Right now, as I write this, it’s 8pm on October 15, 2020. In exactly 36 months from this very moment, I’ll be contemplating how to fall asleep for my first night as a free person. It’s an image of anxiety, stress, wonder, amazement, relief, but mostly when I see this night in exactly three years, I see so much more work to do and having all the reasons to do it. I see that night like that because I saw today that way. I can trace my own failed self back to 2001 when the work stopped turning, or maybe back to 2003 when combat trauma paved the way for all other traumas that consumed me. There are points, brutal points, along the way. I was incarcerated in 2012, and I was just as broken then as I was at any point prior. But I made things different leading to today and tomorrow will get even better…

In 36 months, I get to walk away from this place with my life reclaimed. While I still have work to do in the meantime and beyond, I like how I’m growing. And when I get to the end of this sentence, the good stuff is just beginning. I get to stand at the mouth of the cave and help others get out, too. As I think of this night in exactly 36 months, I see myself reflecting on the day, glad I was able to learn and grow and become the person I want to be. But the work started in prison years ago, sometime after the damages that happened years before that. I came to prison to protect you and pay for my sins. In the process, I rehabilitated and learned to love myself to honor you and OUR community. See you in 36 months, neighbor…

by Rory Andes

Learning to love myself isn’t always easy, but I’m glad I’m doing it…

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Rory Andes 367649
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