Searching For Normal

I remember one night, before I came to prison, I laid in my bed next to my wife of about 9 years at that time. I had made a habit of drinking myself to sleep. If it wasn’t a few Steele Reserves or that awful Hurricane it was a pint of Monarch Vodka. I laid in bed one night and tried to imagine my future.

When I was a child my step-brother, Justin, and I would dream of joining the military. I wanted to be an Army Ranger, shoot bad guys and wear fatigues. If that didn’t work out perhaps we could have done a radio show. You know how kids think, never linearly. Nevertheless, I could imagine my future and all its majestic mysteries.

But not that night. I was so used to being drunk and high on morphine that I was just waiting for my heart to stop because of an overdose. That night, I tried to imagine my future. This is what I saw:

Blackness, just blackness.

I figured I would die one of those nights and even though I knew I had no future, I took solace in understanding there was nothing left for me, I was already dead.

In fact, I died long ago. Truth of the matter is, I resigned to death in my early teens. Never really came out of my depression. It became worse with marriage and fatherhood. Suddenly I was responsible for lives, but I had no foreseeable future. The rest is well…morbid.

Fast forward to modern times, in prison, where I have matured. I understand how to manage my anxieties, fears, insecurity, and emotions in general. I still imagine my perfectly normal future and I have to be honest, I still don’t have a crystal clear image to run down. It is no longer blackness though.

I have a major problem though folks, I’ve never known “normal.” I don’t know what that is. Is it a wife and 2.5 kids in the suburbs? Is it me and my enigmatic hipster husband living in a flat somewhere where we drink ridiculous coffee and quibble over who gets to top? Is it working my dream job as an Executive Director for a major non profit where I get to bring an utterly impossible end to victimization?

I suppose that’s why I write and created, because I am searching for normalcy. For some silly reason I have it stuck in my mind that one day I will find out normal and it will be people who write me from seeing my writing here, which has yet to happen.

This is what I know, I have hope and faith in God and myself and my future. Something I haven’t had for nearly 3 decades.

Feels good to have it back.

With Love
Jeff Utnage