From diplomatic back rubs, to social suck-offs, the better we become in our communication, the more I question whether this communication is actually institutionalization. 

As the time goes by, I find myself making light years of the cliche tic “personal growth”, but it is becoming my belief that our personal growth is none other than the conformity we exhibit from a desire for the social suck-off we crave from society. Peel away the panties, the jargon and the rest of the rhetorical devices, and this amounts to institutionalization.
A few definitions.
Social suck-off – The occurrence of positive stimulus from society as a result of rehabilitation and hard work. Most commonly, we receive social suck-offs from our family, as they are our biggest believers and supporters.
Diplomatic back rub – Publicly commenting on the altruism of some person, or stroking her/his ego for the purpose of a better working relationship, or for the simplification of future processes.

Institutionally challenged – Incarcerated.

In a heated situation, which are fortunately not too often, I debase myself to the convict when I communicate in a positive manner – the way I feel like is right and proper. They call me punk and bitch, and I bite my tongue, finding positive ways to deal with the situation. Knowing that it would be contradicting my need to practice a better way of communication by telling the convict that “I’m not afraid of you” and/or flash mob happy birthdaying them, I resign myself to being the voice of reason. I un-zip my soul, pull out my pulsating dignity, and with a firm grip, I gently squeeze until a bright yellow stream of steaming pride pours forth, spattering onto my state issue shoes. My hands are warm and wet with pride. Only rarely in my life have I tasted pride, and so out of pure curiosity, I taste it.. unsurprisingly, it tastes exactly like piss. And that the bitter pungent taste is upon my tongue, is indicative that I have provoked the convict by organizing a crowd of 50 strangers to sing him happy birthday, when it wasn’t his birthday, in hopes that he may be taught a lesson. Why hadn’t anyone told me there were two brands of pride (The sweet type and the acrid type)?
But I digress. By communicating positively, I find myself to be perceived as manipulative, condescending and other such big words. From years of experience, I’ve found that being direct and honest gives the best results. However, it’s strange that the expectations of most other people are such that my words have hidden meaning or that there must be more I’m not telling them… when precisely the opposite is true. I believe that it is perfectly okay to be told no and not to take offense. Similarly, I feel like Telling somebody “no” should come without retaliation and hard feelings. I also believe that decisions should be dealt in small portions in a heated situation. In other words, I follow the practice of not making decisions that are influenced by emotions. This requires me to sit on a problem until I’m less sensitive to it, before I determine what is to be done. When I do this, I believe I’m solving it logically, in an axiomatic way. As well, I believe in the value of respecting a persons feelings even when I don’t agree with them, as a sort of diplomatic back rub, for the purpose of living easier so as to create the illusion of community values inside prison… the hope being that others might mimic the concept, shedding the curtain of illusion to that of reality.
For the institutionally challenged to exhibit behaviors that are not only positive and nonviolent but also rational, seems to cause the general populous to be taken back. Surely it’s not the norm. Strangely, it pisses many people off. I just want to say what I feel and mean, without you getting offended, as I mean no offense by it. And don’t feel obligated to indulge me in a social suck-off. I actually prefer self gratification. It tastes so much sweeter when you’re proud of yourself.. The other kind is like to get spit into the toilet, as opposed to getting swallowed. No. The joy of personal accomplishment is the feeling of peace… and purpose. Nobody’s kudo’s are anywhere near as impactful than the feeling you get when you want to pat yourself on the back.

Finally, the question arises as to the irregularity of walking the path of positive communication and productive living. I am an anomaly here. I can’t say I would’ve shown this type of behavior OUT of prison. Yes, I am institutionally challenged. But the challenge is patience. Other than that, it’s easy, and has become a community where myself, and a few of us, practice our positive communication and healthy decision making, despite the “normal behavior”. We adapted. I have become somebody who bends reality to fit what I want it to look like. The rule is elementary. If I want something, no matter how big, I must provide it for “the whole class”. For that, I have given countless diplomatic back rubs, but in the process, I have shared the playing fields with international mathematicians and physicists. I have done this in such a way that the whole prison (the whole class) reaps the benefit of higher education. I am a force. …And I find myself asking the question. What is institutionalization, really? Is this communication and effort that everyone seems so “put off” by – that everyone seems to react so adversely to – a sign of the inevitable? My actions and behaviors are planned and executed in such a way that my immediate surroundings have a homely feel. Could this homely feel be the mask worn by institutionalization? And are other people’s negative feelings from my idea of positivity just indicators of my being fooled by the grip of institutionalization? Please… if I’m the douche bag, I think it’s time to let me in on the secret. And if so, answer me one last question. What the hell IS positive communication? 

Christopher Havens