I remember when I was in my early twenties I got the bright idea that I wanted to be a cage fighter. I seen an ad on a website and decided I was going to go for it. I had no training and had not been in very many fights, however, I was sure it was meant to be.

Then reality set in, I had no money, no gas to travel to the state the fight was in. It just wasn’t meant to be. When I talked to my Mother about it she spoke words of truth to me, “You are not a cage fighter, you have no means to do this.” I replied something angrily to her, some b.s. about blocking my dreams etc etc (ahh, the dumb shit we say…)

But then my Mother said something I will never forget, she said it angrily, or more fed up, like she had finally had enough of my (or the worlds maybe) countless ‘destinies’. She said “Trust me, if you were really meant to go do this, nothing and I mean nothing would stop you. Not me, nothing.”

I have carried that with me throughout my life. Waiting for my “nothing will stop me from doing this” moment. All the work I put in for prison reform and dismantling the “prison heirarchy” (prison gangs), getting beat up for it etc etc, it all came to a screeching halt when I was transferred to a prison for protective custody. It was eye opening and I thought to myself that perhaps I needed to know my limitations, slow down a bit.

As the days have ticked by something clicked in me…I cannot stop. It’s not that I have this need to not be defeated or a message to get out above all costs. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. What I do know is this, I do not have a choice to continue my work as an advocate, activist and prison reform mentor. This hunger inside me drives my brain and my actions.

People are depending on me to not stop, to not give up my quest, my destiny, my fate.

I want to challange each and every one of you to seek the same. There is something you are meant to do in life, something that will challenge you mentally and physically. It will be so hard on you that you think you might break down pyschologically and go crazy, yet you keep doing it anyway because this hunger or drive pushes you to your limits. You just can’t help it.

Greatness awaits on the other side of that wall and I cannot wait to see you get there.

Please, please, please go and get it.

With Love,
Jeff Utnage