Allright, so yesterday was a bad day. I’ll admit my confidence hasn’t been so low in years. Ever had a project you’ve been working on for a long time? Well I have eaten, slept, dreamed and breathed an LGBT peer support group since early 2014. I have faced many challenges that have included everything from death threats to being outright laughed at. I was told hundreds of times it will never happen and hundreds more doubted I could ever do it. But here we are in 2016 and this year we had the States first prison LGBTI Pride event where LGBTI people were celebrated marking a noted shift in the Departments thinking towards LGBTI people. Now we are in September and my group is about to begin. 

What does his have to do with a bad day? No one but staff knows how much I have endured to accomplish this much, how much work and anguish. The fire I’ve taken, and btw, none of it possible without God. So imagine my surprise when someone who’s been here for a few months comes in and informs me when the group is about to start. Informing me he’s met with administration and everything is on track. What? 

My ego got stepped on and as a result my confidence lowered immediately. By the end of the night I felt fickle and childish. But inside I felt like an expectant mother who is about to give birth and already someone is waiting to take my child before its mature. 

So I did what anybody who is thinking irrationally does, I emailed the Administration responsible and expressed my hurt.
Yeah, I know. I don’t regret expressing but I regret the weakening of my confidence it represented. I spent way to much time relying on emotion and feelings and as a result I acted out of emotion which rarely goes well. I knew that, but now I just have to chalk it up, you cant go back now. I cant redo yesterday, in fact, I wouldn’t even if I could. 

You see, I know that my future holds much more challenging things then prison support groups and I am going to need a pretty thick skin and some serious determination to not fail again. Every time I run into a situation that challenges how I react is another learning experience for me. Every time I make a mistake is one more down and eventually I’ll run out of mistakes to make and I’ll start getting this right. There isn’t exactly a “How To” for my life and what I have planned. Activism, advocacy and peer support are difficult things because for every group that needs love there is also an even bigger group that hates them. 

So bring on the bad days baby, because I’d bet that life runs out of them before I die.

With Love
Jeff Utnage