I wish I could answer with an answer that compels the reader to believe prison is solely what you make of it. You can be happy anywhere all the time type of answer. You know, be happy and fake it until you make it type of thing. Like hard days don’t happen to the strongest of us or the weakest.

My truth is that sometimes prison runs my mind to the edge of insanity and it is only by pure proverbial core strength that I can grip the edge and keep from tipping. Sometimes my pinky toes are all the hold me upright, sometimes that’s the only muscle left with any strength to stay put.

Sometimes I have days so good I wonder if I’ll ever have a bad one. On top of the world type of mind, can’t nothin’ stop me type of vibes. I try to avoid them because every majestic mountain top is girded by some of the deepest valleys and I must come down, for a mountain only has its one highest peak. In order for me to reach the next I must descend into the valley below.

Please, do not mistake this answer for my own melancholy-ness or for the evoke-ment of your pity. I value neither for I am not an absurd creature. Granted, I have absurd moments and thoughts but my being, my humanity is far from absurd. Indeed, my friends have wished upon me to be more absurd! And that for my own benefit! I think not.

Prison is just like mountain climbing. We have choices to traverse the path that leads us into some of the most haunting valleys harboring some of the darkest and loneliest of nights we will ever know while we look up to the next majestic and promising peak where God Himself seems to sit. Then we will climb to that peak and see the next shimmering peak where that clandestine shimmer seems to escape our lucidity yet again and we must make the hard choice to descend our latest achievement into the depths so we may perhaps feel the warm embrace of success upon an even mightier peak.

That’s what prison is like. Never even keel, always extreme. Mellow, even tempered, always sane prisoners I have only met in instances where they are heavily medicated or know not they are in prison, for they are insane.

With Love
Ruth Utnage