Holidays in Purgatory

Being incarcerated this time of year can be especially hard. Even if we don’t have good Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years or Halloween experiences to look back on, we are taunted with fun, envious images of these special occasions almost everyday. Because we’re unable to participate in any of it, the holiday season intensifies our lack of freedom and the holiday spirit manifests as regrets and anger.

Inmates tend to be pretty cynical and unpatriotic, so I’ve been surprised by how much guys in here value these deeply American, somewhat corny get togethers. Many just miss the parties, free food and gifts. Many others, though, genuinely miss being with family, spending important moments with their kids, taking part in generations-old traditions, and the overall holiday atmosphere. Regardless of the reason, however, between mid-November and mid-January guys are visibly more stressed/depressed than normal.

Largely because I felt like an outcast in my family, despite their constant affection and generosity, I didn’t care for most holidays before I got locked up. But now that I understand the importance of family, not being able to attend any of these celebrations truly burns. Over the course of these two-two 1/2 months TV and radio frequently inflame my misery about all the memories and quality time with far away relatives that I lose every year. Because I wasted so many opportunities to kick it with and sincerely get to know loved ones, as well as some previous friends, the sense that I’m little more than a minor conversation piece at these get togethers adds extra sting to the unavoidable realities of my imprisonment.

Whenever the family assembles I try to call so I can talk to those I haven’t spoken with in a while and just be a part of the group in some way, you know. Ultimately, though, I always feel like a guy who got caught up in traffic on his way to catch a cruise and wound up standing on the pier, luggage in hand, as the boat pulled away with everyone he knows waving at him.

I hope those that have been locked up really enjoy this time of year and appreciate the ability to take part in all the festivities. After all, you know what it’s like to be barred from them.

Grab some pie and stick around for a lifetime. And grab a piece for us who can’t, but are starving to join you.

Keep Boxing Temptation