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Friday, May 30, 2014

Just an Ordinary Man

First I would like to thank you all for the kind words regarding my posts on prison and everyday life. By no means am I someone to look up to or thought of in any high regard. I made a terrible mistake that cost me 10 years of my life, but more importantly 10 years of my loved ones lives. I was guilty of my crime and took my punishment as best I could with what I had. I made it through those 10 years because of people on the outside keeping me alive. In saying that I cannot stress enough how important you all are to those I left behind inside.
Look yourself in the mirror today and know that you are what drives them to survive, to breathe, to stay on course and believe. In my writing to you all I seek no “thank you” or “wow that hit home, “ sure those comments truly make my day, but it is you all just spending a few minutes with me that makes me think I have and will survive. It’s knowing I made someone think, laugh, smile, or even cry that is worth any accolades you give me. My intentions are to never make you sad, but sadly they will and it’s because of the love you have for those living behind bars.
It makes you alive in those feelings and that is a good thing. This war is not over, sure you may have lost a few battles along the way, but the goal may be in sight for some and for others that goal, sadly is so distant that eternal hope is all you have left. I’m just an ordinary man who has lived through extra ordinary circumstances by my own doing and no one else’s. I wish I could say I am a hero to some, or even one but I cannot. To me the true heroes are reading this right now with an emptiness in there heart. A hungry that never goes away no matter what you try to feed it.
In prison I felt so lonely, yet was surrounded by thousands, I felt so frustrated by the feeling of helplessness about what was happening in the Free World. I would feel like I was about to explode, and there was no one to really turn to but myself. Mind games helped as did reading, but untimely it was the mind that conquered my demons and ghosts. Those ghosts still visit me even to this day, but they don’t seem as bad and never stay long. I guess I bore them now.
On the outside we on the inside appeared to be tough and ready. We would mask our fears, for showing weakness was like dangling raw meat in front of a lion. In the 10 years inside I never really opened up to anyone about my thoughts and feelings except my trusted note pads. They were my salvation through good and bad. As I speak they are all only a few feet away. Hyperventilation was a daily occurrence for most, Anxiety attacks were as common as slamming dominoes.               
Those inside need to know what is going on outside, but in saying that something’s maybe be better left unsaid for the moment. I remember my very young son writing he missed not having a dad and that torn me up as it still does today. It wasn't his fault of course it was just the words of a 12 year old that brought a 47 year old to his knees. My heart was dying a slow death and there was nothing I could do about it. That my friends is the frustration of which I speak. It bottles up inside and turns into hate and anger. Some choose the easy way, and lash out, while others keep it inside and go on.
I remember all those days like it was yesterday. The seating in the day-room drinking coffee watching the Price is Right, to be followed by The Young and Restless. On the sports TV, ESPN would be going over last night’s games and what athlete assaulted who. Letters would be written and books would be read. We waiting on next hours in and out and the call for lay-ins. If it was store day the tension in the day room was thick. Deals were made and some closed out. Gambling tickets were looked at with great anticipation of winning a few soups and bags of coffee. Life on the inside in some ways is no different then what we are all doing now except for these damn walls. Metal on metal, chain link fence for as far as the eye can see. Slaps of concrete over once areas filled with grass and trees. I often wonder what these places looked like 30, 50, 100 years ago in this exact same spot. Freedom would have been here, I can smell it at times. I used to step on any grass if there was any just to feel it again. I wanted to take my shoes and socks off and risk a case to feel grass under bare foot.
I remember how pale I was when I got out, I remember how hard my body was even at my old age. I remember growing a goatee and my hair long just to say “there I can do this now.” I remember my first drive again and being scared of hitting something. The bright lights and colors, the crowds that smothered me, I was hyperventilating at Wal-Mart in the express lane. The feel of cash and any type of food my heart desired. Why was everyone talking so damn loud and why was this person standing so close to me. The smells came back, smells that I had forgotten. Cigarette smoke choked me and I wasn't even the one smoking. Perfume made me dizzy and the sunshine hurt my eyes.
Why is there so many choices? Where are all the people in white? Why is he driving so damn fast? How come there are no yellow lines on the ground? You mean I can walk where ever I want now, and stop and go the other direction? Shelf’s lined with food I thought only existed on another planet. Why are you making this harder to adjust? It has been almost 3 years since my freedom and it is still a struggle at times. When someone says something I consider disrespectful, but isn't really that bad my old prison mentality comes out and I have to “check” myself.
I have made a long journey back to a somewhat normal life and your loved one will to with your help. Stay strong for them now and more importantly stay strong for yourself. Try not to think too much about things you cannot change. Only change what is possible right now. Listen to your songs and watch your movies, play with your children and go to whatever places makes you happy. Remember the past and think of the future. I’m just an ordinary man placed in a unique situation where maybe I can help or reach one of you through these simple words. For those of you wanted to read some of my older posts this is the link to my Blog…thanks

http://philiplzsmithsveryrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/

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