Friday, August 29, 2014
I miss the old days, wish for new days, but want better days that resemble the old days. Make sense?
Posted by Philip Smith at 12:15 PM
Thursday, August 28, 2014
As the title implies this post isn't really about me or anyone in particular. It could apply to most anyone of us and should be taken as a food for thought I would think. It shall be my words, but not necessarily “My words”, have I confused you now, but I believe I have confused myself. See in the past year or so I have wrote mostly of my time in prison and of the challenges I faced during and after said time. I have also gave you a glimpse into the few books I have been working on, those would be fiction.
The prison story is a very important one to me and those close to me. It is a way of releasing myself from memories of those 10 years. It is also a way that I may help some of you better understand the workings of the Texas prison system as seen through my eyes, an inmate. My wish is that my simple little words help some of you see things through your loved ones eyes and mind, through my words. I enjoy writing my stories down and in a selfish way it helps me get over whatever I am going through.
I have been out of prison almost exactly 3 years now and feel a lot better and for the most part believe those 10 years are behind me now. It was a struggle at first and I fought those demons constantly 24 hours a day. I look back now and can almost smile at what I went through and survived. I still think of those years, and always will, but I view them now in a different light. It has made me stronger and wiser. It was an education that no school could ever give.
I saw the good and bad in men that I hope none of you have to see. I saw fights over a stamp, and stabbings over the color of a man’s skin. I saw killers laugh and smile, and thieves share a soup. I saw men help their fellow man write or read a letter because one could not write or read. I witnessed the ugliness of violence that Hollywood could not match. Sadly or gladly I am a better person today because of it.
I have joined many prison groups and read the frustration in many of your voices and felt like I was there with you in your battle, but at times I have said things or commented in ways some of you may have thought rude or harsh. I’ll try to explain without making matters worse. Please do not read anything into what I say, that is not there. I am not singling out anyone.
There are times some of the posts I read are very frustrating because I think some of you don’t get the whole story. Prison is a bad place for both inmate and guard, and there are good and bad with both. I lived there for 3650 days and nights and know of what I speak. In those days and nights I saw how ugly my fellow inmates could be, and how ugly the guards could be also. It was truly a 2 way street. For the most part most inmates wanted to do their time, mind their business, and go home.
Most guards wanted to do there 12 hours and go home. There was of course those inmates that just had to have drama in their lives as well as everyone else’s life’s too. It seemed they could not be happy to just do their time without starting something daily. Likewise there were guards who thought it was their job to make the inmates life inside the most miserable they could. Almost like the guard was turned on by causing conflict. When these 2 things happened it usually meant the regular inmates paid that most.
I have read some stories in prison groups and thought “That just doesn’t add up, or make sense”. I know I don’t have all the story or all the details, but in saying that and this may offend some of you, you may not know the whole story either. Take most of what you hear with a big grain of salt. At times we hear what someone wants us to hear, nothing more, and nothing less. There are times I have thought of leaving all the prison groups I am in because I felt I may be doing more harm than good.
I have come close to saying things I would regret later. There are times I want to scream “Wake up!!” , But I feel it is not my place. I have no right to judge any of you. I have not walked in your shoes as you have not walked in mine. All I ask is try to open your mind to all the circumstances that are given or presented to you to form an opinion. It may not be as bad as you think or as bad as someone is telling you. Or it may be worse.
I get angry at times reading what appears to be misinformed people, people who build an opinion on a few “he said, she said”. Some of you may be saying right now, “Who cares what you think” and you’re right. Who am I anyways but an ex-convict? I was involved in a pretty bad auto accident a little over 6 weeks ago in which I broke 9 bones all in my chest area. Since that night I have not wrote as much as I have in the past and I first thought the reason was the accident. For the most part I think it is, but I feel another reason and that reason is the frustration I feel and see on so many of you.
There are many of you I truly feel for and wish I had a magic solution to your problem. There are some of you who do see the light at the end of the tunnel while other’s will not. In saying that, that is one reason I feel stepping back for a while a good thing. I may become too harsh with my reality, with my comments, with my opinion. No one here needs me making their matters worse, and that is not fair to you, or right of me.
I am basing my opinion solely on what I saw with my own eyes in those 10 years. Some can believe or not, that is up to you. I am getting very close to completion of my book on prison life. Some will like it and some won’t. It will deal with subjects I have yet to touch on in my Blog or Facebook. There is a darker side that most of you have not seen or heard or wanted to believe. I have always said to you all after my posts to stay strong and stay your course and those words do ring true again, but now I feel I have a mixed feeling at times and not sure why.
Posted by Philip Smith at 12:33 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Strange Days Indeed
As many of you are aware a little more than a month ago I had a brush with the Grim Reaper, but I guess I wasn't what he wanted at the time. Since that faithful night I have had many restless nights to reflect on my life and life in general. See for the most part you all have been so supportive, people I truly don’t know and have never met. For me that is overwhelming at times. There have been a few that for whatever reason have deemed it necessary to be combative in a way that I find perplexing. I have been told I need anti-depressants because “They” can tell I’m depressed? My god only if these people truly knew me. They plead with me “Philip you need help”
Only if they knew how much a butthead I can be lol. See for the most part I’m a pretty easy going person that gets along with most people I deem real and not plastic. I won’t go out of my way to blast a person, but I won’t run from confrontation either. By no means am I perfect, hell I’m most likely the most imperfect person you know. But to tell me I need anti-depressants is comical. You see I used to have a radio show on Blog Talk, it’s an online radio station or sorts that allows me, the host to talk to you live in a chat room or on air.
I started doing this about 2 years ago mostly as a co-host for other people until I decided to branch out and do my own. At first it was mostly a show centered on the strange and weird, meaning Bigfoot, Loch Ness, Ghosts, and anything to do with the Paranormal/Supernatural. In time I have done shows on Jack the Ripper, the JFK assassination, my time in prison, I have had a few authors, a few people in the Bigfoot world, and a few that have appeared on TV talking of Bigfoot.
Now if you were to listen to some of the old shows that are archived you would see that I can be quite the butthead with guests I think are playing me. I have had many hang up on me are call me rude, and I loved it. I didn't go out of my way to confront the guests or callers it’s just I think I owe it to my listeners to ask or push a guest if need be. I’m telling you all this to show how “depressed” I am haha. In my shows dealing with prison I have made some enemies in the way I think about prison. Most would think, me being an ex-inmate my love and loyalties would lie with the inmates I left behind.
Let me explain what I mean. I met a lot of guys inside who were just caught up in a bad situation and are paying the price now along with their loved ones they left behind. For the most part these are good guys who want to be respectful and just do their time and go home. They write letters, they read books, they enjoy talking to others, and on the outside seem like a regular guy. On the inside is a different story. They cry and bleed, they regret and pray, they hope and love. They think of what is and why. They are fathers and brothers, they are sons and husbands. They miss the outside world and all those they left behind.
You can see it in their eyes, their pain that they try to hide, but can’t. Some do a good job, but to the seasoned eyes it is hard. I spent 10 years inside for a crime I did commit. I seemed to be a minority inside. A good percentage will tell you they are not guilty, they were not the guy, it was the other guy, and I was just along for the ride or signed to a lesser sentence instead of going to court. I wanted to believe some and I thing some were telling the truth, but many others were not. In saying this, this is where I have lost some friends who called me a traitor or cop-out.
I just see it and tell it as I see it. I’m no expert and don’t know all the facts. I have seen many men inside who should stay inside. I have talked too many who show no remorse for what they have done and some who say they would do it again. I know some of you who are reading this will disagree, but these are my thoughts and mine alone. In prison there is a different society, a different way of life. It can be very violent and brutal, but at times just like outside in the freeworld it can be good. Freeworld is a term we inmates used in explaining outside or being free. We would sit at our table and talk about everyday things. Sports, politics, TV, movies, and of course family. Some of us avoided the family talk for whatever reason. Some loved to share photos while others did not. To them it was their private world, a world they kept to themselves and wanted it that way. I chose to keep my life private.
I remember as my time drew closer to being released I felt like an outsider, and some treated me as such. I felt like I was a traitor. I was asked “What will you eat first”, “What will you do first”. Some would just stare at me with faraway eyes, the eyes of a man who will never be in my shoes. I could never show excitement or talk of my soon to be freedom. For me that would be unfair and disrespectful. I knew upon release that a piece of me would forever remain in prison, and I would take a piece of prison home with me.
It will be exactly 3 years in 2 weeks since my release. In some ways things are very different, but in other ways they are the same. There are times I can’t stay in a small room for long and have to crack the door open, while other times I crave a small space. The other day at the doctor’s office I was led into an examining room, the door was shut. The room was I would say at least 12 feet by 12 feet, bigger than my cell, but after a few minutes and some deep breaths I had to get up to open the door.
This isn’t a regular thing it just happens sometimes. I found myself the other day “spreading”. A term we used inside for cooking a meal. I got my Ramen Noodles and cheese, and cut up some meat and chowed down with my invisible brothers again. Strangely at times I miss count time, and the jingle of keys and clanking of metal on metal. The slamming of domino’s and the shouts of channel check. The pushing of the shower button every 30 seconds and the wearing of slides.
The calls for store “3 for commissary” and the smiles of returning inmates with bags as full as Santa Claus’s. The anticipation of mail call, and the skipping of ones heart upon hearing your name. The turning of a page of a damn good book, and the kickoff of the big game. The shout for “In and out” and the hurry to make another shot of coffee. The small talk in an effort to forget this place. Mind games were so important to me, it seemed I had to do it daily to stay sane, to stay normal. To feel alive, to survive. This will sound odd to some of you, but there is a part of me that misses it at times. No I would never go back, but just the place at times, the friendships, the spreading, and the working for free lol. It was my little world within their bigger world. In my mind I was ruler and master of that world.
I am not depressed at all, I am strong and free, and my mind has so many ideas swimming in it that I cannot wait to write again. I have so many projects to work on, to finish. A few fiction ones that I really enjoy writing. To me it’s my escape from me, my life. Although my life isn’t that bad really. I feel fortunate that I have special people in my life, a lot of you reading this now have touched me in a way that I feel lucky to say I know you. I hope in some small way this little piece of writing, this little look into my world will make you smile or laugh. Make you glad at who you are and what you have accomplished. Stay strong and as always stay your course.
Posted by Philip Smith at 11:02 AM