My Time In Prison

Try to write a story about yourself and make it interesting and desirable to read and then try to do that with the most limiting device known to man, language. That sounds super easy, right? I thought so and this is the fifth incarnation of this introduction to me. Guess I’ve never been so great at first impressions. In person I’m okay, but in text form I come out drier than two month old toast and just about as tasty. Of course I haven’t tasted myself lately so I don’t know how true that last statement was. Anyway, this is me introducing myself to you as best I know how; with humor and just the right amount of wierdness.

My name is Ryan Dykes #303122 and I am currently staying at Stafford Creek Corrections Center. The name sounds fancier than the place really is. Don’t get me wrong, we get five star accomidations and the food is the best that could possibly be eaten when compared to a third world country. I don’t have that much right to complain as I put myself into this place by my poor choices. It only took me 5 1/2 years of the 9 1/2 I’ve done to figure that out. I sound like a suuuuuuuper smart guy, huh?

My time in prison has taught me many things that I should have learned while I was on the streets. First, it has taught me the value of my family and how ephemeral it really is. One minute all they are, are a hinderance to me and what I wanted to do. The next, they’re either my only actual connection to the free world or they start dying on me. Leaving behind a very large hole that can never be fully repaired.

The second thing that being in prison has taught me is that I am a soft person. I am very proud of that fact. It means that I still have a human being inside of me. There are a lot of people who come to prison and lose themselves to the walls that separate them from all of you and the “politics” of prison culture. Please believe me when I tell you that this is a double-edged sword. Some of the people I mentioned will never be able to function in society because they’ve spent so much time being dehumanized and villafied by the public and those hired by the public to protect the public from the villians that have been created. Of course it is still up to the individual inmate to fall into the patterns that remove their own humanity, but it doesn’t help that prisons are designed to wherehouse defective models of the human species.

The third and probabaly most useful thing that prison has given me is patience. After all, being in prison is like being traped in a small cabin with that uncle that gets drunk at Christmas and tries to fight everyone for no apparent reason. This place has an ever present threat of danger, but the danger is from being in constant close proximity to over 1500 other people who are growing as tired of you as you are of them. So, having to deal with people in that fasion has made me a lot more resiliant to the aggrivation that can be caused by other people. I hope that this lesson is the one that follows me the longest after my release because I will need lots of patience when dealing with those who know nothing about those who have been to prison for a long time.

That, I think is my reason for wanting to write to this blog. I wish to make as many people as possible aware to the change that comes after getting released. For example, the only touch screen I’ve ever owned is this device that I’m typing on right now. I know, wierd, right? I fell in 2006 and there were touch screens, but not like there are everywhere today.

I realize that I can be long winded and that most of you are not used to reading an essay for a blog entry. I am just trying to tell all of you that will listen as much of me as I can. It takes me a while to type these things out on this keypad. So if you’re wanting more from me you’ll just have to wait. Plus I need to buy more stamps to pay for my epic poem type entries.

Salutations from me at SCCC. Hope you all keep well.

Ryan Dykes
DOC #303122

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