Tag: good friend

Life’s a beach?

I feel like I am running out of things to say. Sometimes I look around me at the other people I share this place with, and I don’t even want to write anything about being here. I am sick and tired of people who want to bully others because they are weaker or because they are nicer. The people here are very disrespectful of each other. Some days it’s harder than others to just let all this bullshit flow over me and not affect me.

I have a friend in here who is paroling out any day, and then getting deported because he is in the country illegally. I don’t care about that. All I know him as is my cellie in here, and he is a good guy. His story is he comes from a small town in the far southern part of Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca, where he and his family were all farmers. He grew up a lot poorer than most of us can imagine. When you are poor there, it’s not like here. His life was pretty drastically different there than what it’s like here, and he came here with just an idea of what it would be like, and thinking he could make money and make it good here. “The American Dream”, right?

He got here when he was a young guy, and at that time he had never even driven a vehicle or drank alcohol. He got a labor job and lived with several other guys in an apartment, and for awhile it was pretty good because he was making money and experiencing a bunch of stuff he had never done. He was in a pretty big city and living a life that was way different than what he had grown up with. Then he went out one night with some other guys, drank some beer and got arrested driving home.

He was sentenced to a couple years in prison for a DUI and now he is going to be released and brought to the border and dropped off on the Mexican side. He has never received any commissary since being here because nobody from his family knows where he is and even if they did they wouldn’t have money to send him or know how to send it. I don’t know if illegal immigrants get the $50 when they get released like I hear we do, but if he does, that won’t buy him a bus ticket to his home state. He has told me he is scared that he won’t be able to get home, and from the reports on the news lately, he is scared he will get caught up in the mess with the narcotraficantes and be forced to work for them or killed or something. He doesn’t know what will happen once they drop him off across that bridge and it’s worrying him.

We work out together and we talk. He is hoping he can make it back home and he is looking forward to seeing his brothers again, but his parents are passed on. He hopes he can go back to making a living farming again and that looking back on it he misses that simple life. It seems like in his case the American dream turned into a terrible nightmare.

I can’t imagine being here in prison without ever receiving a letter from anyone or ever being able to buy a package of soup or tuna or a bag of chips or some shampoo or deodorant. All kinds of things might have happened with his family in this time and he has no idea. I try to share some of my commissary with him from time to time. Among all the men in here, he is truly humble and just keeps to himself for the most part. I am going to miss his friendship when he leaves, and he is a good workout partner, but I am glad he will be free and not sitting here in prison. I hope he can make it all the way back to his home town somehow.

Maybe we will meet again someday, under better circumstances. I told him when I am out and get done with my parole I want to take a trip down there and look him up. He says where he lives is really nice, tropical, and it’s not far from the beach. Well, on days like this it’s a lot better dreaming about being on a tropical beach than it is dealing with these guys in here who think they are such bad-asses but are really just asses.

Peace ~ Magnum

“I can” – the strength of those words

Within the last two days, two of my buddies here in the unit got moved. I was really sad to see them go. One in particular had become a really good friend. He was a good dude and I had spent a lot of my days talking and sharing stories and thoughts with him. He was really good at Scrabble! I felt sad for him, as intelligent as he was, he has spent 15 years in prison and was doing another 3 this time. He is the one who described the experience of getting out of prison and wanting to live too much. Like me, he had used heroin and meth. And, previously, getting out had only resulted in him falling back into those old habits again.

It’s funny, because you learn different lessons from the various people you encounter in life. Of course, I had heard the expressions “don’t say you can’t” and “just do it” but I still doubted myself in many areas.

But, after working out with my buddy several times, I started to believe I could do things that previously I had told myself “I can’t.” I would say to him, “dude, I can’t do a handstand” and sure enough, with that attitude, I couldn’t. He encouraged me to believe I COULD do a handstand, to tell myself “I CAN”. After awhile I started to embrace that thinking while we were doing our workouts. Now, I still can’t do a GREAT handstand, but I am doing handstands. I believe I can, I have it in me now, and I am getting there. That is truthfully the only thing that changed in my workout, my attitude went from “can’t” to “CAN”.

To take this in another direction, I have had it in my mind for awhile now that I don’t have to abuse drugs anymore, or live selfishly, and I feel this in my heart. I believe it. I told my buddy in one of our conversations, “You know what, I am not doing it any more. Life is too fragile to die that way.”

The day before he left, I had spent some time talking with him, he was really feeling down. I know why too, I could see it, that same feeling I’ve had when you find yourself in the same damn rut as before, and you wonder if things will ever change.

Well, when I recognized that in his demeanor, I told him, “you know what, it doesn’t have to be this way for us. We just have to stop telling ourselves “can’t”.

I realized right then that has been a lot of my OWN problems in the past. I have made a firm decision now that I am not gonna allow myself to let my life fall apart behind selfish desires. Heroin, meth, all that crap, it isn’t worth it.

My friend thanked me that night for being a positive influence on him. Imagine that – a 39 year old man thanking ME for influencing him. If I can influence him then I can damn well do the same thing for myself.

You know, life is crazy. Sometimes it seems you meet someone for awhile, then they are just gone from your life again. It seems that you are supposed to take that experience and what you learned from it, and share it with another, pass it along. Take the good from anything you can and leave the bad behind.

For many of us who are incarcerated, it’s time to leave our childish ways behind and to become real men. We CAN become men who use our hearts and minds above their fists, and men who act for reasons beyond selfishness. Men who CAN succeed and enjoy living free.

Ha, it’s just like Obama says —  “Yes, we can.”

Peace out ~ Magnum