I am starting to realize as I write each page in these journals, that these writings may be the most monumental thing that I accomplish in my young adult life. Being disciplined and focused, and fearless enough to do this, is more important than any job I have had, or any class that I had participated in college.
These journals are starting to bring me an extremely strong sense of inner peace and purpose, which has provided me an outlet to escape the constant negativity, hopelessness, and struggle I feel on a daily basis in this jail. I am starting to take these journals extremely seriously, and I am focusing most of my daily time toward reading and writing more, and correcting the flawed thoughts in my mind as I go.
A roommate from the next jail cell just stopped over and described a concern of his that I have also been pondering on.
I told him that I’ve been trying to wake up from this horrible dream that has become my life for far too long now! I pinch myself to wake up from this jail experience, yet I am still here inside these concrete blocks and frosted windows covered in bars.
This neighbor laughed, and commented that he can’t wake up from this nightmare either. He laughed and said it’s a horrible, “Day-Mare.” “Day-Mare’s” being the opposite of “Night-Mare’s.” This is such a horrible experience we are both living through, but at least we can pause sometimes and have a laugh at it. My life has become my personal worst “Day-Mare,” and it is the most nightmarish situation that I could have dreamed of.
To escape this “Day-Mare,” I have been daydreaming about my release date I will one day experience. I don’t know when that day will come yet, but I am sure it is a day that every inmate fantasizes about to get away from this nightmare that is jail.
I have begun preparing for the mental personality changes that I will need to make so best deal with life and freedom when that day comes. I am in a different environment than the outside world right now. It is a much slower, and more controlled way of life, which is giving me plenty of time to think. I have now adapted to this new way of life, and I am now learning how to take advantage of this time away from the real world and make something meaningful out of it. I am changing, and I believe it’s for the better.
However, it’s not all good. I am losing my ability to trust and interact eagerly with people, because I am learning not to trust everyone in here. There are some simply bad people in here. This perspective change is putting me on the defensive socially, where I used to be an eternal optimist.
Creating a fulfilling life in jail is difficult to do I am realizing There are constantly people coming and going, in and out of these locked doors, and it is making me weary and skeptical when I meet new people. What is the point of starting a friendship with someone new if that person is going to be gone tomorrow?
I am becoming institutionalized in a social respect. I am beginning to believe it’s almost un-practical to be an extrovert and friendly as I get introduced to new guys who come in here. Now that I am starting to be a “long-timer” in jail, I am becoming more doubtful, cautious, and cynical to the new inmates I meet.
I am not sure if this is good or not, but it’s a survival technique that is helping me stay balanced and sane in these unpredictable and uncontrollable surroundings. I do have some minor worries in the back of my mind that I may have this mentality when I am finally released, but if I am going to survive in here, I can’t worry about what may happen in the future. I have to do what is right for me today. Secretly, I want to be friendly so bad, and make new friends, but it’s just emotionally easier to be quiet and independent even when you’re in a cell block full of men. I am hoping I am making the right choice.