Tag: crimes

Doing the time the best I can

Every day I wake up and just hope and pray that the day is calm, that no fights break out and people are minding their own business. Every day I spend at least a little time trying not to get angry and fed up at the men who are rude for no reason. At the people who yell. At those who think they are tough or big telling about their crimes and the people they have hurt in life. At the people who like to make it a big point to say that they don’t care.

I wish I had something great to tell everyone right now. I am in a class that lasts 3 hours a day. The information in it is not helpful at all. Anybody who is an adult should already know this stuff. Maybe it helps a few people, it’s hard to say and I don’t find it useful. Most in the class seem bored and the only thing it serves for is to make a little chunk of time pass.

I have a whole lot of time on my hands. I do a lot of exercise. Some of my cellies can draw or make things, and that keeps them busy. Some watch a lot of television and sleep a lot. Some look for trouble. I can’t draw and I don’t want trouble. I tend to get too wound up if I don’t do something to move and stay busy. So, I do squats, and pushups, and all kinds of exercises. I do burpees, for those of you who don’t know what they are, look them up. Those will wear you out. I notice I look thinner than I ever have, my face is narrow. I was thin when I got arrested, due to the drugs. Now I weigh about 30 pounds more, but I am thinner too.

The food here is terrible. It’s a real challenge to eat at all healthy. We get no fresh fruit or vegetables to speak of. Maybe an orange once a week or so. Canned vegetables. Occasionally canned peaches. Lots of turkey. LOTS AND LOTS of turkey. Lots of beans. The portions are small, and not satisfying. I am lucky that I have some commissary money and I buy tuna and oatmeal and a few other things.

Sometimes I get messages from people who read the blog and they say I am helping them. Here’s the thing, I am glad if something I wrote did help them, but when I started writing this, I never planned to help anybody besides myself. I was really writing to just get some thoughts out, and try to make sense of this, and how I got here. I find it weird that people find my words helpful. I recently was able to read a couple of my very first posts, and I almost didn’t remember being in that state of mind and writing some of those things. I have changed a lot since then. My eyes are open to the reality of prison, and some of my thoughts about how I would get through it then are very different now.

I haven’t written much lately. It’s a little difficult to explain the way I have been feeling. I appreciate all the support and the fact that anyone takes time to send me a message is awesome. Strangers have reached out to me and that is a beautiful thing. But the more time I spend sitting in here locked up the more I find myself thinking that we are really messing ourselves up with so much focus on being online, online gaming, facebook and blogs. People should get away from their computer and start living for real. When I get out of here I’m not going to be sitting in front of a computer. I want to be outdoors every day.

Bottom line, I am doing this time the best I can, but there is nothing good about it. To any of you out there considering stupid choices, don’t be dumb. Don’t be me, locked up at 23 years old and feeling like I haven’t accomplished a damn thing with my life.

In the mirror

I had to laugh the other day. I caught sight of myself in the mirror, and for a moment I was really shocked. For just a minute, I didn’t recognize the person looking back at me.  I saw a serious man with a square jaw. Someone with dark hair, sort of large green eyes, a pale complexion – yes, it was me alright.

But this person looking back at me looked older and harder than I think of myself. Many times, I feel inside just like the same 17 year old kid I once was. It’s literally shocking to see myself in the mirror and realize with a jolt that the 17 year old is long behind me.

Now, it doesn’t get much more adult than sitting here in prison, paying the penalty for my crime. I am changed in many ways. I think for the better overall. But it makes me think, is it this way for all imprisoned people? Do they wake up in the morning, and for just a minute before reality sets in, do they feel like a kid again? Does the lifer spend a moment feeling hopeful and alive before the 4 gray walls and bars on his door close in around him?

I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Is it better to have that shred of optimism even when there isn’t much reason for it? Does that mean that the convicted killer feels a moment of reprieve from his fate and his guilt every day? For that matter, does his victims’ families wake up in the mornings and spend a moment feeling normal, before the reality of their loss again sets in with a clang just as loud as any cell door?

I am grateful that the crimes I am being punished for have been against myself. The victim, if there is one, is that 17 year old kid I sometimes still feel like. He was the kid who’s teachers would say over and over “you can be anything you want to be!” He is the same kid who had a couple really sweet girls like him, and who had a couple adults think he had potential in one thing or another. He had some good friends, and a family that trusted he was going to turn out just fine, after he got through the teen years and a little “normal” trouble.

The truth is, I no longer can be “anything I want to be”. I can’t be president, or hold any public office, or be a member of the military, or a person who votes, or a person who wants to rent an apartment in a complex somewhere, or even a person who wants to work at most stores, restaurants and businesses, or service positions that involves going into someone’s home, like an electrician or a carpet cleaner, because as a convicted felon, I am not eligible, either by law or by the rules of that company, to be any of those things anymore. My possibilities have narrowed.

That’s OK. I accept that as my condition, I may be down but I am not done. There is a country song that says “I’m not as good as I once was, but I am as good, once, as I ever was.” Silly lyrics, but along those same lines, I feel that for many of us who are here, incarcerated, that same logic applies.

We can still make our mark in a positive way on the world. We can still have a good life with a family and a job and a home. Some of our possibilities are gone right out the window. Sometimes that is going to feel unfair to us, if we are trying to get back on track. But we knew it going in, it’s the rules, whether they are reasonable or not. I know I am going to have to work harder,  longer, and take a bit of rejection and “no’s” along the way. But I can find my spot and maybe this experience will cause me to find a path I never would have otherwise. And I can be as good as I ever was. Maybe I will end up being better than I ever was.

Today when I look in the mirror, I hope to see a face looking back at me that has hope. One that looks like they can have a good time but who looks like they care, about themselves and others. And, I hope that the 17 year old in me can stay lit up always, in some small way, and shine through the serious, hard face looking out at me, because I liked that guy.

Peace ~ Magnum