Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Post Traumatic Growth...    by    Rory Andes

I happened along this term while cruising channels and landed on a Canadian program on First Nation communities. While I caught the very end of it, the overview was focused on the horrors that struck them as late as the 60's where the state came in and stole the children of native people for being "unfit" and how those children would grow up. I wish I caught more of it, but the term Post Traumatic Growth was mentioned and my mind grabbed onto it. What does it mean? The context seemed that it was in rebuilding communities and reclaiming identities, but what does it really mean?

I guess I'm struggling with two things... One: I suffer trauma and know the negative. How do I turn that around to growth, systematically enough to warrant a term? Two: How do we educate in the sea of information voids called prison? Wouldn't access to information be great? Does anyone know the fine details of this term? How can I find out without any access to information? Prisons are bad enough for this type of burden, but add a pandemic and self educating becomes labored at best. If there's information on this term, how I can be focused towards rehabilitation and how it really applies, I'd like to know...

by Rory Andes

Knowledge is power. Educational resources are where it starts...

Email at Jpay.com using Rory Andes 367649

Or by Mail:
Rory Andes 367649
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Favorite Lifeforms (I didn't know this was a thing!?)     by    Ruth Utnage

I'm reading Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown (thank you to the sender!) and in the introduction she says "My favorite lifeforms right now are..." she goes on to describe dandelions and mushrooms. But that's not what caught my attention, what caught my attention was that I did not have my own clearly defined 'favorite lifeforms'.

I'm not one to follow blindly but I do appreciate a thought provoking notion and something of interest to me is understanding balance in our world. I seek to reconstruct certain systems that impact me, in order to do that I am required to see the positive in a system where many only see negatives. Like Brown's notion of a favorite life form being a weed (and she presents a compelling argument as to why, I will never look at either the same), plague to most, beautiful to her.

I don't know what my favorite lifeform is. Right now it's human beings. I can't say pets because I don't believe we should be allowed to own things that have organic heartbeats for the sole purpose of subjugation and our own delight. But I do love animals, I just don't love it when we subjegate them as "ours" when, in fact, we cannot create them...I should not own that which my being is not able to create. My brothers and sisters of this planet can create an iPhone from the dirt and our intelligence, I can own that, but I cannot make a puppy or a kitten or a pig (I find them ADORABLE!).

I am going to contemplate my favorite lifeforms. I like this, appreciating some lifeform for its own unique role in our ecosystem.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Feel free to contact me, a little human contact is always welcome

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-601-2
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)

Jeff Utnage
823469
 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Turn Your Phone Off...     by    Rory Andes

One of the most painful evolutions of the current global pandemic is the way news interviews are conducted. I could only imagine that, in our previous world, a show's producer would schedule a subject to meet at a news studio at a very specific time and conduct hair and makeup before ultimately taking the stage to be interviewed or be part of a panel discussion. Now, with Skype and other mediums being necessary, so much more is taken away from the show's production crews... to include the reminder to leave the personal cell phone in the Green Room.

I can't understand (and it drives me crazy) why people won't turn off their phones while being interviewed, even if from the comfort of their personal homes and offices. To me, why would you schedule time in front of millions of people to prove that you're that guy that, when we still had them, wouldn't turn off your phone in the movie theater? But now, instead of being a pain in the ass to just a few people, they're a pain to the whole viewing populace. Isn't it bad enough that the lag time between questions and answers are already painful to watch because the miscues from audio transmissions? Here's a tip from this viewer... if you're going to be interviewed from home, wait your turn and, definitely, turn your phone off.

by Rory Andes

Chalk another one up to the pandemic... Production Controls!

Email at Jpay.com using Rory Andes 367649

Or by Mail:
Rory Andes 367649
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Thoughts on friendship, childhood and loves gone by.       by    Ruth Utnage

I remember as a kid I wanted brothers and sisters around. It was because I was lonely. We moved so much that friendship was always a word that meant temporary, meaningless. I did not see any significant adult in my life reach out to friends when they were in trouble, in fact, they ran away from them towards family in times of trouble, even if they were terrible people. It was a lesson I tried to ignore.

In high school I met John. If you've read my previous work you know that John was someone my age that I fell in love with. Only problem was, I was afraid to say anything and even more afraid of what it meant for me. I wasn't ready to come out for another 12 years. In fact, his uncle came out and he straight up asked me "don't come out too, I can't handle anyone else yet." Those words put me in a straight jacket.

John was my longest friend but like every friend I ever had I was forced to walk away from him. Walking away from him was the final blow, the last piece of my soul that believed in friendship. It's not easy to walk away from someone you truly love, it hurts more than anything and I was willing to do almost anything to not confront that pain again- to include hate the very word friend. It wasn't until a rather unpleasant run-in with my therapist that I even thought about it. Before that all I knew was that friends meant temporary and when someone called me sister it clicked something inside my brain so that now I felt I could get close to them. I suppose when I look at my history I can see why, I feel a little foolish for not catching on sooner. I've thrown away so many wonderful opportunities, so many wonderful people have crossed my path that I couldn't bring myself to love back.

Interesting that I have spent my entire life in a sea of people feeling like the most lonely person in the world, except for when 2 people were in it. Do you want to know who they are? John and Q. I've learned that my self-worth and sense of self isn't tied to a person, nor is it okay to go through life without being vulnerable... or hurt. One of them I told how I felt, one I did not. I made the mistake of silence with the first one and missed an opportunity to understand myself, out of fear. The second one I waited, perhaps a bit too long, but I told him nonetheless and its okay he wasn't interested (anymore), maybe that wasn't the point. Maybe the point was to till the soil of my heart once more, thaw it out and make it ready for love again, reclaim friendship in my life. After all, I can love a friend and not 'be' in love with them.

I think a key word here is balance. Life has to be balanced. Right this second I've never felt more fulfilled and content and yet I'm in the most tumult I've ever felt and I truly feel great. Challenges come and each one is a blessing, I mean that. I don't know every detail of my future, I've traded the pursuit of perfection for the chance at happiness. Good trade.

As for Q and John, well, I don't know. A man once told me "the only way I know a girl loves me is if I cheat on her and she don't leave me". I'd say this, If that love is meant to be, they'll come back after being let go. If not, well, there's lots more people out there. I made my mistakes, then I learned from them, now I move on with an open heart. At least a little more prepared to give all this woman to someone special and there sure is a lot of special someone's out there...

...isn't there. I look forward to meeting you, or re-meeting you, Special.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Feel free to contact me, a little human contact is always welcome

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-601-2
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)

Jeff Utnage
823469

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Our Brothers' Keepers...    by    Rory Andes

She gets the call about her brother and her soul sinks and her heart breaks at the idea that this person so precious to her is having everything in his life crumble. Before she knows it, she has to give this beautiful man away to a world she can't imagine. "Just keep him safe," she asks...

Off he goes to pay a price. The pain of leaving everyone behind hurts beyond words. The pain of knowing he's responsible for that is even worse. As bleak as his future seems, he hopes she still loves him. "Let her always be my big sister," he asks...

Marshall has spent every birthday for over a decade without the celebrations of his big sister and this year, this July, will be the last time he has to. But this time away hasn't been without benefit. I and so many others have gained a brother in return. As Marshall has reclaimed his life, he's shown me how to reclaim mine, also. In return, I give him Nutty Buddy bars and make him laugh. He's given the very best of himself to positively influence the world around him and I'm glad to have reaped the rewards of this brotherhood. This birthday is a celebration of all he's given in here, the friends he's made, the humanity he's instilled and the brother I've trusted with my life. Because it's his last here, his big sister gets the future, his future, their futures, all the remaining next times. A loving handoff...

I can't thank his family enough for creating someone so impactful. I can't thank his sister enough for allowing me to benefit by meeting her brother in a place she feared so long ago. We all are our brothers' keepers, both in prison and out. Those inside are a part of the most private of fraternities waiting to return to the siblings that had to let us go. However, every person should be as lucky as us. I'm so glad he can return to her so much better, happier, and healthier than ever. Her continued love has been a source of inspiration. Happy Birthday, Marshall. May you have so many more in your extraordinary future and we love you...

by Rory Andes


Friday, July 24, 2020

One Utopian Sliver    by     Ruth Utnage

One world government ideology doesn't sound particularly appealing to me. I cannot conceptualize something that governs all as a physical manifestation. But I can conceptualize something that solves a problem for all for all nations. Now I'm about to border dangerously close to sounding like a Socialist, Communist or some type of Neo-Liberal but I think that we can look beyond a political perspective just this once. Let's pretend (just for a few minutes!) that nobody knows what political parties or ideologies are and we're simply speaking about the solution to a problem.

That problem is hunger.

Of course there are many problems in our world, but let's just explore one persons idea to solve one. No hard and fast truths here, only thoughts.

Some places are able to grow only certain types of food. Some places have an abundance of labor to produce certain types of food while others do not. What if, like a World Bank, we had a one world food chain. What if an allotment of food was free to every person everywhere everyday based on a world supply and it knew no borders or politics or money. What is left can be capitalized on for profit or to fund the logistics of such a massive supply chain.

The corn of Iowa and the bananas of Chile, the wheat of Nebraska and the dates of the Mideast, the soy of China and Beef of Texas all get used. Our farmers and growers would be among our most revered world-wide.

Of course there would be logistical dilemmas but we can solve them as we have trains, planes and automobiles. If we can send a warhead into outer space to annihilate a fly in the middle of nowhere back here on earth, we can figure out how to send a meal there instead.

I'm just floating in a pool of thought here with my sunglasses on and an ice cold sun tea with a tiny umbrella and a lemon slice in it. No suggestions of new world order or the destruction of power, just feeding people with a reorganized structure. Instead of creating all of Utopia at the destruction of what we currently know I'm saying maybe we can create one Utopian sliver.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Feel free to contact me, a little human contact is always welcome

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-601-2
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)

Jeff Utnage
823469


Thursday, July 23, 2020

When Therapists Attack!     by    Ruth Utnage

I'm going through an intense treatment program right now that lasts for 2 years when all is said and done, sometimes longer. Thus far I have been relieved to have certain character flaws pointed out to me because I know I have them and seek to change the ones that cause me problems. I don't like feeling broken and for 8 years I waited for my turn in this program seeing it as a relief agent that will "fix" my "brokenness".

As it turns out it's a lot more challenging than I thought.

Part of the program is to be challenged, sometimes in very uncomfortable ways. Ways that, by design I'm sure, put your mind in tough situations and force you to think through. One way this happened for me is the therapist changed the verbage of their questioning in such a way that I was going to have to have a confrontation. I am not one to engage in confrontation. In fact, we were discussing that when I have an acquaintance or friend and a confrontation occurs I usually don't engage and then seek to sever ties. However, with someone I'm in a relationship with I will engage in confrontation with them. This is a problem.

The therapist could have simply said, this is a problem and then given me a set of instructions to begin working on it. Instead they chose to highlight the behavior and then work with it directly by forcing a confrontation. I don't like being mentally badgered and in the moment I was angry and felt attacked, but after some reflection I understood what happened, I protected a flaw.

I came by it fairly honestly. I was moved around a lot as a child and was never given an opportunity to make friends. We rarely stayed in one spot for more than 6 months. The one or two friends I had we moved away from and that was that. Instead I was always around family. I learned that family was always, friends were temporary. The major adults in my life practiced this. I went into my teenage years confused about who I was and had already learned to keep my insides in, hidden, protected and sometimes despised. I ended up making one really good friend and I fell in love with him. That didn't end in the fairy tale I wanted. I ended up walking away from him too, my wife at the time knew I was in love with him and to try and keep the peace in my marriage I did the hardest thing, I walked away from my one friend.

Then prison comes and virtually everything is temporary. I'm almost designed to cope with that. Prison is unique in that you can have intense bonds with people and then once they or you get out that bond ceases. It can leave one feeling very hurt and betrayed. So, in an effort to not feel that I stopped letting people in. To protect myself from being hurt. Like I said, I came by the flaw honestly but its not easy to have to confront such a thing.

In fact, it's terrifying. However, I've given up on so many wonderful opportunities to experience love in its many forms for fear of being hurt and I don't want to live like that anymore. I want to love wholeheartedly. I want to be loved and it's not the easiest thing in the world to destroy walls that protect ones heart, but I know I'm ready. It's time to reclaim my life and accept that my childhood may have defined me once, but I have a choice now and I'm reclaiming my life.

When therapists attack. Thank God they do...

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Feel free to contact me, a little human contact is always welcome

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-601-2
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)

Jeff Utnage
823469