It looks like I’ll be running while standing in place in my cell for the next few days. Rain and thunderstorms all week, but bad weather has never stopped me in the past.
I finally finished up the last of my soap sculptures. Tuesday is when all large packages get shipped out from here, making it my last chance to get them home to my mother and grandmother for Mother’s Day. After painting them and covering them in an acrylic protective clear coat, they don’t even look like soap; they look just like little toys and trinkets bought from the store. I really enjoy my new hobby, I’m good at it, and it’s just another facet of my artistic skills. I’ve had several inmates ask me to make them things to send home to their own families, unfortunately I’ve had to turn them all down, because it takes up so much of my time that it’s just not worth it, unless it’s for one of my own loved ones.
“Half measures availed us nothing.” This is a quote that’s read in every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Today I read this quote yoga daily readings book, the author is a recovering alcoholic like me, creating a stronger connection with me to the book. Such a thing sparks more interest with me. As a man with many faults, I guess it’s a little comforting to read from a book written by an author with similar problems as me and is now living by something that helped him to recover and spreading his message through writing, just like me. “Half measures availed us nothing” This is something that everyone should live by. Doing anything half ass has never gotten me very far in life, but in here I work hard on my goals every day and I reap the benefits.
A few days ago the doctor finally saw me again for my ear, still doing nothing for me other than draining it, something I’ve already been having to do myself each day just to relieve some of the pressure. Now, after a month of major discomfort and concern for the health and wellness of my ear, I’m happy to say that the swelling is finally diminishing. Thank God!
Yesterday I wrote a little bit about a normal day inside prison for me, of course always leaving a few things out, remembering more after already sending out my blog entry. Every morning and night I talk with God, thanking him and praying for my family’s’ safety and security. Every morning I read from a number of daily spiritual readings, including everything from the bible, to alcoholics anonymous, to yoga, and anything else that focusses on improving my mind, body and spirit. I also work hard to keep up with reading all the books and magazine subscriptions that my family and friends send in for me. Right now I’m also working on the final stages of my book that should be available for purchase this summer. The preface to my book, I feel is one of the most important parts, it’s the first thing that people will read, I want it to sound as interesting and intriguing as possible, captivating the attention of the reader enough to want to finish reading the rest of my book. On top of all that, I also keep up correspondence with the many friends, family, and support people that I’ve established throughout my sentence, and my support structure only continues to grow with time. From an active addict with no responsibilities, to a sober man, working each and every day to increase the success of my life and future, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed with my new life and the responsibilities that come with it.
Often I sit in my cell, wondering what the heck to write, thinking about my day, it was just like yesterday and the day before that, and so on and so forth. So I sit here in my cell, drawing a blank. I ran five miles this morning, and then I came back to my cell and did 500 pushups, 500 squats, 500 dips, and 1,000 crunches. This is what I do every single morning; it gets my day started in the right direction. When I’m finished with my workout, I usually have just enough time to take a shower before having to lock down for count, but today I couldn’t. The laundry guy said my clothes weren’t ready yet because two of the three dryers for the entire block were broken. I had no other clean clothes, so I just waited until later this afternoon, after my scheduled weight lifting time. I also practiced my guitar for about an hour and a half, worked on a mothers’ day gift for my grandmother, jotted down some ideas preface of my book, had a conversation with my friend, Kurt, played some cards while waiting for lunch call and dinner call, and that’s about a regular day in prison for me.
Today my classmates and I finally had our last of twelve Victim Awareness classes. We had our first class in December of last year, the class was only supposed to last for twelve weeks long, one class a week, and instead it lasted for more than sixteen weeks because our teacher continuously called in sick. I signed up for this class because I wanted to learn something and do more with my time. The opportunities to get in a class are few and far between because of the abundance of inmates signing up for classes in order to get good days off of their time and also to have another good mark on their record for when they see the parole board, so when the chance to take a class came up, I was quick to grab at it. This class didn’t give out good days, so it was easy to get in. The only incentive for inmates was a free hygiene kit or a choice cell move after completion. The rules for completing the course was to attend every class and complete every homework assignment, this seems like an easy task, but obviously not for many inmates. The class started out with about thirty of us and in the end there was only about five of us left.
I’ve been having a very difficult time dealing with my new cell mate lately. He lives a life in prison that is completely opposite to the life I live in here and for that major reason, we clash. My celly stays up all hours of the night, like some teenager, then he sleeps all day. I told him in the beginning that I’m not going to tip-toe around the cell during the day, or change my daily goals and routines just so he can sleep. My celly lives like a pig, I’m constantly telling him to clean up after himself, and then he asks me why I’m short with him and won’t have conversations. I refuse to waste a single moment of my time associating myself with a man going backwards with their life, while I’m attempting to move forward, insuring the success of my future through goals and hard work. There are many other things that I would like to say about my celly, things that I will not tolerate in my cell, but I just can’t go into detail. I told him today that he needs to find a way to move out of here and in with one of his buddies. I’ve been trying to get my friend, Kurt to move in with me for a few months now and soon he will be, but it’s just not coming soon enough.
I love running every day, it gives me a great sense of freedom and accomplishment, it clears my mind, rejuvenates my thoughts, it helps me to refocus my goals for the day and the list just goes on and on. Today I ran five miles, not just for myself, but also to support the Boston marathon runners the only way I know how from inside prison. I watch the news, I see the many people who showed up to the race and it made me feel good to see how we can all come together for one another, as Americans, looking into the face of tragedies like last years’ bombing and growing stronger from it. One day I will make sure to take the trip to Boston and participate in such an amazing race.
Just yesterday I drained my ear again, for the fourth time. Again I woke up in the middle of the night, with a throbbing ear; I reached up to feel my ear again to find that it was already swollen with fluid again. Constantly cutting my ear open in the same spot is taking its tole on me, but more so is the swelling. I’m always concerned about my health; I just wish the doctors here in prison felt the same. I continue to work out each day, sweating hard, but I wonder if I’m contributing to my ear problem?
Today is yet another rough day for me and my ear. My ear continues to throb, like a pulsating thumb on a cartoon. At night I can’t sleep for more than an hour without the pain waking me up. This morning I ran five miles, which wasn’t that easy because I did it without my music, the headphones are not good for my ear. After my morning workout I had to cut open my ear again, to drain it of fluid and relieve the pressure. I can’t believe how quickly my ear continues to fill up with fluid, just hours later I had to drain it again. It only seems to be getting worse instead of better; I’ve never had to drain it twice in one day. I just hope and pray that I get better because I just don’t know how much more my ear can take.
Four times my ear has filled up with fluid, deep beneath the skin; four times I’ve had to drain it, twice by the doctor and twice by myself. It’s painful and annoying; I can’t get a good night’s sleep, because each time I role over on my ear, the pain wakes me straight up. My mother looked up my ear problem on the web and found that it looks like I might have something like swimmers ear; it also says I might have to continue draining it for up to a month. I’m defiantly not looking forward to having to keep cutting my ear open once or twice every week, my ear is just too sore for that. The doctor keeps on trying to tell me that someone must have struck my ear, I told him that’s not true, but he just doesn’t seem to believe me.
Every day, we porters in this block do our jobs on time and we do them well for the most part. Today the Sgt. decided to come in the block; making threats of handing out behavior tickets to any of the porters he didn’t see doing their job immediately. These kinds of threats don’t sit with me well, this is a total misuse of power and it just shows the complete lack of respect that many of the staff here have for inmates. Often we are treated as if we’re not even human. The prison supposedly has a yearly audit today, which is why the sgt. was yelling and threatening, if the unit gets a bad score, then it falls back on him. Ask yourself, does that sound like an excuse to yell and threaten inmates who have done nothing wrong? For us, this is just another day, we’ll all be doing the same thing we did yesterday and that includes our porter jobs.
My good friend, Kurt and
his family are going through difficult times right now. Kurt had to face one of
the worst fears of imprisonment, losing a family member, Kurt’s grandfather
past away and he’s not taking it well. Just like me, when I lost my Aunt Norma,
Kurt is obviously trying to keep his emotions locked in to himself.
Internalizing seems to be the only choice we really have in prison, too many
people search for weaknesses in others in order to prey on them, this is just
another unfortunate fact of prison. When inmates lose a loved one, we don’t
ever really get a chance to mourn like the rest of the family, by doing things
like going to the funeral, hugging other family members in mourning, consoling
each other, etc. Every time I stop to think about my Aunt Norma’s’ passing, it
just seems so surreal, almost as if I’ll see her when I come home. As a friend
of Kurt and a person that cares, I will do my best to reach out to him and
talk, whenever he’s ready to talk, because I know that this is something I
myself would appreciate from another