Friday, October 05, 2012

One Profound Moment:
What You Have To Worry About

Last night was a hard night for me.

If you follow me on Twitter (@BostonBliss) and were up in the wee hours of the night, you’ll have been privy to my state of mind and the struggles I was attempting to work through. My work is not only challenging in and of itself, but it's also incredibly challenging to me as a person – to my values and beliefs about myself, others, and the world in general.

I cry even now as I write this.

I only slept for about four hours despite the fact that today is my one day off a week where I can catch up on missed sleep and enjoy a day of naked rest and relaxation. I just couldn’t get into the headspace for sleep last night, and when I woke up this morning for no concrete reason, I was wide awake once again.

I’m mentally exhausted, but sleep is evading me. I think I have to read up on my self-care methods. I’m forgetting them and their slowly slipping from my priority list. But this blog is, if nothing else, making me stick to one part of my self-care, which is putting something to paper. It's about getting it out.

This week’s little nugget of pure truth isn’t an exchange between two men. It’s a little bit longer than usual, but no matter how I try to condense it, it just doesn’t seem right. It has to be told in its entirety for it to mean anything.

So here’s one man’s story of incarceration. With great pain he told this, only to benefit another group member who is entering jail next month. He wanted him to be aware.

One Man's Story:
When you go into jail, you know you have to worry about the other inmates. You have your story all planned out – you’re here for domestic violence – that’s a good one to use. You’re just here to do your time. You don’t say anything else because it’s better to just not talk about it, because then people start asking questions. If someone finds out you’re in for a sexual offence – well, let’s just say that’s not what you want. 

You know all this. What you don’t know is that it’s not only the other inmates you have to worry about – it’s the guards too. It’s the guards especially.

When I went in, I was stripped down and given my new clothes in a private room. Before I could even process what was going on I realized there were four guards present and I heard someone call from down the hall: just don’t get blood anywhere. I knew what was going to happen then.

They jumped me, four against one. I was beaten and bruised and bleeding, and they continued to beat me with a resounding chorus of what a piece of shit I was, and how I should just get it over with and kill myself. I was told I wasn’t worth shit. And I couldn’t argue – what they said was true. In the end, I was knocked down to the floor with a heavy hit to one side of my head, and my ear ended up splitting open against the concrete. Blood spilled everywhere, like a horror movie scene almost. But you know what? They made me clean up my own blood. They attacked me, and I cleaned it up for them.

They handed me a piece of paper and I was told to tell the truth about how my ear and been injured – they don’t like guys who lie, after all. I made up a bogus story and signed it, and they took me down to the onsite nurse.

One guard stayed with me the entire time to make sure I didn’t change my story. The nurse tried to ask what happened – she knew. But I couldn’t change my story – it would’ve just made things worse. I only needed to survive forty-five days. That’s all. I’d survived three decades – forty-five days was nothing in the grand scheme of things.

There’s a lot of shit that happens in jail that just shouldn’t happen – but it does. People, whoever they are, are hateful and vengeful, and sometimes downright evil. You go into jail and when you come out, you’re changed. Someone shows compassion and empathy towards you and you distrust it – you can’t accept that people like that still exist. It’s a sorry state when you’re genuinely surprised by even the smallest act of kindness, and I think maybe that’s the worst part of it all.

I always used to believe in the genuine goodness of people. Not anymore. I want to, but I still don’t know if I can get back to that after what I’ve seen, what I've been through. It changes you - no doubt about that. Just be ready for it.


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