When I first went to prison twenty years ago, I met an old Attica riot veteran who gave me the hardest lesson I ever learned during my entire six years of incarceration. I was quickly developing a reputation as being very smart but had a quick and violent temper and a nasty attitude. My way of thinking was all logical to me as I was in place that was hell on earth. Yes, prison is truly hell on earth! Because it is a place filled with sinners of every known type; murders, robbers, rapists, liars and instigators, con men, child molesters, cheaters, thieves, gamblers, drunks and drug addicts, extortionists, homosexuals, and wife beaters. Aren’t these the same people that will congregate in hell according to our religious beliefs?
The psychology and social make up of this hell permeated with a hierarchy of predators and preys, and I refused to be a prey to any of Satan’s misguided children. I chose the attitude of a top predator if I plan on getting out of hell in one piece, but it cost me in ways I never thought possible.
I had just finished nearly two years of segregation and was transferred to Auburn Correctional Facility where I met Majestic. He was an old timer that was involved in the Attica prison riots in back in 1971. These riots changed the inhumane treatment and living conditions for prison inmates not only in New York prisons, but for prisoners across the United States. He had read a paper I wrote on the Alexandria Library and we started speaking, he had earned two undergraduate degrees during his incarceration. One day he told me that I was the smartest person he had ever met and he wished he had half the knowledge I had when he was my age. I was a bit flattered until he told me that I just didn’t belong in there and he didn’t care what my offense was I just didn’t belong in prison. However, it was my FU attitude and FU temper that was going to keep me in there, and no matter how bad I thought I had it, there was always someone who had it worse. Those words rattled me big time and I wanted to rage out on him and make him take them words back. But, after so much time by myself in segregation, and doing a lot of self-assessment, I knew he was right. I was getting upset because his words were the truth of my situation and they were convicting to my soul.
Fact is, no one wants to hear the truth about themselves. We refuse to take responsibility for our lives and actions, and rather live with the excuses we use to pacify ourselves and justify our bad behavior and circumstances. I know I couldn’t afford to live like that any more so I had to develop a plan for my life and change my paradigm. Because the one thing I had to come to terms with was that a man without a plan for his life is no different than an animal, living day to day, just getting by, and surviving by instinct. I AM not an animal! I AM a man! Fashioned in the image of God, and given the freedom of choice and dominion over everything on this earth.
Three years later when I walked out of that prison, I was known as Professor, no longer the crazy Jamaican with glasses. I haven’t looked back since!
When are you going to change your negative attitude and way of thinking and take control of your life? I would love to help you, but you have to want it more than I want to help you.
Take care and God Bless!