In starting this movement of living while blogging I published my first post yesterday. After doing so, I thought about the people that I mentioned and what I said specifically about them. I panicked a little because I hadn’t proofread beyond spell check and grammar! In my panic I went back and read what I had published and thought it was sufficient. However I need to be more careful and watch my delivery. The intent of this whole undertaking is healing for myself and if possible, others who know me either personally or that share in like struggles. I’m not interested in causing anyone harm or embarrassment. I will share my experiences with care to protect those involved while doing so all for the cause of my growth and healing.
I spent the majority of my childhood awkward and shy. I didn’t really learn the art of socializing until recently. It took me forming a friendship with a woman who can talk and make a friends with anyone to acquire the skills. Watching her interact with others and getting feedback from her about myself taught me so much. My favorite lesson on my journey so far is how to make friends. It may sound silly to you but I didn’t know how to make friends. I never knew what to say. I would stand around and watch others interact in amazement. I’d wonder how they could think of things to talk about so easily. I could do one on one with a person if they approached me, but mostly I was a wallflower. It wasn’t until my friend Thea shared with me that I made this face when we were around a bunch of strangers. She said my facial expression would suggest that I was detecting a foul odor and that is why no one would approach me. Lol! I never knew that I was doing that! I made it my mission to have a smile on my face when amongst the living. In doing so, everything began to change for me and I acquired a new skill. I know how to make friends. Now that I am able to make friends I am learning more about myself and others. I’ve learned that as human beings we want to be heard and we want to belong. I spent a lot of time feeling like no one could hear me. Even when someone did hear me, often times they misunderstood me. The art of communication soon became the next skill that I determined to gain. To belong to someone or something I can say that I have always had. I don’t recall a time when I didn’t feel like I belonged to someone. I could always depend on my mother. She was not perfect but I knew that she would do anything for me. My family loves me and that I’ve always known.
In my process of living and growing in this new season of my life I am enjoying getting to know people. All sorts of people. Nowadays in what is called “The information age” it is more possible than ever to make a friend with someone on the completely other side of the planet! Through social media I have met people in Russia, Senegal and many different cities in the U.S.. People from many different walks of life. Some of my most interesting stories are shared with people who are not living in free society.
I remember in the late 90’s I read an article in Ebony magazine. I am not sure about the exact subject of the article but it mentioned a woman who was on death row in Texas. I don’t recall much detail about her or her case. What I do remember is her mailing address was included at the end of the article. I wrote to her and she wrote me back. We corresponded for a while and I got busy with life and stopped writing her. I remember receiving a letter from her in which she let me know that it wasn’t ok to begin a friendship with her and just stop. She expressed her plight with being forgotten because she was incarcerated. It was easy for everyone to forget about her. Out of sight out of mind. For her the though, it was hard to forget. Time was something she had too much of to fill and corresponding with the outside world kept her closer to feeling normal. I will never forget her letter because she was very good at making me understand that although my intentions were good it wasn’t so good to make contact and just walk away. Her plight stuck with me. I didn’t write her anymore but I never forgot her our brief interaction.
People who are in prison are not all the same. People in prison are not subhuman. They are people who for whatever reason found themselves on the wrong side of the law. I don’t believe that you can throw everyone in a certain group into a basket and paint them all with the same brush. Some prisoners (the majority) are indeed deserving of their stay in the correctional system. Some of them shouldn’t ever be returned to society. I don’t believe they should be forgotten. My feelings towards inmates in the correctional system was influenced by my own experience with someone that I love. He was my high school sweetheart and he had gotten into trouble which landed him in prison at 18 years old. I didn’t just decide to write to some random offender out of the blue.
With J is where I started my journey into adulthood. It began with a knuckle head teenage boy intent on conquering the female world. J and I have experienced a lot together though he spent 29 years in prison. We are no longer married but I continue to learn from him. That relationship is A whole story in itself that spans a lifetime of 33 years and counting.
True friendships never die and I look forward to sharing some of our memories. I’ll be returning soon!