Cunningham, Travis



"Benevolence" As I sit here contemplating what I would like to share with the masses, I'm left reflecting on years past. Some ask how I've been able to sustain my mental stability in such dismay times. As one must imagine life in captivity and the bellicosity this environment brings can cause a person to feel indifferent from humanity and civility. Prison tends to remove those simply human attributes and instead replace them with an abysmal, diabolic, malicious nature, essentially turning a slightly flawed individual into a tyrant. It can be a daunting task trying to fight back daily against the hateful culture prison tends to exhibit. How does one keep their splentic tendencies in check you ask? Well it's simple, you decide that you want to be above reproach, you make a conscious decision to dig deep & find the mental fortitude that we all have, and utilize it to bring out the virtuous decorum that has remained dormant while you've been held in captivity. The vertigo you feel from living in a place that reduces you to a second class citizen can cause despondency which is why you may feel the need to abdicate any lasting hope of returning to society undamaged. Yet, you must fight back against aberration, and find a way to see the beauty in your existence. There is beauty around us no matter what our physical surrounding may look like. It can be something minuscule like a polite gesture from a fellow prisoner holding the door open for you, or hearing a bird outside your window sing their beautiful song, watching the sun reflect off the cinder block wall & enjoy being a kid again making hand puppets using the wall as your personal screen. This may all sound like trivial things that many may laugh at which is fine. Maybe, I'd laugh too, had I not gone through days that my depression was so pertinacious it almost caused my early demise. Incarceration can seem opaque for those who haven't lived through it, I'd like to think writing and sharing my thoughts can begin to help others outside of prison hear our voices and empathize with your struggle. Trepidation, dejection and pestilence that accompanies an individual returning back to the community can all be erased if the community expresses a willingness to be magnanimous & express repudiation in the face of hate. I'm inclined to believe in humanity over tyranny.

Author: Cunningham, Travis

Author Location: Wisconsin

Date: May 17, 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 2 pages

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