Well, it’s good and it’s bad… and I certainly have a case of it. First, it feels good because people think what I do is amazing, and it feels good to know that of the thousands of prisoners everywhere, *I’m* one of the few that’s blazing the trail, showing people how time can be better used. I’m an example to a lot of people and it’s nice to grasp the idea that I could be serving my time like everyone else. Instead, people are telling me that I’m the anomaly that’s showing the other anomalies how it’s done. That feels good. And it’s also neat to get messages from admin at DOC headquarters congratulating me on my endeavors. I get that from staff here as well.
On the other hand, there are some negative side affects. I have a lot of great stuff going on in my life. So much that when people ask me how I am doing, and then I tell them. Well, when everyday I do this, and they can see that I’m glowing while I tell them. It begins to bother many of them. Probably because their world is stuck inside a mental prison. But then I feel uncomfortable when this happens, so I stopped telling people how my day’s are *actually* going. When they ask, I tell them what they’re looking for. They say “How’s it going?” and my response is now “Oh you know.. the usual”. And then they smile and I smile and that’s it. I would love to talk to somebody about some of this stuff, but it’s hard to relate. So I keep my endeavors mostly to myself.
Another thing I don’t like is that because I’ve taken the time to learn some math, and because the media keeps picking up my story, everyone thinks I’m a genius. Many of the staff here boast and say that I am one, and many times it’s in front of a bunch of other inmates, and so I now have that stigma. I hate it. It makes me feel really uncomfortable, but they don’t get it. No matter how many times I try to tell them, they have this idea in their mind and it’s just not true. It’s weird. I’ll be perfectly honest, I keep mostly to myself now. Even with the people I’m close to in here, it is sometimes a problem. And I try telling people that any one of them can pick *one* thing they’d like to become truly great at. If they were to focus on just that, for years, then they would be great at it, so much that it could change their future.
People mistake my drive for something else entirely. But this is another thing where the goods outweigh the bads. There has to be a “me” so that once people see that I’ve stayed consistent even out of prison, then my whole stigma in here (the annoying one) will act as a huge inspiration for other prisoners. I’ll become a story that people tell, and maybe future guys might try modeling their own behaviors from certain aspects of mine. That’s potentially a powerful and wonderful thing. 🙂 It feels odd to be *this* guy. But I don’t know of any other way I’d be. I’m surprised, truly surprised, that I’m one of the few who choose to truly *live* while carrying out their sentence. Why the heck is that?!
So the whole “prison famous” thing is strange to grasp. And it’s carrying out into the community too, where my story is becoming known by hundreds of thousands of people. And to be perfectly real with you, here’s where my opinion drastically changes. This is important. Because so many people are hearing about me, and because most all of them are inspired about it, I am in a unique position to make small sociological shifts in perception. Long held notions of how prisoners are and how prisons function. I’m going to try changing how society views “the prisoner”.
I get that this might seem a little cocky. It’s doable though. I’m showing people that some of us change and that prison does not solely exist with the variety we see in the movies. So what if John Doe goes to prison for his first time, his only idea of prison is what he sees in the movies and media. He then acts and contributes to his atmosphere in a way that provides defense for that which he *perceives* prison to be. It’s not pretty. Instead, what if John Doe gets thrown in prison for the first time knowing there to be a different reality to that which he sees in the movies? John Doe will not act as if his life was at stake. This small thing changes whole prison culture, because the revolving door that is incarceration becomes less dangerous. And it then breeds more anomalies inside prisons.
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