Tag: doing time

Ma, you did the time too

I was reflecting on some of the site regulars, and how in general they were mothers, wives and girlfriends. There are some fathers, and siblings, and a few children of those incarcerated. And there are comments from those who have done time, or worked in corrections, and folks with addiction problems. But most of who visits here are the women left behind – the mothers, wives and girlfriends.

When I got locked up I had a lot of emotions to deal with. I was angry, first and foremost. And I had some fear, naturally. I also had a lot of guilt and shame, especially at that first visit when my mother came to see me in County. I felt so shitty. Like a real turd, that is all there is to it. And I was also very damn glad to see her. A lifeline! Thrown to me in the very dark hole I was residing in.

I think I can speak for the majority of the incarcerated when I say having your mother, your wife, or your girlfriend stick by you while you do time is very appreciated. And probably not acknowledged as much as it should be. When you go down you find out pretty fast that most of your so-called friends are nowhere to be found. Even a lot of family becomes scarce. Face it, it’s not that fun to visit someone in prison, the whole experience is crappy. And writing letters to someone who basically has NO news to share with you and nothing going on is not very gratifying either. Sending funds to someone because they are a dumbass and got locked up doesn’t usually feel like a good use of money but boy is it appreciated.

I am pretty sure when I went to prison my mother was about as nervous and scared about what I was going to face there as I was. In fact, I guess she might have been more scared and nervous. Yeah, I think she was. I knew I could handle it, one way or the other, but for her it was probably agony. I was lucky that some guys told me the real rundown of what to expect and I was sure to tell her as much as I knew, so she kind of knew what was going to happen. And, I had one of my cell mates all set to call her when they picked me up so she would know I was on my way without waiting for her to find out randomly.

The main question we receive here is “my son/husband/boyfriend just transferred from County to TDC. How do I know he’s OK? How do I find him?” I hear the fear in those questions every time I read them. I know they are looking into the unknown and expecting it to be pretty bad, all the way around.

Here’s another thing that doesn’t get said much. Your parent is left on the outside to explain to family, friends, and everyone else where you are. Why you are there. They can choose to cover it up or just own it, but either way folks judge. My mother told me that right when I went away, a lot of her coworkers in her age-group had children who were graduating college and starting their careers, and how she chose to just stay quiet because bragging on your son’s newest prison tattoo just isn’t so cool.

I’ve noticed that some of the mothers who are regulars here have gotten the prison lingo down pretty well. Catching chain, making commissary, short way – these are all terms that a mother shouldn’t need to be knowing. That’s just messed up. But it is a fact.

I’m sorry Ma, i wish I could undo that part of things. I don’t regret much in life, definitely don’t regret that I did time. It’s part of who I am. But I wish I hadn’t had to take you down with me. And I appreciate that you went through that went me. I really do. Thanks for doing the time with me. It made it a little easier to know you were there.

We’re All Doing Time

Update from Inside: Life here continues to be busy for me, work is trucking along, and so is the rehab program. The days are going by fast overall. Over all I am in very good spirits. I got a book called “We’re All Doing Time” by Bo Lozoff. It’s a spiritual book, not a religious book, but it pulls from all the major world religions. It quotes the Bible, Buddhist teachings, Hindu, Native American, and more. It talks about Christ and Mother Theresa and Gandhi.

It is REALLY, REALLY good. The author Bo Lozoff puts in words just what my personal beliefs about spirituality and religion have been for awhile now. It has a lot of lessons in spiritual practice to try, including prayer, meditation, and yoga. I have started working on some of these practices and I feel good about everything and I am in high spirits. I feel positive about the future.

For awhile now I have had this feeling that I can be as free in my mind in here as I can outside, it’s all about me and the way I feel inside. And the book I am reading says that being incarcerated may be more of a gift than we realize and that the richest man or woman on the outside may be more of a prisoner than those of us inside, depending on how they feel spiritually and how we feel. This is exactly how I feel too. I know I am more free now than I ever was when I was shooting dope and living the life of addiction.

The author says that being locked up in such harsh conditions without the comforts most people take for granted is a lot like what a monk chooses as a way to grow spiritually. He says us inmates can choose to spend the time with the mind of an incarerated inmate, or with the mind of a monk seeking spiritual growth. That we can come out of prison better for the experience or worse, but it’s totally up to the individual, not the programs we are enrolled in or the people who choose to go up against us. The positive and the negative we find here is all what we choose to do with it.

I find myself laying in my bed at night dreaming about life and what it may have in store for me. Life is full of possibilities and I can’t help but wonder where I am going. I try not to get too wrapped up in it, ’cause I know this very moment is what counts, but I can’t help dreaming. We all have dreams, right?

Another thing that is going on with me right now is I have decided to start to speak in our Group. It is optional, and up until now I have not chosen to. But I figure if I’m going to be here I might was well express who I was and where I am going. That way I am working on being open and honest to myself.

I am now in Phase 2 of the program and that includes some marching which probably sounds a little cooler than it is. We get out there at 6:00 am and march around the perimeter of the unit, once around,  twice a week. We yell out some stuff, go one time around, and that’s about it. We don’t do it enough to get really good at it. A lot of the guys hate it, but I don’t mind it, things could be a lot worse.

I just recently got letters about a couple things. My sister got hurt, broke a couple ribs. It was an accident that could have ended a lot worse, so she is lucky. Also, she is pregnant and the baby is OK, so she is double-lucky. And my old dog back home is getting really bad off. He probably won’t make it a lot longer. It really caused me to reflect and it also made me think of my grandfather who passed away several months ago and about death in general. It makes me realize that there are so many things we have no control over. We are all the same in so many ways, in spite of our outward differences, and we all come into the world and go out of it in the same way.

We all drive different vehicles through the streets of life, but we all have to figure out how to drive those streets, one way or another. Life will always keep on going, no matter your situation, so all we can do is go with it and do our best to find happiness and inner peace. I hope today that those reading this blog find themselves on a street going in the right direction. For anyone who might be seeking spiritual guidance, or who knows an inmate that could use some spiritual help, I highly recommend the book I am reading.

Peace to everyone ~ Magnum

Editors Note ~ I received an email this morning from Bo Lozoff’s Foundation for Prison Ashram. They let me know that if I changed the link to their Human Kindness store rather than Amazon, the proceeds are used to send free books to inmates all over. So, of course, I made those changes. I urge any of you who might be considering the book to purchase from this very worth organization.