The experiences that I have gained from prison are priceless. The lessons I have learned are lifelong. One lesson I learned today comes from an adage that you may be familiar with. Judge not, lest you be judged by the same measuring stick.
Daily I encounter people who are different. Today I decided to converse with someone who I typically don't, and in fact it's a person who I judged. I judged him due to his uniqueness. However, as I began to converse with this young man, he was a person and not someone who I saw in passing, not someone who people made fun of because he was different. But the point of the conversation that really caught me by surprise was when I asked him about his plans when he gets out. He told me that he plans on collecting SSI. I asked "SSI?" He said yes, and he matter of factly told me that he is schizophrenic, and he told me yes, "I hear voices in my head, and they make me do violent things to people." He then said, but on this medication he can handle the voices. It is then that I began feeling extremely small for judging someone I knew nothing about. He is a real person who is doing nothing but trying to make it out of this place by doing his best to become an upstanding citizen of the world outside of here. He is looking for help to advance upward, and everyday he runs into people like me who only prejudge him and his life. As a I found out, his schizophrenia is hereditary, thus, he didn't bring it about he simply was born with his condition. The point is that maybe we should slow down and think of people as...well...people, who have stories and reasons, before we begin placing our judgments and insecurities upon others. Just a thought. Something so simple has been so life changing.
Look different at those who are different. Look with some compassion and try to get an understanding. I will.
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