#195 Lost posts on Prison talk; for mothers

May 20, 2010 at 4:08 am Leave a comment

Lost posts from Prison Talk: For Mothers

Well, I know this is past Mother’s Day, but I wanted to jump right in this blog and share with you a post I wrote a few years ago. As many of you know, I have hundreds of what I call “retro” blogs. I’ve been writing on prison issues since about 2002, and have written for numerous prison support sites.

One of those is Prison Talk, who banned me for reasons I explained several times on this blog…so much for prison support….and in that process they closed my account… both of them. My original name was Masonik4, but also went under Nolaw97 later on. Both of those names have been condemned to Hades…by the moderators and owner of PTO.

But my works still remain, in fact I saved a lot of them. It is one of those I wish to share with you tonight (as I start this blog at 11:22pm).

This post is actually titled, “What my mom didn’t see”, and I wrote this post August 29th, 2005 on Prison Talk. I wrote this under the forum of “Parents with Children in prison”. When I was a member, I usually wrote under 3 forums: the NC Forum (of which I no longer have any respect for the moderator), the Parents with Children in prison forum, and the Girlfriends with boyfriends in prison forum.

I didn’t like writing for the last one, because I found that in most cases, the members don’t really pay attention to anybody, they are too busy slapping up posts without really reading anybody elses. So the same question could be asked 10 times on 10 different posts, or 10 different people venting for the sake of venting. That kinda sucks, because if I take the time to write a post to help, it gets flushed down the forum because 20 other people are just flapping their gums about how cute their “man” is. But because of that traffic, I was hoping to hit a few home runs with some posts.

The Parents with children in prison forum wasn’t nearly as bad, its like the mothers there were looking for answers, but often times didn’t get one, because so few people wrote based off experience. So I shared this post, which I will share with you, then follow up with some more talk:

The following is from the post, “What my mom didn’t see”:

“I was thinking of about 100 different things we could discuss here, because there is so much to say about prison, but I was writing some posts on the NC forums that had me thinking about how I felt when I got out of prison about 4 years ago. There is obviously that great feeling of happiness and joy of being free, but this wears down when you have to get back to the sometimes unforgiving life as we know it. Sometimes things can go well, for many inmates they might have things set so they can pop back into the swing of things. For others it isn’t so easy, and for others it is near impossible. I think I was in one of those last two categories, as are most inmates.

But one thing I was determined to do is not to let my mom worry about me. I was not about to let her see how miserable I was. Even when I was in county jail, and she came to visit me, she never saw me discouraged. I always tried to be as positive as I could for her. She was already sad, why make it any harder.

Because of that, there were things mom never say of me that I know if she did, she may well have broken down. It may be the same things your loved ones might have done or are doing or will do. I wanted to share at least one of those things, based on my experience.

Mom always saw me doing what I could to make things work. Sure, a lot of things didn’t go according to plan, and many of my ideas fell apart, leaving me with nothing. But in every situation, I tried to be upbeat, letting her know how things had to get better.

But what she didn’t see is my anguish, my tears, my anger and complete frustration in my room late at night. She could not have seen my feelings of absolute and complete failure in my life. She never heard how I whispered to myself how I could not make anything work. She didn’t see the endless nights of prayer on my knees, wondering why nothing was working at all. She could not possibly know how many nights I “went to bed” but not get much sleep. Many nights I would be up to as late as 2am, wondering where I went wrong and why nothing was working, while getting up at 8am with the fear of the upcoming day, wondering if things could get worse or better.

Mom didn’t see that, nor would I allow her. I had to be strong, positive and encouraging, letting her know that everything was going to be ok…but many nights I felt that nothing was going to work out. I was fighting to keep my payments on my restitution, and I was losing bad. If it was a baseball game, the score would have been 50-1 in the bottom of the ninth. It was not looking better for me, and because of that my nights were pure hell. I hated going to bed because it marked the end of a terrible day, where I had accomplished nothing. At least with daylight there were possibilities; maybe something in the mail, or a phonecall, or maybe I could go somewhere to do something. But at night nothing happened, which meant the failure of the day was something I had to sleep with…and it was not pleasant.

Mom never saw me sitting on my sofa in my bedroom in pitch darkness, wondering why my life was so pitiful. Mom never saw me cry quietly, tears streaming down my eyes as I held on to a pillow as if I could find comfort. Mom never knew how terrible I felt, after giving this everything I could, and coming up with nothing. She knew that I worked for a “christian” radio station that paided me $3 an hour when they knew they should have been paying me at least minimum wage. She knew they fired me instead of paying me what I deserved.

Mom also knew that a kid I met while in jail, whom I looked after multiple times, and even paid his bond while I was still in jail, took advantage of my friendship. She knew that the day he got out, and came to visit me, he stole $600 from my brother. Mom told me she could understand my brother being upset, but she was worried about me, because I had trusted this kid after several years of helping him.

Mom also knew that I was working with my professor to do some local originations in the state, and we were so close to getting things going. She saw so many times how we were stalled and how difficult it was to make things work.

Mom saw how I worked as a bagger at a local grocery and lost my job when the pastor made a negative comment about me. She saw where the pastor, who owned the station I used to work for, said, “you can’t trust what an ex-felon says”. He caused me to lose my job at the grocery store because of the image, and I was left unemployed. A “Man of God” cost me not one, but two jobs, and it was getting increasingly hard to pay my restitution.

But what mom also saw was my determination to keep trying, even until the end. I was on a time frame, because if I didn’t pay that restitution, I could be in violation of my probabtion, and be sent back to prison for another 3 years. I had done everything right as far as my probation officers were concerned, I had no blemish and was doing some things to help myself. But because the restitution was part of the probation, it was my biggest problem. I just could not make enough money to pay that off, and my situations were making it virtually unbearable. But mom didn’t see me worry, I could not let her see it, I WOULD not let her see it. Someway, somehow, something had to work in my favor. It just HAD to.

So mom never saw how I really felt, and how difficult this period in my life was, and for that I am grateful. That meant mom didn’t have to worry; well, she would worry anyway, but why make it worse? In the end, things seem to be working ok, and if things go well, I will start to see the fruit of some of my goals. Maybe then all those sleepless nights will be a thing of the past, and mom won’t have to worry about me so much, because she’s gonna do that anyway…

that’s what moms do, which is why there are things your loved ones don’t want you to see. No one wants their loved ones to worry too much, so sometimes there are things that won’t be told to you, to keep you from worrying. Again, you’ll do enough of that on your own, why make it worse? And if an inmate is trying to make things happen, trying to make things work, the last thing he needs is a parent or loved one who is overly worried. So keep that in mind, understand that maybe your loved one might be trying to handle this to keep you from being too concerned, but understand that they do that because they love you that much. If you can understand that, it would then buy him time to hopefully get himself on track. All he needs is time, and your encouragement. See that he gets that.”

(end of post)

When you read that post, I hope you are getting the idea that we’re not talking about a perfect citizen here, I never claimed to be that. But there is such a painful disappointment when you try, and try and try, and come up with failure. When I got out of prison in 2001, I honestly felt I could turn things around, and I could become a financial success before my probation ended. It just seemed like I could do it, and I could help my family by becoming a great success, to kinda make up for the things they went through while I was in prison.

It was all good intentions…but none worked…in fact, none came even close.

This included my books, “Grades of Honor”, which I truly, truly felt would be THE ticket. I mean, I had so many people on PTO asking me if I ever wrote a book, so it seemed right to do it. But I got virtually no support at all from the very people who kept saying “God bless you”…

And let’s clear this now, its not like I was expecting people to PAY me for writing, that’s a twisted way of looking at this. I had been writing, at the time of that post, for about 4 years, and had written at least one book. I would have GLADLY written a thousand more posts for PTO to help others, but I was now faced with the reality that for all the good I was trying to do…not one bit of it could help me buy a 50 cent soda if I had 49 cents.

You cannot know how many nights I spent in my bedroom, quite literally drained lifeless. Nothing was working. And it was frustrating.

But maybe I am a fool, but I kept believing that somehow, someway, something has to work. So I wrote that post, put it up, in hopes that others could find some help. I got some responses from that post:

“I’ll say it again – you’re good! I haven’t had to do that as a mom, but as a girlfriend I saw a lot of it. Frantic mental scurrying like a hamster on a wheel, tears, frustration. I do promise you that not all “men of God” are so bigoted.

Keep on writing!”

“I knew if I searched over here…I would find something so remarkable…and touching….I found you. This is wonderful.…”

“What a kind hearted being you are,with a heart of Gold…You are AMAZING!! Thank you for your words..You are a true inspiration,”

“Masonik4… You sound like my son. Before he went in he started consoling me and telling me what a blessing this would turn out to be . He was so right. He is still encouraging me to find the postive things and not worry so much. He has gotten his GED and is now getting certifications in electronics training. Most important he has gotten things right with God. He uplifts me. We made a pact. only one of us can be down at a time. May things go easier on you soon.”

These were the kinds of comments I was getting from most of my posts, and mind you, this was BEFORE I really got into blogging. In fact, the very idea of blogging came from a member of PTO, who suggested to me about it. I had never heard of the word “blog” before, and had no idea what that meant, and how it could help me promote my works.

But when you read those comments, you can see that there is a real genre of people looking for REAL help. Not just wanting to vent, not wanting to talk about “their man”, not acting like they know everything about prison because somebody they knew told them about it, not members trying to rack up 25000 posts by copying and pasting, “hi and welcome to PTO”. These were people who came looking for help.

And when they found it, they let me know in their words. That meant so much to me, because it was solid proof that if nothing else, I was still doing good things for others. I was still being me, the same guy before I went to prison, the same WHILE I was in prison, and the same after I did my time. Not perfect, just me.

You can tell how many mothers really needed to read what I was sharing, and how they could relate to the things I was trying to get to them.

Something interesting was also mentioned, something I don’t fully agree with, but did not have the heart to mention on that post. I won’t share the comment here, and for the record, it was nothing negative, so don’t think it was.

But one mom made a comment that she believed that my mom wasn’t totally in the dark, that mothers always know how their son’s feel. A mother knows more about their son than their son might give her credit for. She mentions how she knows so much about her son, and how she knows when he is upset, and how he is always surprised when he knows that SHE knows.

Now…to be fair, there is a lot of truth in that. A mother may well know much about her son, more than their son would admit.

But not to offend any mother reading this…to know EVERYTHING about your son would make you God…

And you’re not.

It sounds like I am splitting hairs, but it sounds comforting for a mother to think she knows everything about her children. And let’s not kid ourselves, moms know a LOT about their children. You can’t raise a kid from birth, to their 5th birthday, 10th birthday, 15th birthday and further without knowing a lot about him.

But to know everything…no, not possible.

When my mom came to visit me while I was in county jail, she told me that she could not understand how I was so calm in all my troubles. She told me that she tried to come to give me comfort, but it was always me giving her comfort. This was because I had resolved in myself to not break down in front of mom, or anybody else. No human being knows how much I cried in that jail cell, no person knew how many times I attempted suicide. Nobody knew how many times I prayed to God with tears in my eyes, hoping beyond hope for a miracle.

Nobody knew that…not even mom.

We sometimes forget how complex our thinking gets the older we get. It is easy to predict what a 5 year old kid will do if you raised him from birth, but it gets harder to predict the actions of a 20 year old son, or 25 year old son, or a 30 year old son, ect.

Moms will always know many things about their son, no doubt, but not everything.

So I didn’t fully agree with the person who made the comment, but I kept that within myself. She meant well in what she said, and if it gave comfort to the other readers, then all the better. But when I said that there were things mom didn’t see in me, I meant it. She didn’t see the anguish I went through, I would not let her see that.

In fact, the ONLY time she saw it was at the end of my probation, when I had failed to make any money to pay my restitution. Mom was worried that if I didn’t have the money, I would be in violation of probation, and could be sent back to prison. Imagine that…going to prison for being broke…

I won’t share the whole story here, but it took a miracle to get the financial help. On the last day, I sat in my room, praying for a miracle, when mom came in and told me that she could get the money via a loan.

Although I felt relieved, I also felt horrible because for 3 years after my release, I could not do ANYTHING right. I tried, I tried, I tried, and nothing was working. My “Grades of Honor” books weren’t going anywhere, I could not get a job, I could not even start up my mail order business, and the acting and writing venues I was working on burned to the ground. I was one big failure, and it hurt.

It was then, that I broke down in front of my mom, the only time she saw me break down. I told her, “I tried, but nothing was working”. All she could do was hold me in her arms, saying, “ I know son, I know.”

She knew I was trying…but until then, she had no idea how much it was hurting me. I always carried a smile, a prayer and hope when I was in front of anybody. But at night, alone in that bedroom, I felt like the biggest failure in the world.

I didn’t share that to put fear or worry in you, I share that because I remember that time, and I want to encourage you to keep your loved ones encouraged. You just don’t know how valuable it can be, not knowing how he really feels about now.

Well, anyway, that was one of many I saved off the site. No doubt the site spits on my posts now, and I know the owner curses my name when he can, he certainly did in an email to me awhile back. But I hope this helps some of you. Maybe I can share more later. Until then, email me about my books, cards and if you want to support my blogs. Until next blog….

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Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#194 Prison talk: waiver NOT #196 Lost posts on Prison talk: Books

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