Friday, January 29, 2016

1-28-2016

What About Performing Arts?

I have posted before about bringing in performing arts into the prison system. I still am strongly attracted to that idea. I know of many men here who would be active in a play community. There are so many talents here that could be refined through performing arts somehow. There are artists, musicians, actors etc etc etc. Plus, what a confidence booster to be able to do something positive and gain positive attention for it. 
I often think about what a play, a well put together play, by inmates for inmates would do to the moral around here. I know that if you do a book reading of any sort and then show the movie it's like Christmas morning for a 10 year old. We are giddy with excitement. It's actually kind of strange. Then when we get movies that play on tv, the dayroom all but clears out. We come out on commercials and exchange our thoughts and cry with each other when beloved characters die or there is some injustice.
But what about using that same energy we put into entertaining ourselves and using is as a tool to get us to think differently. For a long time performing arts has been used by societies all around the globe to captivate the audience. To get them to think about what they are seeing, to tell a story that they normally wouldn't listen to, to engage in something that they normally wouldn't engage in. I know that when I see something beautiful I stop...dead in my tracks I stop. 
Heck, I get confused when I get a visit and see a colored shirt. Stay in a place with only brown, white and grey as the color scheme and then have someone walk in with a brightly colored shirt! It's not offensive, but it sure make you stop, whether you mean to or not. Becuase at that point it's foreign, something strange, or not often seen by us. SO if you introduced a staged performance by another inmate it would immediately keep our interest, especially if many aspects wer introduced. Like music, and dancing and watching our peers fully commit to a role or a dance routine. Wouldn't that give us a stage to be able to send clear messages about positive change. It sure sounds good.
All that sounds so basic to understand, but here, it's like speaking a foreign language that no one understands. I can't even get them to allow me to mentor other men. I ain't no saint, don't get it twisted, I don't have everything figured out, but I know how to stay out of fights. I know what it takes to stay drug free, I know what it means to have to deny yourself sex when there is many, many gorgeous willing suitors around you all the time. I know what that takes becuase I do it, and I do it with some happiness and drive. But it's hard to pass that knowledge and thought process on to someone while we are walking the yard, or going to the chow hall. It's only a few minutes at best and when we do have more time we are getting teased because there is more then one of us together and that means to most guys around here that we are doing something sexual. When in fact, usually it is not. We generally talk about what we are going through, but we can't get to involved in our emotions out there because its not an appropriate place to shed those.
One day though, DOC is supposed to be providing me an answer to my proposed group soon. Perhaps the wait is a good thing, it means they are taking me seriously...and that's a start. It also means that if I only ever reach a handful of guys and together we help each other become positive people, why wouldn't that be a great thing?

Here's hoping! On a side note, I have recently gone over all the symbols for LGBTQQAIP and I found that I am someone who is considered Gender Queer because I believe in androgyny.

FYI

With Love

Jeff Utnage
1-27-2016

Staying Level:

It has always been a challenge for me to stay calm in situations that require you to manage your stress. Recently I have been fairly good at rolling with the tide. I am actually kind of proud of myself because when it seems that I am under some kind of spiritual attack I am reacting pretty calmly. For that I am seeing growth and this makes me proud. 
So many times I have looked at people who manage themselves accordingly and wanted that particular skill set. It's been something that I envied. Until lately it seems as though I would never be that person. I have done some reflecting to kind of see what the change has been.
It seems that God knows what He's doing up there after all. I heard this story about precious gems once. It says that the gem guy, whatever he's called, has the fire some rubies and other stones to make them as pretty as they are. Not only does he have to fire them for a specific length of time, has also has to be careful to fire them at the correct temperature. If he fires them too long they will break and crumble, if not long enough they will not reach there potential beauty. There is this very sensitive balance that requires precision that is costly if not done properly.
I like that analogy because we are God's precious gems, and God is the one who perfects us. He knows just how much fire and pressure we need to reach our maximum beauty. Why, because He created us. He knows that precious gems come from other materials, some seemingly useless. They are caused by pressure and heat and when they bind together they create something unique and wonderful.
That's us. When we go through trials that challenge us and tax us emotionally and spiritually we are to thank God. Why, because that is preparation for the next adventure. We have such a tendency as people to never see the beauty in our every day lives. Our jobs, our kids, our families, our accomplishments. It seems as though some of us are so caught up in how hot the fire is we never stop to see that we are ok. We are making it, and there is things to love during our refinement. Hard to believe, but it's true.
I went through a particularly challenging time a few years ago. I felt as though the whole world was crashing down and I was screaming inside. It felt like no one was listening and there was no end in sight, no solution to my woes. That's when that story came to me. I was in the fire screaming and God was the Refiner sitting outside consoling me. It was like He was saying "I hear your cries child and I know that you are scared. But fear not because I am Your Refiner and you are my gem, I will not allow you to break." But still I cried and cried and screamed and screamed from within that fire and He stayed steadfast and patient. Calmly and tactfully He assured me. It wasn't until that woe had come to an end that I finally seen the beauty in what he was saying. Now that particular event is easy to deal with. Specifically that one was people hating me, rather vocally. Now when people shout obscenities, I can take it in stride, knowing that my Father is with me.
Take comfort in our trials friends. They create beauty. 

With Love,

Jeff Utnage 823469
Diversification: Finally being done voluntarily!

I work in prison, as in, I get .42 cents/hr to cook for two thousand people. Well, me and six other guys on my shift. We all enjoy what we do and usually you only get to be a cook if you show some level of responsibility and care. Meaning that you take the job seriously. Most guys have the attitude of "I ain't gon' work for dis money, I gon' make dis money work for me" then they proceed to duck and dodge their bosses so that they only have to kick it for the day. Then when they successfully go a full day without working, it's a congratulations from their partners for a job well done. Getting over on the man.
Meanwhile, they don't understand that the other inmates that are working are picking up their end silently. Because snitching isn't going to happen. So, when you become a cook it's because the other cooks have seen you actually work. Consistently.
However, over time this position has been somewhat closed off. Many guys felt that it was only for particular races. Specificially, whites and mexicans. So when the boss came to me recently and said that an african american was hired, I was a little surprised. Not because I was racially biased, but that was certainly the rumor. I was actually kind of glad that equality was being forced. I like the idea of equality, mainly because now I have been on the receiving end of bigotry. I hate racism and inequality. It sucks when you are judged for something that you have no control over and having experienced that I am not a fan of that.
There are many guys here that want to keep things in the old school mentality. Meaning, segregation is the way to go. So when something like this happens in a place where segregation is the norm, I am delighted. Mainly because...screw them. They don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to bigotry. It's always the same excuses to hate. Oh something happened when I was a little kid, or this or that, or some other traumatic thing that is being held onto for a crutch.
Now, I know that there are many people who have a legitimate experience that was negative with a particular group of people. However, that was probably with one, or two people at most. Two people hardly represent an entire culture. That is precisely my point though, it sucks that something happened to make you feel that way. However, sweetie...it's time to get over it. Get some help and see the people around you for the people that they really are. Most people are generally good people. Besides, have you had time to look in the mirror lately? I can guarantee that as much respect as you give those around you, there are many things that you do that are completely out of line.
Bigotry is dying people. I don't care if its against a race, or someone's sexuality or because they have red or blond hair...it don't matter. Hatred is hatred and only gives birth to anger and torrent. Nothing good came of hatred. Give it up. So I am so happy that we are diversifying and its about time. Equality One, hatred Zip. Good for you kitchen...good for you.

With Love

Jeff Utnage 823469
h3-b-120-u
stafford creek correction center
191 constantine way
aberdeen, wa 98520

or jpay.com enter my doc number 823469, add yourself to my contact list and I will email as soon as I see a new name! Love Ya!
1-26-2016

LGBTQ Peer Support Group: Update!

I received word yesterday that the Superintendent is going to make a decision soon on letting a LGBTQ Peer Support group happen. At this point there is no reason why it shouldn't happen.

I submitted this proposal last year, June, and it has been a long road since then. Lots of ups and downs.

I am nervous that it won't get approved. So my nerves are on edge. However, I have to trust that God is at work and that the wheels of justice need to work properly.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

I am anxiously waiting to see if I need to regroup and try again or prepare for our first meeting!!! Exciting and anxiety ridden times...

With Love

Jeff Utnage 823469
H3-B-120-U
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520

-or-

jpay.com sign up and add my name and DOC # to your contact list Jeff Utnage 823469. I think that you just need my DOC number, but I am not sure. As soon as you successfully add me your name will show up on my contact list and I will send you an email. Will respond to all...
1-25-16

Letting Go

Recently I was forced into a move by my unit staff. Fortunately, it worked out fine. But that wasn't because of them. If you looked a my cellmates history and looked at mine, you would never put us together if you were looking to keep us safe. I am openly gay and he is an old school white boy. So my unit CUS decided that we would be cellies. Not much I can do.
This is how I know that I was being set up for failure. Even a unit staff member pulled me aside and said I should go talk to the Sgt. because he heard the guy talking and knows that he is freaking out. Then with a simple word of advice he said be careful. Talk about making me feel all warm and fuzzy huh? I though they were supposed to keep me safe. But I guess their idea of making sure that I am not victimized is reading my mail and outgoing emails and alerting my CUS whenever a keyword comes up. They have no problem pulling me into the office two weeks after an email talks of something they don't approve of, but when there is a potential problem tonight, they want me to do something crazy, like not cell in or worse. Both of which tarnish my ability to release under the parole board. SO my only choice is to play nice and in this case everything turned out ok, but that wasn't because staff was doing their job.
Yeah, it seems as though their idea of correcting our behavior is making sure that our beds are made and we don't get hot shot water before 7:00 a.m., God forbid we start our mornings early, way to protect the safety and security of the institution fella's! Good Work, but where were you when I needed you. Then staff gets on my case about making sure that I am going to report incidences that may put me in danger. Thank God I haven't had any yet, but even if I did, I can't report them to my unit staff, their the ones who have tried repeatedly to put me in danger, with no luck I might ad.
I just don't get what their problem is, I haven't had a write up, I have had no fights here, I have done no drugs, I have never failed a U.A. and I am not getting tattoos done. Even though I am in a place where everyone looks chiseled in and sexy I still don't have sex or anything else along those lines. So what's the problem? Why try and set me up for failure. A few months ago they got all nervous thinking I was being pressured into sex, they misinterpreted one of my emails to a friend, and during that they asked me where I felt safest. So I told them right where I was because I had a support system. So they my current unit Sgt, agreed that I was safest there and not on the other side.
Low and behold as soon as she is gone, I am moved to a side that she claimed to have lots of "politics" which could put me in a lot of danger. However, I am not in any danger, not with my current living situation or anywhere else. Everyone is being so friendly and caring, when I mean everyone, I mean the inmates, staff is another story. Obviously.

But I am letting that go. It's all I can do. Its not the looming threat of prison violence that keeps me up at night, its what is staff going to try next. These people are supposed to be helping me, protecting us and the general public by keeping us in here and in doing so getting us "fixed" for public behavior. Good job fella's, doing a mighty fine job of making sure the one fag you have to deal with is scared of you. Not made to feel comfortable by staff at all, only welcomed by the inmates.

Go figure.

All is well, no need for the mailroom to freak out. I am safe and secure.

With Love,

Jeff Utnage 823469

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1-26-2016

LGBTQ Peer Support Group: Update!

I received word yesterday that the Superintendent is going to make a decision soon on letting a LGBTQ Peer Support group happen. At this point there is no reason why it shouldn't happen. 

I submitted this proposal last year, June, and it has been a long road since then. Lots of ups and downs.

I am nervous that it won't get approved. So my nerves are on edge. However, I have to trust that God is at work and that the wheels of justice need to work properly. 

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

I am anxiously waiting to see if I need to regroup and try again or prepare for our first meeting!!! Exciting and anxiety ridden times...

With Love

Jeff Utnage 823469
H3-B-120-U
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520

-or-

jpay.com sign up and add my name and DOC # to your contact list Jeff Utnage 823469. I think that you just need my DOC number, but I am not sure. As soon as you successfully add me your name will show up on my contact list and I will send you an email. Will respond to all...
1-24-16

Hard Truth: Let's Be Honest and Frank

It's hard to talk about certain things. Especially sexuality. I was reading a book earlier this morning and the author was explaining the thought process of one of his characters and it reminded me of myself when I was still denying I was gay. I haven't talked about what went on in my head and this author inspired me to be honest...brutally honest.
I remember thinking about a women having the parts of a man. So that when intercourse happened, I was then "bottoming". I thought that if it was a women bonking me that it would still make me straight, after all, it was a women for all intents and purposes. So when I fantasized it was about a women, with a penis. Somehow that made me sleep better at night and I could still call myself straight.
I was also married at one point too. I could almost never finish with vaginal intercourse. In fact, it was nearly impossible and required immense amounts of concentration. I used to be embarrassed about that. I just simply refused to think about what that meant really. I just went on to keep convincing myself that every other way of sex with a woman was ok, so long as I didn't think about men. I refused to admit to even myself internally that I could be gay. That was simply impossible, it wasn't possible for me to be gay. My family had thoroughly told me so, ingrained in my head from tv, songs, childhood religious memories etc. Whatever I could tell myself to remain in this little hole of what I thought was my dignity. I thought that admitting I was gay, or even the possibility would just be the lowest form of humility possible. What a horrible existence.
The lengths I went through to hide my sexuality was awful. I would look up gay porn and then at the end of my "endeavor" I would look up something straight, my way of justification. I would even entertain "taboo" fantasies to compensate, distract. Even though I wasn't really interested in them. It was better to look up something taboo then something gay in my mind. I would try and convince my wife to buy toys and let me pick them out, not because she wanted them, but because I did. But I couldn't tell her that, that would make me gay. So I would buy them after convincing her and me they were for her. Then we would rarely use them because I didn't want them to be used on her, they were for me. After all, if she was weilding that thing, it didn't make me gay, just a freak. Being a freak was better then gay, in my mind.
When I finally admitted to myself that I was indeed gay, it was liberating. No more shame, no more guilt or hiding. I could be me.
The strangest thing happened, porn wasn't even a second thought anymore. Didn't even think about it, those "taboo' things I used to disguise my true nature, never even a second thought. Now when I think of sex, I think of me and another man, that's it. In all our glorious ways to do so, I am no longer ashamed of it. I have had to reconcile that with God, our Creator, and I am thoroughly satisfied with my walk with Him and His love for me. 

It's so freeing to be able to just be candid and unashamedly so. Thank you to anyone who reads this...

With Love, a very proudly and unashamed gay man.

Jeff Utnage 823469
h3-8-120-u
stafford creek correction center
191 constantine way
aberdeen, wa 98520
Friday January 22nd, 2016

Certainty Is Limited:

Not much in here is guaranteed. We are to get three hots and a cot and that's about it. This place has a funny way of preparing you for uncertainty. You just never know exactly what's about to happen. You have to do what your told to maintain a meek existence and some form of happiness. So when your told to pack your things your moving, guess what? Your moving. Last night I was told that and like a good boy I moved. It didn't matter if I was going to have problems, if my new cellmate was uncomfortable with me, or worse...
Nothing was going to change. All I could do was deal with it, that's a newly acquired skill. Before if I didn't like something I could do something about it, rather, I would do something about it. Lately, it just seems better to roll with the punches then fight the fight. I am okay with that, I actually some comfort away from knowing that's it is all going to be alright. That's my prerogative.
Last night when I found out I was moving I was very concerned. But, knowing my situation this was a sink or swim kinda night. I did the only thing I knew how, I prayed. I asked God "what are You doing, what's up?" and "I sure hope You know what Your doing". I can only assume it's Him at work since I didn't ask for or want this. Funny thing about talking to our Creator is, He answers. He says to me "ask of Me a sign and I will send it" I could have asked for anything, I said the first thing that came to mind, "tell me it's going to be alright, let me hear those words." I ended my prayer and turned on my t.v. and began flipping through channels going right past a t.v. preacher, which I am NOT a fan of. But my heart said to go back, so I did, and within two sentences the man on t.v. said "don't worry about your adversaries, it's going to be alright". 
I know it's easy to just chalk it up to chance. I don't care, I needed to hear that, out loud. So I did and you know what? Everything was alright. All night while all the hustle and bustle was going on I kept my cool by telling myself, it's going to be alright. If God says "it's going to be alright" then it's going to be allright, and so it was.

The only certainty I know of anymore is that as a man who follows God (albeit, I still have my issues, like cussing, or small faith) I am only guaranteed a ticket to heaven through Jesus. The only other thing I know for sure is, trust in the Almighty, and He will never leave your spirit in disrepair.

Take care, with love

Jeff Utnage 823469
H3-B-120-U
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520

Or, jpay.com sign up, add my name above and I will contact you.
1-24-2016

God's Love vs My Pride

I could list several situations where my pride came into play and things didn't end up well. In fact, i'd say that most times my pride comes into the equation it doesn't end exactly great. God is always in my heart and the Holy Spirit guides my conscious into morality. It's up to me to either listen to that prompting or not.
Here is the thing though, I have a genuine love for my God. I have dove in head first and there is no back peddling. In fact, on my back I have a tattoo that says "Slave To Christ" in Greek. I have it stretched across my back loud and proud to announce to the world that I am a willing bondservent of Jesus the Christ. So in my mind, I am at His will. So when God says to do something that is so plain as day, I can't really refuse and choose not to listen, that isn't a very good bondservant. 
I have a fear of what happens next, in the next phase of our lives, if that is eternity and I can't comprehend eternity...or forever, I think that I should treat it with a little more reverence. That is a scary thing to not know what the next step is. Some may say that it's no big deal, but I disagree. I think that it's a very big deal. What if you think that after you die that nothing happens and you get there and guess what, your nonchalant attitude about eternity backfires and you are stuck in a horrible place for...eternity. Me on the other hand, if I spend the rest of my life living a lifestyle that is following the doctrines of Christ and I die and nothing happens, then I have not wasted my life. At the very least I was kind to people, I loved the people around me and I was a very giving person. Admittedly, my first 28 years I was not a very good person, however I am not going to spend the rest of my time here in this bag of flash being a horrible person. I will spend the rest of my time here trying to convince people that life is worth more that our pride.
This is not one of those situations where there is voices in a man's head that he heeds blindly. No, no voices, but there is a certain feeling that I get. You get it too, when you know you are about to do something wrong, your conscious convicts you, you just know that you shouldn't do that. Your "moral compass" comes into play. You may call it whatever, I call it Holy Spirit. That which guides me. 
So last night when God put someone on my heart to make amends with as I was returning from the bathroom, it was odd that he wuold suddenly come to mind. Especially in a positive light, when I really disdained the man 30 seconds ago. Now it's on my heart to go and shake his hand and let him know that I am no longer allowed to dislike him. So imagine my surprise when he emerges from his house directly in front of me as soon as the thought completes...
So I did what any moral person would do, I listened and just told him that God is convicting me of harboring hatred, hatred that is not mine to harbor anymore. I did my best to explain. Hopefully he doesn;t think I am a nut job, but it really doesn't matter now does it? Bottom line is this, I did my job as a believer. I let of that hatred and bad seeds and started lovin him as best as I know how. 

Love vs Pride, listen to love

Jeff
Saturday January 24th, 2016

LGBTQ Peer Support Group: Still Being Ignored

After 7 months of patience I am still waiting to even hear from administration about my proposed group for a lgbtq support system. Under the old administration it was all but approved pending an approved volunteer. Which took me a few months because let's face it, I reached out to every single LGBTQ community group I could think of and not a single one responded, not even a single letter.
I was thoroughly shocked at this because after all, I thought that people were genuinely interested in helping out their community. I guess inmates are exempt. Between me and you though, this may be the best thing that's ever happened to me. Being ignored makes you feel like no one cares, like there is no reason to exist or to fight for your cause or what you believe in or anything at all really. But, I know in my heart that it just isn't right for a whole group of people to be ignored completely. I know that the gay community in here is suffering and no one is helping. No one out there, and certainly no one in here.
No...people are all to happy to let this group sit on the sidelines and be alone at that. It seems that no one understands and those that do are staying silent. Because they don't have to see us or hear us, or maybe they think it's our due, because we made a mistake. Who knows, whatever the reason, it's not right.
Let me reiterate something to you, we'll start with a basic question. Why won't they put a man in a women's prison? The answer is multi-faceted but simple: Because he would have no one to be supported by. There would be no one who understood how he is thinking. When he views the world, it's through a masculine thought process. When he talks about tv, it's about the tv that is typically aimed at men and when he reacts emotionally, it's with emotions that are used in different ways then women. The bottom line is, men are different then women in many ways, many beautiful ways. As are gay men from straight men. We differ in ways that most straight men don't comprehend. When we watch tv, its with a homosexual thought process. Which differs in that when we look at women, its not in a objectifiable way. We look at women as peers, where as straight men consider there physical attractiveness. When we see attractive men, we think about that. Who are we going to talk to about that? Guys talk about sports all the time and connect in ways through what they watch, listen to or see. Gay men do the same thing, there is no difference except the subject content. That's where we differ.

We need to be able to talk to each other in a setting that enables us to provide emotional support and stability. We do alright in this setting, however, we only do alright when we have a support system that we can be transparent with. Without that, we simply suffer. That's not right and I am utterly confused by why the world is letting it happen. I am shocked that DOC is just content to let us suffer. In fact, recently I got moved and I have the opinion it was a set-up for failure, hoping that I would be silenced in my outrage about the gay community in here being mistreated and ignored. But I am doing fine, I am rolling with the times, riding the wave, if you will.
At some point, DOC, you are going to have to give an answer on my proposal and help us stay safe here at Stafford Creek Corrections

You can't ignore me forever.

With Love and a plently patience,

Jeff Utnage 823469
Thursday January 21st, 2016


Doing Time: Keeping Busy

When you come into prison for the first time you are fresh out of county jail. Which is somewhat horrific. However, you are cacooned in this small area for a set period of time and going to prison represents that cacoon being terminated. You get off the bus and you are immediately hit with lining up and getting chains taken off and getting stripped down to nothing for a small period of time. You even have to see mental health in your underwear. Kind of demeaning, but laughable after a while.
When you are finally given a cell, you find out quickly that showering is going to be interesting. In the intake prisons you are lined up with a whole tier, or about 50 guys and you all stand there in your underwear and shower stuff and wait your turn for a shower head. There are no barriers, no dividers and no staff. You better keep your head down and your guard up. That's the introduction to prison. 
However, when you get assigned an institution things get dramatically better. You get more freedom to move around, independent showers, and by that I mean dividers and you can shower anytime the dayroom is open. It is a drastic improvement on the previous situations. When you talk to the guys that are generally happy and calm in this environment and ask them what they are doing to remain that way, they usually say the same thing "get a routine and adjust it how you need to suit you, settle in and don't deviate." So you try to do anything to establish a routine. Your previous routine is no longer acceptable, after all your now in prison.
So you work and attend whatever classes are available and go to the gym when it's open and usually learn to count cards with a good game of pinochle. There are obvious other choices, but to me they weren't even options. I didn't gamble, don't watch football, and wasn't interested in joining wannabe prison gangs. So I worked and attended counseling and did everything possible to work on what was broken inside me. The list was long...
Here I am today, I have a regimented routine that I established 3 years ago. I do the same thing every morning. I have to work now, at least 6 hours a day doing something that is considered work. I get paid .42 cents an hour to cook for 2000 people. Every day. and I can only make up to $55.00 a month. Which is 131 hours or work. I generally work around 160-170 hours a month. But still only get 55. Out of that 55, I only get 60%, which is 33, and I tithe, because I can't afford not to, out of that 55, I take "home" 27.50.
But here is the thing, I am not unhappy. There is something to be said for being able to maintain in this environment and still stay out of trouble. I haven't had an infraction of any sort for over 2 1/2 years, nothing...in fact it may even be longer than that now. LOL! I am satisfied with the current conditions. I have established in my mind that this is what I have to deal with, there is no changing it, net yet. So I have made a niche for myself. I routine. I have done something to improve myself and continue to practice that daily.
Not everyone in here is lost. Please, please, please understand that I am not happy being the man I was when I came in here. I wanted to be different but genuinely had no idea how to change. I was just blind. Now, through much help, I am no longer dumb to the idea that I had the ability to be different. To change my circumstances, not later, but right here and right now and it started with my attitude. An attitude that I can complete control of. 
So I stay busy, doing whatever is possible for me to do. I wish that there was more for me to do to improve myself still. But I am content with what is available.
Know this, I am not sitting dormant, learning to be a better criminal. I am always trying to improve. can't wait to get out!

With Love,

Jeff Utnage

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wednesday January 20th, 2016

Prancing Elites Project: "You have to be your biggest cheerleader"

Tuesday nights on Oxygen has been blessed by the presence of (in my opinion) the best television show on right now that I have access to. I love me some Prancing Elites. Its my one show that I won't allow anyone to interrupt for any reason. I absolutely love it. If you watched the season premiere last night then you'll recognize the quote in the title. Adrian, who is just drop dead gorgeous btw, was coaching a dance squad and there was one girl who he just connected with. He mentored her in a wonderful way that really just encapsulates my entire point in here.
When you recognize pain in someone else, or low self-esteem or hurt, you have an option to help. Always know that you can intervene. Have you ever had someone tell you jokingly that they are going to commit suicide and then laugh it off like it's some joke. What happens when that person wasn't joking? What happens if all it would have taking was you letting them know that you care.
Let me tell you how that feels. It's awful. I have had that happen. When you recognize someone is pain and you don't say anything to avoid you being inconvenienced or making yourself uncomfortable. Well...hogwash. Huge regret in my life was knowing that someone is in pain and not asking them how I can help. The next morning they tried to commit suicide and was almost successful. Thank God for the diligence of certain C/O's...
So when I see something genuinely good on a show like the Prancing Elites, I just cry and cry. I identify with each one of them in my own way. When they do things like just be comfortable in their own skin they inspire those who watch to be themselves too. Nothing is more beautiful then watching someone be ok with themselves. The confidence of being accepted by your own mind is something that is rarely seen anymore.
I obviously hope that you check it out on Oxygen, Tuesday nights at 8 p.m.!
Another quote from that same episode that I like is "God made me how He made me, and that's how I'm gonna be". I love that attitude. It's one that we should be spreading all around this globe. Not just for the LGBTQ community but for all people. Men and women who are different from what society calls the 'norm'. Born a little heavier, or with the wrong color hair or of a different nationality. All things that God deemed beautiful when He made us. If it's good enough for Him, it's good enough for me. I will work on accepting that.
People, God made us how He made us. Love yourself and love those around you with all your abilities. Even if they don't love you back, you may just be the only one to ever love that person in the whole wide world. You may be the difference between a person wanting to live or wanting to die. Or a person doing something awful out of anger or spite. Just love those around you no matter what. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, all they are thinking is how can that person love so many people? You'll be a hero before you know it.

With Love

Jeff Utnage 823469
Friendship...(Continued from Tuesday, January 19th, 2016)

Building positive friendships has been a goal of mine since I came out. Coming out for me was an opportunity to reinvent myself into the man that I wanted to be finally. I had always envisioned myself as confident, happy, goal oriented and strong willed. I had the idea that one day I would be this positive person who got things done, but not in the brutish sort of way. Just kind of eased into where I wanted to be and made a real impact. That's who I always tried to be, but was always kind of stuck behind this reasoning in my head that I couldn't do that because I wasn't even being strong with myself.
Coming out changed all that for me. Actually a combination of life altering events did that for me, thankfully. I came to prison for an awful deed, then I got saved, my family all but disowned me (some actually did..) and I kind of came to a place in my life where there was nothing else to lose. I figured that I had lost so much already I might as well deliver the final blow...I was gay too. Then, all who stuck around were getting to know the real me. I had nothing to lose by just displaying the real me and opening up to everyone. It was kind of like "I would rather you hate me for everything I am, then love me for something that I am not". I had heard that in a song somewhere and it just kind of stuck with me. Now I live by those words.
That's the good thing about being me and totally immersed in the man that I wanted to be. I was able to find friends that actually like me for me. Then I found out that there was more than one person in the world who felt that way. It's exciting to know that all I have to do is be honest, be me and people like the confidence that comes along with just being real. I don't have to hide anything. I can talk about liking men and wanting to dress in drag. I can talk about being effeminate and cross my legs and talk about eating disorders and my lack of self-control when it comes to certain foods and men. I can talk about the fact that I am a very emotional being or the fact that I love musicals and have always wanted to be a dancer.
Did you know that's the first time I every admitted that? Just now, that I wanted to be a dancer all my life. I always wanted to dance, unfortunately, I have no idea how to move my body like them. So I watch in absolute awe. Just awestruck by their ability to show emotions in movements. Just amazing...I can also admit things like my desire to be a waiter. Why did that take me so long to realize? Why was I embarrassed by that? Who did that to me and why? Why did it take me 33 years to admit that I have always had a desire to wait tables.
One of my first jobs was a dishwasher at a high-end restaurant. The cook was always showing me how to make things, but I was always watching the waitresses. The guys around me assumed it was because I was attracted to them, but it wasn't, it was because I was picturing myself in their shoes...usually literally. I envisioned myself with my suit on and a towel over my forearm moving swiftly between the tables with a platter of food above my head and cocking my hip to one side while I write down a tables orders and making the diners laugh while I got to know their little families. Calling everyone "hon" and answering everything with "Okay sweetie, be right back" and then disappearing into the hustle and bustle of the atmosphere. But I couldn't tell that to anyone. Now I can and no one is ever going to make me feel bad about it.
So I am going to be a great friend and I am going to promote that thought process to everyone I meet. That includes you who read this. I want you to follow your dream, no matter how small or absurd you think it is.

Love yourself enough to be honest. Know that I love you too, I don't need to know you to say that either. We are family, whether we like it or not. I just happen to love it!

Jeff Utnage # 823469
Tuesday January 19th, 2016

Friendship...

Growing up I never really had a large grouping of friends. In fact, I can count on one hand every friend I had until the age of 29. Never at the same time either, they were always at stages of my life. I remember one friend, his name was Josh. I was in seventh grade and my life was tumultuous. We had crazy people living with us, my mom was acting strange, we were in a strange new town and my experiences told me that where we were was temporary. So I treated it temporary.
One night, while he was sleeping over, we found some weed. We got high like idiot teenagers do and we were laughing and joking and all kinds of stuff. Josh knew some stuff about me, but most of all, he didn't make me feel weird about things. He just kind of understood that some stuff could be found out, but that it had to be let go of, not mentioned again. One night while we were laughing he leaned over and kissed me, right on the cheek. I immediately reacted violently. I began to punch him over and ever again. Mainly because he had exposed something in me that I had been made to feel ashamed of. He leaned over and pecked me on the cheek, and then laughed about it. In my mind he wasn't laughing with me, he was laughing at me. Making fun of the fact that I was soft. I was afraid of his parents rottweiler, I didn't like getting hurt, I didn't like wrestling around or football. Most risks I didn't like taking and I was very reserved and shy. He picked up on all that and then exposed it for what it was and thought it was funny when I became self-conscious of it.
Okay, maybe he wasn't aware of all that, but I was. That was a very telling moment for me. One that I knew I had to protect my sexuality from others. So I never wanted to let another person experience that part of me again. That brought shame and guilt, both of which I didn't like. So I didn't try to make friends, and when I did I forced the relationship into a very specific corner. One that involved exclusivity, privacy. Which brought on similar types of personalities. That wasn't healthy.
I talk about this because once I came out, I realized that I didn't have a network of friends that I could rely on. I literally had to figure out how make friends again. I had no idea what it was going to take to be completely transparent with the world, and I was scared to death. Josh played over and over in my head...
That lended me a very good well of water to draw from whenever I came across other people who needed it. Many men in here have had similar experiences with shame and guilt when it comes to their hidden sexuality. I have put myself out there as an advocate against that. Everyone here knows that if someone is just coming out that they have to meet Jeff. Jeff can help, Jeff can help you get through this, he knows where to find resources for you.
That feels good...It feels like I have finally done something right and it's something that I don't feel bad about. Coming out is hard to do. It's hard to face the judgement you have feared all your life. It seems as though coming out is going to end your life for some, so when they finally exhale the words "I'm gay" they expect their whole world to come crashing down, but instead, they find themselves. That is a beautiful thing, something that I want to witness over and over again.
It feels good to have friends, to be apart of a relationship where people help each other. We draw from each others wells, happily finding answers to our own lives within each other. We are connected, even if only temporary. It feels good. To be continued .. out of time, my 20 minutes is up.

With Love...

Jeff Utnage 823469
LGBTQ: A Culture?

Where I am we have five cultural events every year. African American, European Heritage, Native American, Spanish heritage and Asain/Pacific Islander heritage. Each one of these events is designed and allowed by DOC to promote equality and tolerance of those around us. Because DOC knows that this place breeds hate mongers and knuckle draggers that spout off things about race purity and all that non-sense, this gives those same guys a chance to experience something beyond their simplicity.
I have thought about these events for some time and have honestly never attended one because I didn't feel comfortable enough to go. They have a tendency to attract associated gangs and mentalities. Not always and not at all prisons but because of the past experiences of my friends, meaning my fellow gay friends in prison, being ostracized and definitely not welcomed, I have not gone either.
This last year I have been really pushing for DOC to support it's gay population. I have raised the idea that LGBTQ is a "culture". If being a culture is defined by the need to create tolerance within that community to stop segregation by other inmates, then the LGBTQ community certainly qualifies. Since the creation of tolerance inducing events, different races have banded together in lower custody prisons creating a fairly non-violent segregated community. Mind you, different races tend to stick together, but I don't think that's a "race" equality issue but rather a cultural compatibility issue. Meaning, you stick with those who you have the most in common with.
I think that LGBTQ should be recognized by DOC as a "culture" that needs to be addressed for tolerance. It's obvious that we aren't going anywhere, we are born every day. What is happening is that the races of prison have found a common acceptable enemy, the common homosexual. This is being promoted by staff in a nonchalant way because they promote tolerance and acceptance of all other segregated factions, every other one but the gays. Which allows us to be predatorized, victimized, limits our ability to program, limits our availability of safe cell assignments, limits our working options within prison and let's the other inmates know that we have zero recognition within these walls making us open season year round.
Our only course of action is to rely on forward thinking staff members who are willing to see us as humans. This is especially difficult because DOC officers come from all walks of life and backgrounds. Making this a melting pot for them too. Their ideals and religious views are prevalent in the way some are treated. With the modern day gay "witchhunt" going on out there with the church and the LGBTQ community and division lines being drawn out there, those same ideals and practices are being drawn in here too and they are being supported by the corresponding staff who believes. In private they talk to us about their personal beliefs just as much as any inmate does. I have proof of that with the last C/O who tried to get me killed over homosexuality.
This is a serious problem that leaks right back out into the community. These same ideas and practices leave along with the practicing inmate and staff member. Inmates aren't typically left here forever. Which means one day, we'll be out there. If a man comes here and learns that DOC is promoting hatred of a particular group of individuals, that isn't healthy and your children and loved ones will suffer the wrath of them.

Jeff
Unknowing Mentors:

Have you ever met someone and found out later that you were their mentor? I am sure you have seen someone else mimic another person at some point in your life. Maybe with boss or another co-worker. There is always that one person who has enough influence on others that people begin to take on their qualities and mannerisms.
This is just a reminder to everyone that people mimic us. You are going to run into people that have no one to look up to and they are going to pick you whether you like it or not. You will not have a choice in the matter, you will be volunteered to be a mentor and someone else's well being will be at stake. You have some options, but the only real option here is to help. You don't have to be the "put your arm around the shoulder and walk them into bliss" character. But, you do have to use that opportunity to do some self-reflection and find out what it is that they are trying to figure out. Then here is a shocker, help. You can do this so easily and simply.
A technique I use in here to empower and embolden the men around me is to let them know their worth. I do this by asking them this "what do you think your worth?" they will answer things like "what do you mean" or "which angle are you coming from, do you mean financially or emotionally?" I then tell them "I want to hear how you interpret that question, whatever you think you should answer that question with is what I want to hear."
What this does is let's me know what they think worth is. Does it mean "self worth" or "monetary worth". Really the answer can't be wrong, but it gets them thinking and gives you an opportunity to segway into self-identity. Does their identity rest on what they have or what they feel? If it's in what they have, their personal belongings then you can help them achieve their financial goals by empowering them.
As mentors and people who just care we lose track that we are not their answer. We are not their key to life. They are, the are the only ones who can help themselves. Nothing we can tell them or give them will solve all their problems. They have to find it within and they must be the ones to find it.
Those of you who have mentors listen up. Your mentor does not hold the keys or the answers to all your life's problems. You do. No one else does but you. It does help to have someone with qualities you want be there to talk to. The way they respond to things is how you want to respond to them, and that's valuable information. But you must interpret that information on you own. After all, they can't catalog that intel in your brain, or interpret either, only you can. No one see's the world through your eyes but you. That's what makes you amazingly...you.

Everyone know this, if you know nothing else, know this: You are not stuck where you are. You are not defined by your past. You have an amazing ability to change your situation and characteristics right here and right now. You can be a new person starting right this very second, and guess what, now your someone new. You did that, no one else. Now use that knowledge and change your circumstances.

With Love

Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gay & Christian: Is It Possible?

It's no secret that my goal in life is to bridge the gap between the LGBTQ community and the Christian community. But that is a tall order to try and fill. Both sides of the fence are very much against the other at times. Both sides can be very stiff-necked about the other.
It's no secret that Christians can be so snobby and stuck up with their belief systems. It's been like that for generations. Have you ever read about the Crusades? The times we live in are hardly the violent crusades. But they are tumultuous times. It's difficult to try and answer the call that God gives us when we have no place to turn to for guidance. God calls us and we may or may not attempt to answer. For whatever reason.
This is awful because God grants freedom to His followers. This means everyone. It don't matter if you are gay or not. Your sexuality doesn't matter to God, He knows what's up, He created you. Now I know many Christians stomachs will turn at this next statement, but truth hurts. Many people don't have the choice, we are born gay. We can fight it all we want, but we can't change our sexuality no more that you can change the color of your skin. Honestly, I don't really care if you believe that or not. You have no idea, do you?
Unless you yourself have made a decision to start suddenly liking the same sex, you don't have any idea what your talking about. I'd even go so far as to say your talking right out of your ass. Spouting off garbage that some Evangelist nut job with self-esteem issues spouted off in a tirade of hatred because he himself was probably gay. Closeted humans who won't accept their GENETIC differences can be terrible people. In the process they find something as beautiful as the Bible and turn it into this monstrosity under the cloak of "interpretation". Screw you...
God is perfection, His people can suck. But here is the deal guys, under that same cloak of insecurities there is always the flip side of that coin. Nothing makes me angrier then some flippant Christian calling me an abomination. But I have to remember that I am a Christian too. I believe in God and Jesus Christ and no one...let me say that again...NO ONE will EVER tell me what I can and can't do. One Man came to earth, born a virgin, induced by the Holy Spirit of God walked the planet as a holy and righteous example of God in the flesh. He says that we are to love one another. Nowhere did he ever say, "find someone who is a little different and persecute the shit out of them because I am going to leave things a little unclear" No!
Don't let anyone tell you you can't follow God right here and right now. God loves you and He wants you under His wings. He wants you in His shadow to love and protect you. He doesn't like it when His kids run around acting up and preaching hate. They will have to answer for that in the day of judgement, that's not our problem to judge them. We know the truth. In the meantime, answer the call. Accept His love.

With Love..

Jeff Utnage 823469

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday January 18th, 2016

Changing Your Environment: A Lesson From Inside These Walls

Changing your environment seems like a monumental task. I am here to tell you that it's actually fairly easy. Perhaps you can't change the environment totally, but you can certainly change how your treated in that environment. Prison is a melting pot of all kinds of emotional trauma. You don't need to be a PHD to figure that out. Something led men to prison...
In here you have options to deal with all the personalities you come across. There are all types, go getters, laziness, angry, oblivious, slutty, demeaning etc. Name it, it's here. This is what I do to keep happiness around me, I suggest you try it. It's a basic system.
First, I compliment the people I run across. I never let them think that I think negatively about them. Even if I do, I force myself to point out a positive, even in my head. Then, when we speak, however long or short, I listen. Then when we have a future conversation, I do it again. Even if it's in passing, I continue to set that standard of positive interactions. After this is done for a few times, they begin to expect that pattern of behavior out of you and will almost always bring the same.
You will get the occasional "debbie downer", I encourage you to continue to feed the positive side of them, set that standard that you want positivity and not their negativity. When they say something that is ugly, it's ok t not agree with them. Tell them so, "I'm sorry, but I just don't see it that way" do it with a smile, not a demeaning sly grin, but, let them know that you are thinking differently.
The ones that are determined to stay unhappy will go away, disgusted by your inability to feed into their problems. The ones that want to be like-minded will gravitate towards you with ease. This is important for a cohesive society because we need to be breeding positivity and success.
You can't wait for someone else to start this. When you go to work, the grocery store, church...PTA meetings...wherever, don't be afraid to tell others positive things about themselves. Smile, be warm and friendly. Let them know that you are there to be a friend. Then set that tone.
So today, when you interact with the people around you, motivate them. This can't be done with negativity. It must be done with positivity. Tell them "I know that you are a get-it-done type of person". Tell them the good things about themselves. Point them out, even if they don't have those qualities visibly, point out that they have them, and if they think that they don't...then why do you see it? Obviously it's there, because we all have it, the natural talent of being happy, it's up to us, not the environment.

Don't allow the environment your in to change you, you change it. Don't let the negative garbage or our pasts dictate how we feel and act today. We have a choice and it's ok to use that option...

With Love

Jeff Utnage 823469
Sunday, January 17th 2016

Be Inspired:

This morning I was watching a TV evangelical preacher. I actually kind of loathe him, however, I have matured enough that I can look past some of his views and hear a good message. What he was talking about was persevering and continuing to go on no matter what is happening. I heard something that was awful inspiring. So now I just have to share it.
Being a failure does not mean that you have failed. Everyone will fail. Being a failure is falling down and failing to get back up. That's a failure. That one message was worth listening the a hate filled charismatic on TV. Because you know what? He's right. God doesn't want us to fail. God wants us to be strong winners. Sometimes, most time....ok all the time, winning doesn't happen by accident. Winning and succeeding at something requires falling down, a lot. We just have to accept that rarely will we get something right the first time. It takes losing to know what it takes to win. That's where we have the advantage, we can persevere.
I know that it's hard to see me as someone who is walking a Christian life because I curse sometimes and I get a little spiteful. But, you know what that means? It means I am human. Yeah, newsflash, I ain't got everything all figured out. I know it's going to come as a blindside, LOL!
I am happy to report that's the good news though. That is the reason we can be Christians too ( I mean we as in the LGBTQ Community) no matter what anyone says. So I am going to do what I set out to do right now. DO NOT! I repeat, DO NOT, allow anyone to deter you from being a follower of Jesus Christ. If you have felt the tug on your heart, or you conscious, answer. The fact is that the bible doesn't really address homosexuality. I know that some translations say so, but that is mans two cents. Those that have studied the Word and its original verbage have almost always agreed that the Bible doesn't really address it in the new testament. Do your own research, use any Strongs...
It's ok! Here is the good news, we as gay and lesbian people and everything that comes with the LGBTQ community are uniquely designed to withstand pressure. We can do this, we won't be excluded from anything because some insecure bigots are trying to prevent us from seeing the glory of God. Well, I am here to tell you that no one can prevent that. Don't allow someone else's attitude and insecurities to stop you now. It doesn't stop us from switching our hips or sauntering into the coffee shop. It doesn't stop us from turning every head we do and it certainly shouldn't stop you from being a follower of the most glorious thing we know. Jesus Christ. I know that some cringe at that, associating that name with hypocrisy and hatred. But not this guy, not this homo, for me it's freedom and I want you to experience the same relief as I have. I love you like family and I hope that I have lifted your spirits!

With Love

Jeff Utnage 823469
H3-A-20-U
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520

or jpay.com type in my DOC# and add me to your contact list, I will write you as soon as I see your name added.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Acceptance: Right Where You Are.

As you know I have a friend in here that is having a hard time. Maybe it's not so much he's having a hard time, but perhaps the facility is having a hard time with him. Either way, life hasn't been easy for him in here.

Here is a little more about our history together. Last summer when he and I met, he basically tried to hustle me. But, he was openly gay and that is my area of interest. I want to make sure that the LGBTQ community here in prison has a network of support, no matter how difficult that may be. Basically, P's game is get as many 'boyfriends' on the line as possible and then get as much stuff from them as he can. So, I found this out very quickly when he immediately wanted to date.

I hold a very firm stance on prison relationships, I just don't do them. They are to cumbersome and complicated and when others find out they get jealous and tell the C/O's that they are uncomfortable with homosexuals dating and basically "snitch". So, I just stay away from that drama.

So instead of just throwing him to the curb and completely outcasting him (which would have been pretty easy, most of the gays here kind of act together), I told him that I would not abandoned him. We would never date, ever, ever, but we would be friends. All he had to do was be honest with me. I cringed at this next statement, but I said it anyway. I told him that no matter what he was doing he could count on me being a friend as long as he was honest with me. Even if he was whoring himself out for coffee or hustling every dude on the compound, I would still be his friend so long as he was real with me.

Twelve loooooong months later here we are and he is about to split to a higher custody level (camp). Our last summer conversation comes up and he explains how grateful he is that I was his friend. Believe me, I was and am his one and only friend in the whole world. Everyone distanced themselves from him. Everyone except his own mother. So I held true to my end of the bargain and watched as he tried hustle after hustle and everyone that failed he would come back and try to explain how it was a simple mistake on their end. The I would remind him that I was onto his games and who did he think he was talking too, then he would say things like "see, you get me" I would throw up a little in my mouth and then let him know that I highly disapprove of his actions.

After doing this every few days for 12 months and watching him crush the feelings of about 35 "straight" men and almost causing about 3 gang wars and losing every friend in the world...people that hated him started coming to me and asking why I hung with him still. So I would explain my promise to him, and that he may not be the best friend a guy could have, but he deserved to know what a real friend looked like. He deserved to know at least one person who didn't want to bang him, use him or let him use them. He deserved to know what a healthy relationship looked and felt like. So here we are and I am happy to say that it's mission accomplished. I completed something, I did what I set to do and damn the consequences. But nothing bad came to me, everyone just commended me for being loyal and not compromising my values.

I am impressed with this because I had the opportunity to deviate from a good path for an easier one. I am blessed to say that God gave me the strength to carry on and be the good friend to someone else. Hopefully I can get a few of those in my life.


Contact me @

Jeff Utnage 823469 on jpay.com
So This Is Prison Life?

I try not to talk to much about what prison is really like. I have the feeling that if I did tell someone what a typical prison experience is like they would be sorely disappointed. However, I think it's time to talk about typical prison.

Prison is full of all kinds of people. People with all types of personalities and egos. As most of us know a man will do almost anything to protect what hurts him the most, his pride. One thing that I learned a few years ago was that when my pride is at stake, whatever is making me feel that way, I'm the one with the problem. So I let that go, I hate pride. It's a destructive force that causes me more grief that is what's worth protecting. Besides, I am so used to being the one who is hated in a room that when I am like, that's the oddity.

So swallowing my pride in the face of being ridiculed or disliked is not new to me. In fact, at this point I wouldn't have it any other way, because there is a certain amount of liberation in knowing that I simply don't give a damn what someone thinks. Their opinion just doesn't matter. If a man gets exalted above me, even in something I care about, good for him. If I really want it, I'll fight for it with my own moral standing, one that since I've been saved has served me well. That is, stay to myself, mind my own business, don't offer advice unless it's asked for, stay out of quarrels that aren't mine, don't use drugs, don't try to escape pain, deal with my consequences etc, etc, etc.

I live this way and it's liberating for me personally. It's obvious that I am not alone in this opinion, especially here. But, there are those here that don't feel that way. They feel they have been robbed of something because they are here, it's someone else's fault that their miserable. So they make up lies and talk to those they feel they can manipulate and it gives them some form of satisfaction to know that they had a hand in disrupting someone else's life.

Prime example, recently I was drawing a picture (I draw portraits in graphite) of a model. Sitting out in the day room minding my own business happily. By now, most everyone just leaves me alone. Until I see a few officers gloving up and go to my room. They see I wasn't there and came and got me in the middle of the dayroom. I don't use drugs, I don't talk to gangs and I mind my own business. I don't argue with staff, I don't cause problems and I am not a trouble maker among inmates. So it's a surprise they came and stripped me out in the back. Then proceeded to search my house based on information they had.

Information that was bad. As in false, lies, non-truth. Meaning that whoever their informant was, is a liar and is no longer a truth teller. So, I got to show off my backside (I have been working on it rather hard, after all, a good looking, shapely butt is the latest craze) finally a good excuse to strike a pose. Hopefully the strip out staff was impressed (so much for modesty huh?)

So my night was disrupted for no reason. I am glad I can say that though. There was a time when I would have been nervous about a cell search, but not any longer.

Long story short, that is minimum custody prison. Busy bodies, those who meddle in stuff that's not their business because it gives them some strange satisfaction and sense of control and power that they can manipulate A whole investigations team with all kinds of bogus "intel" that is false..

That's prison...


Until next time, with love,

Jeff Utnage
Why Is Coming Out Important? Continued...

Coming out to your loved ones and friends is complicated and no one should do it unless they are ready to. Our personal sexuality is sensitive and highly private. It's affected by so many outside influences, our parents views, our church's views, our community view points and so many more. I get that this is extremely complicated.
But, for those that are ready, they know it's time. It's a very freeing thing to do. It also allows those around you the freedom to accept you for you. We don't give acceptance a chance sometimes. I am often completely surprised when someone that I was just positive is going to hate me doesn't. All I had to do was be me and the true and honest me at that. Most people accept that person.
I will come back to the prison setting for a minute. There are "hardened gangsters" in here. They walk the yard as tough, macho men who flex with there shirts off and talk about faggots and why they are a plague to mankind. But at night time, in the cell, some off those same tough guys are begging to get topped. This is just a fact of life. They are confused by themselves. When they decide to say the words I am gay (or bi or whatever), when they are at least honest that they like men too, they are often mortified of the judgements of their supposed peers. They want and need to be seen as the fear inducing tough guy that they fear inside.
It sucks when a man is closeted. He is torn between two worlds and it takes a toll on him psychologically. With no one to talk to and no one to confide in life gets crappy real quick. Especially when you don't know how to process the information that your heart is giving you. Like, when your brain wants (or thinks it wants) women, but you fantasize about men. What does that mean? Does that mean that your gay? If you ask one of your straight buddies, of course it means you are gay. But psychologically it may not mean that at all. In all truth it may just mean that you are a little curious and between you and me, that's pretty normal. Gay is wanting to have a romantic and emotional relationship with the same sex. You don't necessarily find the opposite sex repulsive, but, having an intimate relationship with the opposite sex would be miserable. A feeling I know all to well. In fact, I was married for 11 years. 11 long, frustrating years. 11 long, confusing years. The whole time I was convinced I was not gay, after all, I was married with children. But I couldn't produce an orgasm unless in my mind, I was having sex with a man. I know, for many that is inconceivable, but for me that was life. Thank GOD it isn't like that anymore.
But this is why being honest with yourself is important. Living a double life, one group of friends knows the straight person, while the other only knows the gay side. What if they meet and my secret comes out, what will they think then. All that trauma is avoidable. Coming out can be difficult, but it will be the best thing you ever did once you are surrounded with those who truly love you. After all, how can someone love you when they don't even know "you".
Know that I support you, for whatever small token it's worth. I love ya! Can't wait to meet ya and hope that someday we can sit down and just be as queenish as humanly possible, and why? Because B***H! We can! :) LOL

With Love,

Jeff Utnage 823469
H3-A-20-U
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520

or

jpay.com type in my DOC Number or name (Jeff Utnage 823469)

Will respond to all letters and comments!
Why Is Coming Out Important?

Coming out is a difficult task for some people. It means opening a part of yourself that at one point you felt was secret, for whatever reason. We hold those kinds of secrets hostage in our minds for many reasons, childhood experiences, fear etc. Their are many variations of that. What I do know is that when you are holding a secret about something as personal as your sexual identity it creates a "double" life. When you meet new people and you don't tell them for whatever reason it sits in the back of your mind. It festers.
Now, I know that this isn't the case for everyone. Some folks genuinely just want their personal business to stay personal. I'm not talking about wearing a banner to work and posting pride flags in your cubicle and changing your name to Steve Fairy Princess Jones. I'm talking about those you have drinks with and the people you consider friends and aquaintences. It's not that anyone 'deserves' to know about your sexuality, but it gets the elephant out of the room.
I watched a recent lecture on tv and this Professor was talking about stigmatic focal points. Like facial moles for example. If the person who has a visible abnormality (I will only use that term because abnormal doesn't mean bad, just different then the rest) just talks about it from the get go, within minutes of that conversation the viewing individual typically forgets it's there and moves on with the conversation. Rarely even giving it thoughts. However, if it remains the taboo subject, the subject that isn't going to get talked about, the viewing party typically focuses much attention on that subject. So this is the case with people. If they suspect that a friends of theirs is gay, then they typically spend a lot of time thinking and deciphering whether or not you are or aren't.
By talking about your sexual identity to those you love you are doing a few things. For one your clearing your conscious. Not that keeping your business private is taxing, but this way you are telling the same thing to all people. Believe it or not there is a certain freedom in transparency. Secondly, you make it possible to simply move on with life. Kind of like "well, now that's out of the way we can talk about things that matter". You don't say that obviously, but it certainly becomes the truth. Whether or not your gay doesn't change the rules of life or what type of job you can do. It is a very personal thing that many people are flat out afraid of. But by us being bold and fearless and transparent with our personal friends we enable them to come to terms with that part of us. We forget that even though we are fighting the good fight of equality, we still have to educate those who have to interact with us. They need the ability to interact with us, not the facade we give them, but the real, gay "us". It's not is giving in to some pressure, it's us being bold and empowering. "I did my part, and my conscious is clear, now it's your problem" kind a thing. You come as you, and it's up to them to accept or get to know. It's our job to present us. If we do that, our confidence in ourselves will more often then not make them confident in us too. It's contagious, confidence.

This isn't the end of this post, however, I am out of time this particular kiosk session (20 Min. max...ugh!)

With Love

Jeff Utnage
Dreams, I Hate Them Sometimes:

Last year a friend of mine cut himself several times across the arm. He had been feeling depressed and stressed out for some time and in the long run he is ok, physically. However, emotionally he was in turmoil and that is where my concerned was/is. he ended up being sent to a facility where he could receive the best treatment this place can offer. I can only hope that DOC is holding up to that assumption.
I think about him often. He represents my most recent failure. Where I dropped the ball, how I let down my community and friends and how helpless I was. He represents my drive as well.
Last night I had a dream about him. Typically I don't repeat dreams, they sometimes get me emotional because I get nightmares and might terrors. I sometimes wake up screaming and often wake myself up in some sort of exchange of words. With something off in my memory. So I don't read to far into them, because I know that its an emotional baggage problem and not much more.
In my dream he was healthy, but very skinny ( he was a frail man, always very thin as far as I knew. Somehow, someway I ended up in the same cell as him and it was by surprise. I was exstatic. I was so happy to see him again. I felt that I had a shot at redemption, a shot at being the friend I should have been back then.
After he was discovered in his cell in a pool of his own blood, I felt betrayed by DOC. I felt that this place let him down. He needed help, his mental health record proved that. But they were all-to-happy to just let him go on by himself and instead of being preemptive, they were reactionary. Which, thankfully, didn't cost him his life. But it very well could have.
This dream was a reminder of what I am fighting for. Why I am being patient and not reacting adversely to harsh situations and peoples judgements. Because men here are hurting. Some of them badly. I can't help the all, or maybe even any of them. But I know what it's like to feel alone. Uncared for and isolated. Like...you're the only one in the world who did some awful thing and now...no one will ever love you again.
I don't think anyone should feel like that. God in heaven let me know in no uncertain terms that I was loved and thought of by Him. Now it's my job, my duty to love those around me. Because Christ first loved me, when I was at my absolute worst. When I was unlovable. He loved me anyway. Never left my side and even when I hated Him, he still loved me. I could be so lucky to return the favor to as many people as will let me and i aim to do just that, I really don't care what the outcome is. Hopefully along the way I can make a friend or two. If not, oh well, I still got God.

With Love, feel free to comment, share or write me directly.

Also, I have a friend who blogs as well.
check him out at www.jonathankeenengordan.com

you can write me at
Jeff Utnage 823469
h3-a-20-u
stafford creek correction center
191 constantine way
aberdeen, wa 98520