learned and goals to achieve, but I urge you to take life one step at a time. So what is my message? We must continue to chart a course for our lives. Set goals and live every day to the fullest to achieve them. If it takes an unexpected turn, hang on to the goals that are still realistic, and reassess those that are not. Our value systems must remain unchanged – it is these core values that provide a foundation for setting a new course. That course may lead us in directions that we never anticipated or dreamed of. But that new course may lead us to making contributions and accomplishment that are of more value to our society than those we had originally planned for ourselves.

I am still in the process of reassessing, figuring out how my life will work again. I know it will be a good and happy life, one of which I will be proud.

My life reminds me of a story I once heard. There once was this man who was stranded in a desert. He had no food or water and was on the verge of death. He kneels down and starts to pray. He says, “God, please let me make it out of this desert alive.” All of a sudden he wakes up two weeks later in a city, fully refreshed. There is an angel sitting right next to him, and the man asks, “How did I get out of the desert?” The angel picks him up and shows him the path coming from the desert. In some places there are two sets of foot prints and in others there is only one set. So the man says, “Where there are two sets, is that you who was walking with me?” The angel says, “Yes, that was me.” Then the man says, “Why did you leave me to walk the rest of the way alone?” And the angel says, “I didn’t leave you, that was when I was carrying you.”

I just want to say thank you to all of you that have carried me.

Love, Cody Wille


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