Something Out Of Nothing: Others Mountains, or Molehills Are My Opportunities.
A friend of mine came to me and told me that he had a conversation with someone about me. I was not shocked, as I am talked about frequently. Some good, some bad, some awful. Regardless, I wasn’t shocked either way. I am used to it by now. What fell out of his neck next just blew me away.
This particular “friend” of mine is a very flaky person. He has never really been the one to be interested in anyone else the entire time I’ve known him. I have done my best to mentor and challenge him in growth but it seemed impossible. I didn’t give up, but I wasn’t as aggressive with the “what are your goals and how can I help you attitude”.
What he told me next blew me away. He tells me that someone was asking about me, about why I was hanging out with another individual and this other person is worried that there was something going on between us. When in fact there wasn’t. He told me that he was offended, my friend was offended at the strange mans accusations and told him that if he knew me, he would understand just how ridiculous that sounds. He even threw in a jab in there and reminded me of how much of a prude I really am and that I am the state’s “Ice Queen”, on account that I won’t put out, for no one.
In most cases that could have been a great opportunity to be angry. The whole, why me garbage. But instead, I asked him to tell that person to meet me. In all that I heard in there that there was someone else who is also gay, or in the very least, bisexual. Since he had a vested interested in who was hanging out with someone he cares for, he obviously has feelings. Making him similar to me in that respect. I didn’t hear a man who is jealous of another man, I heard a man who needed mentoring and that is exactly what I intended to do.
This was a great opportunity to let people in here know that there is another way to react. My friend, who has shown tremendous growth and proved inadvertently that he was listening after all, was sure I would be angry and be a least a little resentful. But I wasn’t. I was determined to make a new friend and invite someone else into my realm of support. Everyone deserves friends and someone to connect to if you know how to draw boundaries and clear expectations of what you want out of the relationship. Whatever type it maybe.
I wasn’t able to meet the jealous man after all, I guess he has been reassigned units, specifically segregation for a fight or something. I am not sure, but my goal and intention made waves through this place among my community. There is alternate ways to handle drama. Every opportunity should be taken to make a negative into a positive, no matter how difficult. Even more amazing people: Inmates are doing this, were changing our behaviors, on our own, we are not old dogs that need to be put down. We are learning new tricks and deserve to get help, even if it’s from another inmate. It’s been my experience that you only get help from two places in prison, God and other inmates. Go figure.
Just wanted to brag about yet another breakthrough in our little world here. That would have ended up very badly in many other prisons and states, but not here, not at Stafford Creek. With God’s help I am making a difference and people are helping, meaning other inmates. The ones that are helping to carry the torch of non-violence and positive change deserve encouragement. Even if its only from a tiny blog that few people know about…
Jeff Utnage 823469
advocating for LGBTQ prisoners to change and mentor others