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It’s 2014. Eight years. Things are going to change for me. These walls won’t change, but what goes on in my head will change. If not, then my life is all a waste. I can’t let that happen. I never thought this would happen to me. I was excited when Megan told me she was going to have a baby. We bought a few baby things. I remember a little red pair of Nike shoes with the swoosh on the side. They were so tiny. I was so happy. I never got a chance to see him or have a chance to hold his little body in my arms. He will probably be my only child and because of what I did he and I have lost so much. But Megan is a good mother so my son is lucky to have someone who loves him.

I turned thirty one in January.  I was twenty two when I was locked up.  These years have been depressing.  It would be so easy to let it get to me and turn me into someone I don’t like.  How could anyone have hope in this place?

It’s rigged to keep you down. But the beginning of this year was been different.  I got birthday cards from some people I didn’t know.  They wished me happy birthday and encouraged me to keep fighting.  Not the fighting with fists kind of fighting, but the mental kind of fighting. Fighting with yourself to stay positive.  To have hope.  To remember that someday I will get out of here and have a life.

Do you know what it’s like to go through any kind of special day and have no one remember you?  That’s the way it has been every year until now.  But this year I got cards from five new friends and mom, Megan and Jamie.  It was really great.  All that mail.  I got cards from Steve, Victor, Marcia, Kathy and Carol. I never knew I had so many friends, and I know there are more out there. They are all members if the SGI-USA who are Nichiren Buddhists.  They didn’t judge me because I was in prison.  It made me happy, though, because I knew I wasn’t alone.  There are people out there who know I’m in here. People who cared enough to write to me.  Some of the inmates here don’t have anyone at all.  No one they can talk to.  No one who will help them get even the simple things they need like deodorant or soap.  I wouldn’t have anyone if it weren’t for mom.

Megan hardly ever writes and only once in a long, long while do I get a letter from family.  I gave up a long time ago expecting any letters.  Every once in a while I got a letter from my sister.  So I have a surprise for everyone.  I’m taking everyone off my visitors list.  What’s the point?  They won’t even know I took them off. This way I’ll stop looking for them to come and see me.  I won’t have to worry about that anymore.  Why have people on a visiting list if they don’t ever come and see you?  I really don’t mean that.  I’m feeling bad.  I wish my mama would come.  I know she is so busy working two jobs.  I think maybe it’s my fault because I gave her a hard time growing up.  I miss my family.

I did get a letter from Megan.  She um her card with perfume.  When they brought it to me I was sleeping.  I had a towel on the floor by the door and it got slid under it.  I woke up smelling something really, really good but I couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from.  Finally, a guy from the cell across told me they brought mail and slid it under the door.  Wow, it sure did smell good!  It woke me up!

(Sonni’s note: Jamie often went back and forth wanting to take everyone off his visitors list or wanting to stop writing them.  He was hurt.  He felt it was his fault that his family rarely wrote to him.  He thought that somehow he deserved it.  But maybe it was because they didn’t really know how to communicate.  Maybe they didn’t think he would amount to anything so why try.  I don’t know.  I didn’t understand the lack of interest, either.  No one helped him get the basic things a person needs for taking care of hygiene  issues.  My situation didn’t allow me to help as much as he needed, but I tried.  If we care about someone we don’t give up on them, and if you are hurting because you feel you have been forgotten, don’t give up on those people you love.  Become a person and them it’s possible to take a negative situation and use it as the stage to become a person they would want to be around.  Come out of prison a better person than when you went in.I tell how constantly how proud oh him I am because he’s weathered through this ok. He’ll be a stronger person and a good father because of it.

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