As the calendar closes on one year, you really hope for good things going into the new year. Sometimes however, that isn't the case. Going into 2017, everything seemed wonderful, I was in a chill unit, had a good celly, was surrounded by good people, and everything was great in regards to my daily programming between school and the chapel activities. I honestly felt life couldn't be better, considering my being bound with life in prison.
In February, as I've previously written about, all that unraveled, and my life completely fell apart, it was turned upside down. In the end, I wound up close to my family, within ten miles of most of my immediate support. That was a blessing, but my life still felt empty, and my emotions raw. I'd left behind so much, almost like a retake on my arrest, where I lost everything, and nearly everyone.
When I found myself in my proverbial back yard, the area I spent most of my life, it was as though I was regiven my life sentence again, it became so much more real. And now I also had no program to keep me occupied, nor any of my friends. I felt done, like life wasn't worth continuing. But, God wasn't done with me, and he placed a good friend in my life who had an exceptional amount of patience and compassion, which allowed him to put up with my mood swings, and emotional neediness. Were I him, I'd have drained myself, because I was an emotional and mental wreck, which put a lot of physical strain on both he and I. I will forever be indebted to him. He has since released, and pretty much fallen off. I can't blame him, but it does feel as though a piece of my heart was torn away. I have finally accepted that I may never hear from him again, but would certainly welcome him back into my life were he to show up via mail or email. He has a family and himself to take care of, and although it is difficult, I have to accept that I may lose a lot of close friends along my path, as I'm stuck here, and they go home.
Shortly before he left, another kind person came across my path, and although nobody can replace another, as each are unique, he has truly been a blessing. Which brings me into 2018. Through the holidays leading up to 2018, I was extremely depressed. Holidays are never easy, and I was missing many people I'd lost in my life, including one I've never come to grips with in his horrendous death, which was tied to drugs. I've always battled with, since his death in 1996, the fact I abandoned him when he started using drugs when we were 16 years old. He and I were inseperable, and he was the first male who I loved. But, the drugs scared me so much, I hoped if I left his side he would quit, only he didn't, he only got worse and eventually died because of them.
I thought it would be a good idea to get my first ever tattoo, one that held much meaning. It is only three letters inside a black ribbon, but those three letters contain nearly every guy who has held, and holds, a piece of my heart. Unfortunately, I was recently caught with it, and now have to deal with the consequences that might hold, hopefully none too severe.
In the midst of the turning of the calendar, I also had to go through a major trial of someone jealous of me and my new friend's friendship. Being a gay man, in prison, you can't have a friend without it being assumed by the gossipy 'middle school girls' we are surrounded by, it more than it is, and making false acqusations. In turn, administration must look into it seriously, and thankfully the process worked itself out as it should, and the acqusations returned unfounded. Thankfully they utilize a non judgmental individual to complete their investigations. Had this happened at any other place, it is likely the results could have been different, because many places are loaded with homophobic employees. This place is different and has taken many steps to be a diverse place. They still carry the same rules, but they understand two males, one who happens to be gay, can have a friend whose is a male.
Another major obstacle 2018 has already delivered is a major blow to an ongoing, and ever progressing issue of dishonesty from the closest friend I have had since my arrest. She hit a new low, and it came at a time of other major obstacles in my life, which pushed me to the edge of my potential to continue clawing my way forward. Without going into any details, this time dishonest ways not only affected her and I, it affected her, and my, entire circle. Most would probably say, 'kick her to the ditch and carry on' But I just can't do that. She has been by my side during some of my lowest of lows, and been closer to me, and helped me, more than most of my closest friends in my lifetime, and most of my own family. I can truly say I love her, I love her like a sister and best friend. Despite the heartache she has caused at times, it is impossible to forget the blessing she has been in her many good moments. I have never been one to completely give up, were I, I'd not be alive to write this. I am the same with people, at least I am today. I gave up once on a friend, and feel I've paid for it since when he died. Today, I know that every person has potential, and I've made it my goal in life, as hard as it is at times, to not give up. Sometimes we are the only ones not giving up on the person, to include themselves. If we give up, and they already have, what do they have left? In the case of my friend who died, he had nobody, and that still, 22 years later breaks my heart. Had I, or somebody been there to help pull him from his lows, maybe he'd be here today. I am going to share my friend's name, solely for the purpose that you can pray for her, not to front her off, or to harm her, but rather to help her, because I know the power of prayer. Please pray for my best friend, Annette, as well as for me, that I continue to be the friend she needs.
2018 has been a ride thus far, o boy...