After the drama and arrest and trial, my life has settled into an unbearably mundane level. My arrest was a complete fluke. Our passion for sex on balconies erupted into a media conspiracy. My boyfriend was released on his on recognizance shortly after the incident at the Women’s Club.
Ah, politics! I especially balk at the term “indecent exposure” being used in my case, and “repeat offender” offers the same tainted vision of this state’s moral myopic misogyny. My lawyer said, “It’s a nasty twist in the new crack-down on sex offenders”. The blue-haired, be-necklaced ladies of that Loring Park establishment weren’t the only victims.
It’s my second time in the slam for indecent exposure. The culture of troublemakers, a twisted group support system, cracking my new strongarm and buying ketchup, Zu-Zu’s and Wham-wham’s again are precious and quaint for a little while. A short bit indeed.
Deprived. The top three problems of incarceration are caused by deprivation. Being institutionalized separates me from:
I dream of swimming and flying often.
–Family and loved ones.
I miss my boy, my dancing partners, roomies, colleagues and lovers. I’m so out of touch that I worry That some emergency will not be reported to me until it reaches a horribly late point of no-return.
–My favorite special activity.
Pleasure. I’m sexually frustrated, it’s a difficult thing for me to abandon. At a specified hour I lie on my bunk and concentrate on him. If I know that he is doing the same simultaneously, I can imagine I feel him inside me and transcend to oneness again. Thank god there’s a bowling alley here. Substitute kegeling.
I feel sorry for myself, angry at the system. The next moment I’m overwhelmed with apathy, boredom, hopelessness. I’m increasingly insecure about my safety and development. Most of the dangerous power trips of alcoholism, drugs and guns are precluded. But incidents of shanking are common enough to scare me.
After just a few weeks I began to take many of the restrictions for granted and settled into the ROUTINE. The rhythm of life is locked into institutional routines, narrowing my attention to the present moment. The count is steadily chipping away at my peace of mine. I avoid thoughts of the future, except as a source of fantasies; and thoughts of the past are limited to some of its happier moments. Many of the rules have changed since I was here last time. I feel like such a fool sometimes, not knowing where I stand. Stripped of my usual mates, I try to cultivate new ones here, but they are twisted souls for the most part. The good ones are suddenly transferred and moved, it’s out of my control.
How can I avoid the entanglements, obligations and conflicts, adopting a solitary lifestyle, after being such a social animal on the outside? The old inmates are socially self-contained, hardened for psychological survival, they manage to cope, but the cost is considerable.
I rebel with a sinking sensation in my stomach when I’m told what to do, so staying out of trouble is a constant struggle with these motherfuckers. The screws are mean and uncaring, my grievances are genuine, but ignored by my Team. The self-improvement programs are ineffective given the negative environment, negative emotions, negative vibrations trapped and swirling inside this drainpipe. Chronic problems remain chronic. If anything, there is a decrease in pressure to change, a reinforcements of bad habits and attitudes. The peer pressure resembles that of a suburban junior high.
If anything, coping and adaptation is more difficult the second time. Jumpstreet. Is jail my alternative lifestyle? I hate conforming with these lowlifes. Most importantly, confidentially I believe that I am going mad. My altered state come without the use of drugs. My imagination is running wild, it’s the only thing that can. Paradoxically, one does not thing of prison as a place where problems can be escaped. I wake up in a good mood in the morning and imagine that I am in a cheap hotel while on a foreign holiday. But when I see the missing toilet seat and realize it’s not a bidet, I come down for the rest of the day.
Remember driving through a twisting winding road at high speed and how fast your synapses popped and made your muscles react so you didn’t even have to think of how to drive? There is a cosmic number- 30,000. Your mechanical being is that much faster than your mind. But furthermore your emotions are 30,000 times faster than that fast driving thing. The shiver up your spine is a clue. The emotions drive our imaginations like rocket fuel and it can be truly ugly when it careens out of control.
Most of the inmates are using reactive solutions to cope with problems. Or with a teensy bit of forethought, they can anticipate trouble using avoidance techniques. Or in the put-a-patch-on-it worldview, palliative schemes, like excuses or apologies that offer no cure to the real problem. These are low-level coping, common inside and out.
Inner dialogue is only a start toward self-knowledge. Re-evaluation of myself has filled the endless winters. I am gaining the skill to control my thoughts. It’s having just a small beneficial effect on my emotional life. But the mind can play tricks on you.
A new scheme involves persistent, though largely ineffectual runs at consciousness. Still I have been sleepwalking for 99% of my waking hours. It takes considerable energy to phase in. Daydreaming and self-analysis does nothing to help my future. It’s time to wake up, wake up, wake up. Say it over and over, pay attention to Square business.
So, I go downstairs and bowl until I’m so tired my mind turns off. That is when I feel closest to the something that is glorious and infinite.