“TV & Nirvana”

Today was the second nice sunny day of the year. I’ve begun running a few miles in the morning again, and I’ve been lifting during the week when I have gym callouts, which took months to get. There, it’s less stressful and easier to get the weight you want versus making do with whatever’s available in the weight pit (which it frequently isn’t).

I can’t believe it’s already spring. Time’s flying by…

I still don’t know when I’m coming home. Prison gossip has it that because of the coronavirus, they’ll start letting some of us go. They won’t. 

I’ve been reading a lot of new-Agey self-help stuff lately. A year ago, it was “The Celestine Prophecy”; two months ago, “The Secret”; this week, “The Power of Now”.

The latter has granted me more serenity than any of the others, or any religion ever has. The book’s mostly about presence and mindfulness, about letting go of the past, erasing your guilt. That true transformation only transpires when you’re completely present etc etc. I even wrote a little note to myself on my picture board: “Attention: You Are Here and Now.” It’s a powerful reminder.

One thing about prison that I’ve struggled with is the intense self-reflection and soul-searching that’s jumpstarted that first restless night behind bars. How did I get here? I mean, not just the crime, but the series of events, actions, and poor choices culminating in a prison bit. I don’t even think of myself as a criminal. BUt i get hung up on memories of embarrassing myself: getting too fucked up, not fucking this girl and screwing that one, blowing off school, graduating but just barely. I get torn up about how much time I’ve wasted and dicked around, how I didn’t own a car throughout my 20s. Now, I’m trying to let all of that go.

From what I’ve been reading, all that stuff doesn’t define me, unless I let it. By that, I mean the past doesn’t determine how I act right now; I need to accept each moment as it unfolds. In these reveries, I start to feel light, even free. I make private vows to be a new, better person.

I’m gonna take this time to build habits. I’m working out–the other day I saw myself in the one clear mirror in the bathroom, surprised to see muscular limbs and huge shoulders. They were like…what’s the word?…haunches? I was also able to get clean and quit smoking. I don’t even crave cigs at all, if they are available. I tried one once, and afterwards I couldn’t believe how bad I smelled. I finally understand how some people find it disagreeable, but fear that I could become the ex-, now militantly anti-, smoker.

I’m careful to discipline my mind. Although I can hate that I’m in prison as life keeps going on, i can do my best to surrender to that reality. 

Otherwise, I’ll come down with the worst case of FOMO, a common disease here.

I realized the other day that I’m the worst criminal ever. The other inmates even make fun of me for it, for being obvious when skirting the rules.

I no longer dream of coming home soon, but I still make big plans. I watch Ridiculousness and fall in love with Chanel West Coast. She’s my prison crush. I imagine sitting on the couch next to her as a guest on the show and telling her that. In my vision, she laughs.

She’s one of the handful of TV chicks that prisoners become obsessed with. Wendy Williams is another. I structure my days around what’s on TV. New shows worth watching: American Pickers, Dispatches From Elsewhere, Vanderpump Rules, Summer House, Dave, Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Pawn Stars, Ancient Aliens.

I read The Walking Dead graphic novel the other day and was reminded of the coronavirus. I see what that series is so beloved; it’s flexible, but it’s a particularly apt metaphor for what’s going on today with this disease. I heard the world out there has undergone many more changes than here. Nothing much has changed. I wonder if I was released tomorrow what kind of world would I be entering? Would I be like Rick waking in a hospital bed to a totally alien world?

I just try to stay occupied. I do a lot of crossword puzzles. I have 7 pages of definitions copied from the dictionary. I read. I bullshit on the yard. I workout. Shower and jerkoff. Forget who I am for 20 seconds.

And then when it all comes crashing down, that I probably won’t be home for a few years, that I haven’t gotten laid in 22 months (as of two weeks ago), that I’ll be spending my best years locked up, I see my little note…

Attention: You Are Here and Now

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