Often people will say that when you leave prison you should try to forget it, walk away, and never look back. Fair enough: Anyone would wish to forget the horrors they had endured while in prison. But that’s simply not possible. People walking out the door of prison into the free world are resilient, remarkable beings who have survived the dehumanizing drama of life behind bars and managed to walk out alive. A testimony to the human spirit. But though they are resilient, they never forget the trauma they’ve endured.
Many times throughout the day on this side of the fence, I have to remind myself that I am capable, worthy, and resilient. The system that drives the forces of incarceration is set up to constantly reinforce the message that you are none of those things.
I have had to establish realistic goals for my freedom under the restrictions that the state still holds over me. Thinking too much about what I can’t do was preventing me from doing the things I could do.