Coping with prison

Hayes, Jamil

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Coping with Prison Jamil Hayes/King Milk The other day I had a conversation with my former 10th grade math teacher. He was telling me about a situation he was going threw and I gave him my perspective on it. When we finished talking he said "Wow! It's amazing how well you put words together. I feel bad how I spend most of the call telling you about my problems. Your in there dealing with way worse but yet you still manage to smile and laugh like its nothing. How do you do it man? I'd go nuts living in those conditions." I laughed and replied "I don't know. I just deal with it!" At that time I didn't really put any thought into it. But when I sat down I really thought about the question. I thought about somebody in a cell asking themselfs how do I cope with being in prison? How do I do it? And those two questions inspired me to write this article. I want to start by saying that I didn't start my time being calm, cool and collect. I didn't start it by writing or any of the positive things that I do now. I was eighteen when I was arrested and sentenced to 25 yrs in the Georgia State Penal System. At first I didn't come to terms with it. I in simpler terms didn't cope well being 18 with 25 years to do in prison. Being young I dealt with it like I did with anything else I didn't understand. With anger and violence. I spent my time being angry with the world and every 1 in it. People I thought cared left and the people who did I pushed away. Hopeless with more time than I lived, I quickly grew accustomed to the prison lifestyle. Being at a prison where 90 percent of the inmates were 90 babies with 20 years or more, I began gang banging like I did on the street. Not abiding by the rules and aggressive towards authority. I set in my mind that I didn't care. I had 25 years, no family support and wasn't trying to fight my case. I gave up and took on a negative approach and it showed in my actions. Joining the crowd of hopeless, I ran around robbing, fighting stabbing and expressing my hurt and pain in violence. But one thing about Georgia. They plan ahead and always have a place for the extremely violent. It's called the tier program. I had to change my way of thinking or continue to experience unwanted experiences. I had to learn that the things I did only hurt myself. Not the judge, not the district attorney or the people oppressing me. Being rebellious only got me a longer sentence in lockdown. The first rule with coping with prison is deciding how your going to do your time. That must be decided first. If you decide to do good time you'll take advantage of the classes and programs the government provides. GED Motivation for Change and classes like that. You must make goals for yourself. Short term and long. Find out who you are. What you want out of life. The classes will help you with finding that out. Its a must to find peace of mind. Coping is coming to terms with a situation. Having peace of mind helps you cope. Yes you might've made a mistake but mistakes don't define you as a person. Prison isn't the end of the road. It isn't your last stop. Just a pit stop. A time out. So go ahead dust yourself off. Build your body and mind and spirit and prepare to return to your family. By using your time to educate and better yourself, your time will go by smoothly and quickly. But there's two sides to a coin. You can decide to do hard time. Instead of bettering yourself you don't sign up for educational classes. Instead you surround yourself around men who have also given up on themselves. You start doing drugs, robbing people for food that cost fifty cents at an actual gas station. Fighting, stabbing and acting as if your not ready to return to your community. Doing your time like this takes no effort but will land you in bad situations like lock down or worse high max or death row. I started my time off the wrong way. Now I'm changing the way I think because what you think gives birth to your actions. And your current situation won't change until your way of thinking changes first. In prison your already surrounded by negative so you have to be positive for yourself. I write novels and whatever else that can be done with a pen. I read, meditate, work out. Having a positive mindset helps alot. Your situation won't immediately change. But the way you look at the situation does. You stop thinking poor me and start thinking how you can be a better person? How you will use your time positively. Part of being a man/woman is understanding that if you are dealt with an unpleasant situation, you change it or accept it and adapt to it. Being negative won't change your situation so why waste energy being negative? Time waits on no man. Don't allow precious time to bypass you. No matter where you are or what your dealin with, you can always have a positive mindset. You could be in a torture chamber or in war. One of the greatest gifts we as human beings have is our mind. No man can touch it or take it. So even in the worse situations we can think positive which will help us get through it. I had to realize that I'm not the only person going through struggle. I'm not the first or the last to experience hardship. We all go through hardships. I had to stop sayin poor me an start thinking what can I learn from this? How can I use my experiences to help others? When you stop thinking "I" things will change for you. When you stop thinking negative, negative things will stop occurring. I stand firm on the concept because I was at one time always negative. I now channel my negative energy into my writing. I now motivate others to think positive. Another thing I learned is that you'll never stay in a bad situation. It'll get better for you but you have to believe it. It takes nothing to give up. But it takes a strong mind to be positive through the negative. To be a light in the darkness. It'll take you a long way. So what I'm saying isn't for coping in prison only, but in life period. You must set goals. Have a plan. If not, the smallest mishap will crush you. You have to have a positive mindset. We all experience struggle. But it won't last. If it don't kill you it will only make you stronger. So when a person asks me how do I do it through the harsh living conditions, 24/7 lockdown and the mental stress? My reply is this. I know it'll never last and any situation that arises I will over come it. It will make me stronger. Life is all about experiences. It's not about what you go through but what you learned for it. A baby might fall hundreds of times before they learn how to walk. You don't remember how many times they fell or hurt themselfs but the day they learned how to walk. If a baby can have a positive mind to continue to get back up, can't you also? And last if you don't remember nothing else I say, remember this. To cope with anything, rather it's prison, lost of a job or a loved one whatever the cause might be. It's all about taking it on with a positive mindset. Positive approach. The battle first starts in your mind. So to be able to cope you must take on the winner attitude. LeBron James doesn't say at a pregame interview "Well I think we're going to win." Instead he says "we're capable of winning tonight and will". So if your in a cell wondering how your going to do that time or make it through whatever your going through stop! Talk with a winners language. I am going to make it. You can do anything. I mean anything that you put your mind to. That's how I cope with prison and with life. With a winners attitude!

Author: Hayes, Jamil

Author Location: Georgia

Date: April 10, 2019

Genre: Essay

Extent: 3 pages

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