I just did 7 years. The look on peoples’ faces when I say that is priceless.
7 years is a large portion of one’s life whether they live old or die young. People always ask me how it feels, how did I make it through it all, what was it like, was I raped lol. The truth of the matter and sad reality is: it’s not how people think. Prison shows can generally depict what life in prison is like on a daily spectrum of crazy as hell and this ain’t so bad. My personal experience toggled between these two extremes as I moved from facility to facility.
The hardest part of prison is coming home. In prison you get dug in; the routines become the norm, you find your little social circle, you find your walkies or people you walk to chow with, you spend time with dudes you knew from the streets, you beef with your significant other, and you choose whether or not to deal in jailhouse politics and criminal networks. Your time flies and before you know it, you’re seeing parole to get the green light that you’re going home. You get excited, say your final goodbyes and then anxiety sets in: What the fuck am I going to do.
Years spent in prison alters your reality of the real world. Some of us plan, most of us don’t, but it really doesn’t matter.
We view our coming home and how we’re going to do this and that in a way that is inconsistent with reality. We come home, and we’re lost. Everything is completely different. Technology has completely surpassed our tech-know-how, people are in the full swing of their lives, girls we knew before are women with kids, married and moved on. The feeling of being so behind in life is daunting. As men we suffer in silence, trying to figure it all out. Portraying on the outside the persona that we got this and we’re going to make a way. The weeks fly by faster than you can count and the thrill of you just being released has worn away. Bills are due, baby mamas want their checks, kids need sneakers, Uncle Sam wants his taxes, jobs aren’t hiring, parole got you restricted, and hopelessness sets in.
Many of us return to what we know best literally not knowing any other way. They lie when they say we’re selfish and if we love our families we would not return to prison. It’s a half truth. Deep down inside we want something different. We love our families, our women, our children. In prison we wanted nothing more than to return to them, not the streets and definitely not to prison.
So many of us return to prison. We failed to readjust.
Life moved forward way too fast and we did not possess the innate psychological clock to speed up. We get left and lost in the past. We return home, to prison, mad we’re back again, angry at ourselves that we simply weren’t strong enough. That we couldn’t figure it out. That it didn’t go as planned. This becomes our life now. Prison, vacation to the streets to see our family and friends, then back home. We’ve grown accustomed to it. It’s our life, our way of being.
I just did 7 years, I’m fresh out. The look on people’s faces when I say that is priceless. I always smile and answer their frequently asked questions. I’m fresh out, but for how long? Will I go back and when? To be honest I don’t even think about it but deep down I’ve already accepted it as a possible reality. I stuff it in the back of my head as do all those fresh out. Maintain a facade of normalcy while struggling to figure it all out. Secretly fearing that day when I’m once again asked those frequently asked questions. Fearing to be once again, fresh out.
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