Over 7 days of intentional positivity, I actually thought it might exhaust me before I began it. I assumed it takes more energy to be nice and positive in a place meant to submit you. Everyone around me seems so angry all the time. How can I remain hopeful and upbeat when I have some power drunk college flunkie in a black uniform glaring at me? Well, that’s what this experiment was all about. How can I take control of my emotions, even in spaces such as that.

I actually found I had markedly more energy when I captured my thoughts before they turned entirely negative. My drive and focus increased to levels that I haven’t previously experienced. For instance, my ability to zero in and focus on a subject increased by several hours, where previously I would work in 10-15 minute intervals, take a small break, the return to my project. That changed with this experiment.

I also found that my hostile environment was only pseudo-hostile. Granted, some cats are mad at the world, but they shrank around me, nearly in all cases they have avoided me altogether and even post experiment they remained distant. I even had positive interaction with staff that would usually be strained at best.

I actually wrote a 7 page essay on my findings, which I cannot publish here due to political reasons and respect for my circumstances. But the overarching concept was that I was blown away how easily I could change my environment with legitimate positive intentions and reasoning. I think one staff member who read the essay said it best

“What song you sing into the universe, the universe will sing back to you. If you sing a song of negative energy, it will sing a negative song right back. Sing a song of positive energy and you will hear a positive song back.”

I love that quote and I’d like to point out I may have never heard it had two things not transpired: 1) taken the positive charge challenge and 2) came to prison.

At the risk of sounding like I have Stockholm’s syndrome, I’m happy I came here. I’ll be even happier to leave, but I’m elated I have this as an experience to carry with me.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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