Don’t Forget

I saw my parents this week for the first time in a year. They used to come up every weekend, but then the DOC, with its cave like brilliance, decided to send me four hours away as a reward for having stayed out of trouble at max (no good deed goes unpunished in prison). I’m allowed more phone calls here but they’re absolutely no competition for talking to my loved ones in person. The 12 month gap between my last conversation with my parents longer than 20 minutes left me unprepared for certain things, as I soon discovered.

Halfway through our visit, the topic turned to my dad’s health. I knew he’d been experiencing various ailments but I wasn’t aware of how potentially serious the situation was. I sat there listening and looking intently into my parents’ faces, running math calculations like an insurance company in a futile attempt to predict what condition they’ll be in when I come home. The most likely possibilities hurt to think about.

As I walked back to my room afterwards I was tormented by the all too familiar powerlessness of incarceration. I thought about the irony of my life before versus my life now. When I was on the streets I was rather easy to annoy, socially uncomfortable, hateful and bitterly vindictive, yet I was always capable of fixing or at least addressing any apparent problems I had. None of these characteristics even somewhat apply to me now, yet I’m virtually incapable of fixing small problems that clearly affect me.

Soon I began to consider how deeply these emotions were piercing my generally cheerful attitude and motivating me to get released as quickly as possible and never again risk returning. But I knew this feeling would be temporary. I knew that in a couple of days I’d be back to my normal mentality, which is JUST as committed to getting out and staying out, however is much less willing to tolerate unproductive behavior from myself.

I think this issue is very common: how do we maintain motivation after it has swept over us? We may not be able to hold onto that initial feeling when it’s most powerful, but there are definitely ways to remind ourselves of that power. My guy, who got out about two years ago, said he thinks of me when he feels a dumb attack coming on. He thinks of how much I’d give to be where he’s at and how I’d be going at life full throttle – whatever I would have to endure to make it all work.

I often hear guys say they don’t want to take anything with them when they leave because they don’t want to think about their time in prison. But, for the exact opposite reason, I plan to keep one or two things when I leave. I know tough times and bad decisions will tempt me, and I always want to be able to pull out some token of this experience to remind me of what awaits me if I slip for even a moment.

Keep boxing temptation and chasing your dreams.

TIP 1: If you would like to be notified by e-mail each time theinnervoice84 posts a new blog, please click on “Follow” at the lower right hand corner of the screen.

TIP 2: Join a local organization. With both government funding and the number and quality of employment opportunities on the decline, people are teaming up much more these days to improve their communities. Using the insight we’ve gained from bad decisions to help kids in our neighborhood, or to help others reduce crime/protect themselves against it will win us advocates who could possibly help us with jobs, schooling, housing, etc. We can’t expect society to give us a second chance if we can’t be bothered to give it a hand.