Hello world. Have you ever been somewhere and felt so out of place that the only logical explanation you could come up with was that you MUST be dreaming? This past August made 9 years I’ve been incarcerated and I’ve felt that way every single day I’ve awakened in here. It feels like the twilight zone. I’m physically removed from everything and everyone I know and love and put in a place where they treat you like an animal, but expect you not to act like one. Living (I use that term loosely), surrounded by people who seem to be in a perpetual state of vertigo. That includes prisoners, C.O.s and administration. Navigating a place where every attribute I embody as a man and a person is subsumed by the forced label of prisoner. I am stereotyped, numbered and labeled state property. I am offered horrible food, some of which is known to cause colon cancer. Privacy is completely nil. The only jobs available to me are ones that pay pennies on the dollar. 95% of the people who claim to be my friends and/or family that “love” me have inexplicably vanished. The totality of my situation takes the most natural thing in the world for a man and turns it into one of the most difficult; having a sustainable romantic relationship with a woman. Can you imagine forgetting what it feels like to touch a woman or have one touch you and at the same time have women around you all the time? I don’t have to imagine. That’s not even the beginning of the list. In many aspects, the confluence of these things equals hell, and I haven’t even touched on the numerous indelible mental detriments. I’m not saying these things to garner any pity or sympathy. I’m saying them because I want to paint a picture for two people. Before I was caged and I was doing what I was doing, being imprisoned never crossed my mind. Therefore, incarceration was never taken into consideration before or while I was doing what I was doing. So, the first person I’m speaking to is the person like I was. The details of what you’re doing don’t matter much. If you’re doing something that can potentially have you living where I am, then you’re like I was. I’m sure that whatever you do, you do it with the intention of getting away with it, however, what I’ve described above is what’s possible when you DON’T get away. You have to be stripped searched every time you get transferred or go to a visit. You’ll be told to lift up your genitals so they can see between your legs and squat and cough to make sure you aren’t hiding anything in your rectum. Your visitor is subject to a strip search also if the officer deems it necessary and if they refuse, they are barred from visiting indefinitely. In the higher levels, most C.O.s are racisit and call you boy and nigger. Not to mention, they’d beat you up while you’re cuffed and hide you in the hole until your injuries heal. It’s not as extreme in the lower levels, but prison is prison no matter the degree of humiliation and disrespect. You’ll have zero control over your life. I’m not trying to scare or intimidate anyone. I just want you to have a second thought about what you’re doing. Is there a different way? If you’re one of the ones who make a lot of money, why not start or invest in a business? Why not do things in a way that makes your money work for you without having to look over your shoulder? Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate. Passive income. School educates you academically, but most fail in life because they aren’t educated financially. They don’t know what to do with their money when they get it. School trains you to be a good employee, not a good employer. Change your mindset. If you’re one of the people who aren’t making a decent amount of money, why are you even doing what you’re doing? YOU definitely need to be having second thoughts about what you’re doing. The second person I’m speaking to is the person with an incarcerated loved one. Reread what I wrote and understand my reiteration that that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Some people think that we have nothing to worry about because we’re in prison. I assure you it’s the exact opposite in a legion of ways. I understand that you have your own lives out there and I also understand that us being in here is no one’s fault but our own. At the same time, if someone you love is in here, I urge you to not just say you love them and miss them. Show them. I guarantee you, no matter what they say, they need you to. Don’t use the happenings in your life as an excuse why you do nothing. When you truly want to do something, you find a way to do it. Right? If you want to go to the club, what do you do? Find money, make time, find a ride, find a babysitter, find friends to go with, find or buy something to wear. The same goes for whatever your desire may be at the time. You do everything needed to facilitate what you want, despite anything else going on in your life. So, if you really wanted to be there for your incarcerated love one (in whatever capacity you could), you would. You can visit physically or schedule video visits if you can’t make the drive. You could send money or email. You could send pictures or keep in touch via the phone. Send them books you think would help them better themselves. Though it’s the least popular option, you could also write real letters because they are more personal than an email. The question is if you actually want to be there for them or do you want to make excuses for why you can’t? I’m not throwing jabs at anybody for what you do or don’t do, so please don’t take it that way. I’m only saying what I see as the truth. Shown love is proven love. Everybody knows that. I honestly hope I’ve moved you to do something and I hope I’ve moved those involved in illegal activity to think. I challenge you both to have second thoughts. Peace.
Categories: Rodney Fenner