A friend once told me that when life is too good, or too easy, we create problems for ourselves and place importance in the menial things. Hobbies, assets, superficial stuff. You strip that down and you begin to face things differently. It shows you what is truly important.
At times I may have misplaced my priorities. A priority that is now even clearer to me is the people in my life who I love.
We all decompress from what happens to us. People can decompress from a hard day at work, bad news, or even a vacation – how American of us. The idea of decompressing is to get your mind right, keep your life on track and stay centered. Why can’t I decompress from this whole experience while at prison? Do I need to wait until I’m home to begin the process? Both myself and everyone who went through this with me have already been through a LOT, why wait to begin?
I would prefer to walk out of here full of acceptance, gratitude, and joy for the present and the future. Level headed, calm, and ready to start a new chapter of my life. If I leave and I’m a frantic mess who needs to get home and decompress, the people who love me would support that, but is that how I want to support them?
Being here made me realize how many people I care about and how many people care about me. It’s not what we’re doing or where we are, it is simply who I want to be surrounded by and being more aware of why they mean so much to me. A lot of other inmates do not have much they are coming out to. They have intentionally disconnected from their families during their sentence, lost touch through lack of effort, or literally have no one left. I am also creating an awareness for my self talk on the matter. What types of dialogues do I want to have regarding managing the emotions of missing everyone? What thoughts serve me and what hurt me? What can I do to improve myself, come back decompressed and be a source of love, not a burden?
It doesn’t serve anyone if an inmate gets home and has thought only about what they miss and how life should have gone differently. What about working to improve their mind, soul and confidence – isn’t that a good way to show those people how much you care? So I am using that energy, the feeling of missing people, to yes, stay in touch and share updates, but to improve myself to show how much I care.
Another friend in Boise wrote me a letter about her life, friendship, and the death of her father. She said something that I thought was so beautifully put I want to share it here: “The luckiest of us grieve the hardest because we were fortunate enough to be loved so wholly.”
She misses her father, so very much. It sounds like they had a wonderful, deep relationship. How this applies to me is that if I miss so many people so much I shouldn’t be sad, I should feel lucky. I will see them all again and we will be able to reminisce and also create new memories. I should be motivated, grateful, and happy about that. How lucky am I that I feel sadness for not being near the people who mean the most to me? Because a lot of people in prison are indifferent, and while that may make this time easier for them, it’s not the path I want to be on.