Change Your Attitude, Change Your Surroundings!
I got to thinking today about having a positive energy and attitude. Something that I have been working on for awhile. I think about things like having a negative impact on my environment. I translated that into having a better work attitude for my first experiment. 
I work in our institutions kitchen as a cook. My job is important to me because it may be the only chance I get at work experience. (because I have a technical life sentence I do not get many of the benefits of those with promised release dates). Since it is vital to have employment experience I have no choice but to make it work. 
Our institutions kitchen is undergoing major changes and its policies are changing. As with any change it is hard to adjust to with the wrong attitude. Instead of viewing these changes negatively I am choosing to view them positively. I usually am a pretty upbeat individual, however, that is hard to keep when suddenly there are so many negative ego’s at play. 
You see, in prison no inmate is allowed to be in charge of anything. But with CI taking over the kitchen they pay us slightly more (.42¢/hr currently. When CI comes in we could get up to $1.42/hr) and they create dept. leads. Some of us are used to that responsibility and will handle it well. Some are not liking if for multiple reasons, many of which revolve around their own insecurities. The need for control in their lives trumps reasonable thinking.
I hold the feeling that I just want to work. I have no other opportunities here that I can use to help me release with good, usable skills. So long as I get that…I’m good. If there is more responsibility that I can prove i’m capable of I have no problem assuming that role.
If the goal is to be a positive source of light for others, LGBTQ or otherwise, then being uplifting and positive is not just a good idea, it’s paramount. Some people are just naturally bubbly and super happy people. This is the trait that I am drawing from. Though not completely. Being bubbly is great, but it has its limitations and downsides. One of which is not being taken seriously when you need to be. Not only do I want to be viewed as someone who is positive and easy to be around, I want to be viewed as trustworthy. Trustworthy enough to talk about the hard topics. This means that I have to be approachable and kind and listen well.
These are things that require me to adapt to a changing environment. Not just to adapt, but to adapt happily and willingly.
For many this is where drugs are used ( by *many* I mean inmates) or where violence happens or where depression and suicidal thoughts occur. When the environment changes, they feel out of control, even when it’s for our own good. I personally am going to change this in me. I hope that other inmates and non-inmates alike follow suit. Everyone experiences change and negativity and personal trials, but how do you handle them?
With Love

Jeff Utnage 823469