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Inspiration

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freebird1
freebird1's picture
Inspiration

My long standing pp has written the following, and would be more than happy for anyone here to forward/share it with their ppl's.  Even if the overall message gives just one person hope that they can achieve something whilst enduring incarceration, then it's worth sharing. I am really proud of him on so many levels, as he's been locked away for 26 yrs and only recently been able to identify with himself as being a very worthwhile person.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENT II
I began realizing I was hurting less and less. I was still feeling bouts of depression and self-pity, but I didn't get discouraged. I kept my mind firmly on my legal studies. I had made what was, I am sure, the most valuable discovery I shall ever make in my entire life. I had learned that we can choose our thoughts and by choosing our thoughts we can, to a large extent, control whether we are happy or unhappy.
I felt a sense of panic when my segregation time ended, thought. What would I think about now? What would I do? The minute I was released back into general population with all the other prisoners I requested to be placed on law library call-out and after a few times of showing up an old friend came to my rescue. He suggested that I enroll in a legal correspondence course. I decided to take the hardest paralegal course available because I thought it would force me to do a lot of interesting reading which would occupy my mind.
To my amazement, I discovered I was able to comprehend the fundamentals of effective arguments to the principles, structures, and assumptions that underlie our complex legal system. My brain was now working overtime. It had never occurred to me that I could ever become a certified paralegal while in prison, but the law librarian assured me this was possible and encouraged me to take the legal courses I was contemplating, which I did. By the third month I was carrying a full-time course load. A year later I completed the curriculum and graduated with honors. I was now a certified paralegal and began encouraging and teaching others how to perfect their criminal appeals. Imagine me, the poor little Mexican boy, teaching American legal studies to other inmates, but I think I am doing well, and I love this line of work. I am now contemplating beginning work towards an associates degree in criminal justice.
My almost primitive effort to keep myself sane by thinking happy thoughts instead of painful ones in my head led to another real turning point in my life. It caused me to literally stumble into self-education, which is now leading me to have a career instead of a job.
My hope is that maybe someone will be feeling a little down and will read what I have written and say, well, look how bad things were for him and then see how much better they got.
I'll close with this quote from Plato: "Our eyes can be turned toward the light as well as toward the dark . . . we all have eyes, though we do not know where to look."

Firefeather
Firefeather's picture

Wow, thank you for sharing such an inspirational and intimate post. Beautifully written! His message will certainly bring a lot of joy to others in similar situations. XXX

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

I love signing in to see people sharing this kind of stuff on here, because these are the stories that should be garnering more attention than all the piddly negative stuff often surrounding prisoners. I'm so glad you came back to share that with us Freebird. 
Also, tell your PP what an amazing thing he has accomplished and achieved, that his story is heartwarming and gives me hope for others in similar situations. 

freebird1
freebird1's picture

@Firefeather the amazing thing is his grammar and way of expressing himself has only developed because of his dedication to learning and self teaching. That on it's own is admirable I think, and I hope anyone reading this post will choose to share it with others. Because as you say Violet, these are the stories that need to get out there, and thank you for your kind words. I will most certainly pass on your lovely comments, as it will really make his day to know other people are reading his words.

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Freebird, that sounds exactly like my pen pal in Michigan!  Are we corresponding with the same inmate?  It really sounds like him to the T.  I could swear I've even read these same words from him beore!  I'm consumed with curiosity now...

mjuran
mjuran's picture

In fact, I'm 100% sure now you're quoting my Pen pal in Michigan, now that I've read this a second time.  ???

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Freebird, so this pen pal is a long standing pen pal of yours, and of mine, but he's not told me of any other pen pals he has?  I know he's been looking for others, in fact I helped him rewrite his bio in an effort to find more pen pals for him, but until last time I heard from him, last week, he said he wasn't exchanging letters with anyone but me.  And I can't believe this is not the same person, although my pen pal has been locked up for a longer (37 years, not 26).  I felt sure my pen pal was on the level with me about everything, but now I'm having serious doubts.  I posted his own "Greatest accomplishment" essay on this forum a couple of months ago, for the same reason--it's inspirational, and I was proud of him--and it's almost word for word the same essay.  How do I wrap my head around this?  Help me out, please!

mjuran
mjuran's picture

I've now sent your post to my pen pal and asked him for an explanation.  As I see it, either he's been lying to me, or your pen pal has been lying to you.  Or they are the same person, and he's been lying to both of us.  I'm going to drop him like a hot potato if that's the case.  This is extremely upsetting to me, because people lying to me about the nature of their relationship and feelings about me is one thing I cannot tolerate anymore.  I've had too much of that.  I won't be able to trust him again.  And I did think I could trust him.  :(

Selosa
Selosa's picture

Mjuran calm down. I remembered this message as soon as I started reading it. So you think the only possiblities are the penpals are lying? That's the only possibility that comes to your mind?

freebird1
freebird1's picture

Hi mjuran I've just read your comments, and am well, totally shocked! This is not good news at all, because what you're saying I totally agree with. This isn't the place to discuss this further,which I'm more than willing to do...would you like to get in touch privately so we can chat?  shydannyboy at g mail dot com . And if this turns out to be right I am so very sorry

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Selosa, what else would you think it could be?

Freebird, I'll send you an email directly.  Thank you for responding quickly, this has really rattled me!  I think my pen pal is a great guy, I hope it turns out there's an innocent explanation for it all.  Talk to you soon...

freebird1
freebird1's picture

@selosa.... not sure what your comment is referring to. But I posted in good faith, and one thing I cannot stand is people who lie either! This last 12 months I have had my fair share of being fed lies,  bad attitudes and being misrepresented. So, whatever your comment is supposed to mean, if it is directed at me, then explain please. Now I have had time to think about what mjuran has said I am angry and upset too.. because it sounds like we have both been played.  People are always so quick to make judgement of others without full knowledge of situations, and it really pisses me off.  Adding your thoughts is one thing, making cryptic comments of accusation is another.

 

Selosa
Selosa's picture

Someone copying and reposting your message? Someone who doesnt even know howlong your penpal has been in prison?

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

I recognized the text as well yesterday, but chose not to respond. (And no, I have no MI pp). But I knew I had read it posted by Mjuran before and had also commented on it on that thread.

As far as the rest goes: That has two layers, in my opinion. One is it may very well be happening that someone copied that part of the text (the one I had originally read is longer, but herein part 1 is missing)and used it.

The other thing is: Yes, you may have been both writing to the same inmate. Which, in itself, wouldn't be a problem, would it? The problem would be him telling he had no other pps, i.e. lying. Because if he did, the question would arise what else he did or didn't tell.

And while this may cause hurt feelings, hey... it's not really "being played", is it? Or did he propose to any of the two of you?

I think there's a small, but fine line between distorting the truth and playing pp. A thin line, maybe, but tio me it would exist.

All the best,

Kirsten

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Here's what I just wrote to my pen pal, after talking to Freebird.  Perhaps it will explain to Selosa why I don't need to "calm down" and why the immediate suspicion of having been misrepresented to in a significant way, is entirely warranted here.

"Dear [xxxx],

Well, I'm at a loss for words right now, but I'll work on getting some few out for now, because I really do feel the need to understand a couple of things. Hm. I've exchanged emails with [xxxx], and I know she's written to you also, and we've both by now expressed our surprise and puzzlement at the now-revealed fact that you've been writing to both of us--fairly intensely and frequently and intimately--as female pen friends, and representing to both of us that there is no other significant person or friend with whom you're corresponding. I don't know exactly what you've represented to [xxxx] about her centrality or importance or depth of connection in your life, but what I feel you've represented to me is that I am a friend of significant value and that my letters to you are the highlight of your day, and that you have hopes pinned on things we were going to work on and do together, and that you trusted me enough to want to strip yourself bare and reveal your innermost soul to me, and felt we had a real and totally honest connection.  Also that you're in love with me. If I had someone like that in my life that I felt that way about, and then I had another friend that I also felt that way about, I am 100% sure those friends would know of each other and their place in my life.  That's all. It would not be something I'd minimize, when representing to the other friend, or to other people. That is not what I'd do, so it has me rattled that apparently that IS what YOU would do. I don't understand. Why?

The other day I wrote you about a time in my life that changed me, describing things I have never told or written about to anyone. I don't regret that, it was a powerful exercise for me, myself, to write about. I have a different and better perspective, a clearer narrative about myself, now. That is beneficial. But if I have accidentally put my personal psychic pain out there to be consumed for casual amusement by someone not giving me the real deal full scoop about who they really are and what they are looking for, then I regret that. I wish I had not chosen you to tell that stuff to. Hmph!

I have given some thought to why you might have felt the need to double-deal with us here. Why? I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt, and think you learned some bad concepts about relationships early on, that you've never had a chance to unlearn. I don't want to put words in your mouth. I'll let you explain it to me, if you are willing to. I would like to hear, what this is. Thank you."

I'll hope to hear from you soon.

Mjuran

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Selosa, I found your jumping the gun and making judgmental assumptions about ME making judgmental assumptions, to be offensive.  Next time can you not assume whatever it is you were assuming about copying and lying and assuming and whatnot?  Jeez.

freebird1
freebird1's picture

Ok....been out for a walk with the dogs to clear the thought processes. I will admit reading mjurans comments left me feeling a bit shell shocked. Because I posted the text in good faith, never for one moment thinking it might have been duplicated. I haven't been on the forum for several months, due to other things going on, which left me feeling a bit unsettled to say the least, so haven't been keeping up to date with all the posts made. I take writing to anyone incarcerated very seriously and with a great deal of responsibility. So finding out via another source that perhaps things aren't quite what they seem can require some diligent thought process. Anyway, to make things clear...yes it is the same person we are both writing to. We have both asked for an explanation and will then make decisions on how to move forward once there has been input from all concerned.  Using the term 'being played' was a bad choice of words  and again to make it clear, I don't think that is what's going on here. My immediate feelings are it has been an innocent error that has kind of backfired a bit, but can be repaired.   I just felt so bad for mjuran when I read her comments, because it would never be my intent to hurt or step on someone's toes over a penpal.  I do feel confident this will resolve itself without further drama, and hope with a satisfactory outcome for all of us.  What is quite extraordinary I think is when you consider how many thousands write as penpals, and the enormous following on this forum, what are the odds of such a thing happening? It really is a small world eh? :-) 

Selosa
Selosa's picture

Mjuran I meant the other person might have copied your post. I wrote I read your post first. How could you have copied the other person if you wrote first and we all read it? Are you kidding me? Lol.

freebird1
freebird1's picture

And of course, during the compilation of my last comment, mjuran posted hers ... so now you all have the full picture pretty much. My request for an explanation was much less personal and fewer words, but written in such a way as to convey much of what mjuran wrote. We expose our deeper selves when we think or are led to believe there isn't anyone else sharing the same kind of intimacy and trust. So I get entirely why mjuran feels so let down and in turn, due to my involvement it hurts me too, on her behalf. I am still reeling from a romance that ended before christmas, and so was never going to be involved again outside of friendship, and made that abundently clear. There are many thin lines as Kirsten suggested, but I am acutely aware of the ones I have no intention of stepping over. But just because I am able to get my thinking head back where it should be, doesn't mean I am immune to the emotional turmoil someone else might be going through or how they might react to unexpected news from a source that throws up several questions.

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Selosa..."someone who doesn't even know how long your pen pal has been in prison?"

Freebird and I may have been given different information about how long he's been in prison, but it's the same guy.  You assume it's me who doesn't know what I'm talking about?  That I'm the one going off half-cocked?  Methinks not.  Try checking your assumptions at the door before you post.

Kirsten, I did not say anyone was getting played.  No, no one here had a romantic entanglement, nor sought one.  It's not about jealousy, or getting scammed.  But it is about being lied to.  Because we were both misrepresented to.  We were told different things about who else he has in his world and where we each stand in his world.  There is no innocent reason to conceal that or misrepresent that, it is a matter of dishonesty.  For whatever reason he felt that dishonesty to be necessary, it wasn't, and it has done damage.  But better to have it revealed now, than further on down the road.  And I am not going to decide what to think or feel about it until I've further discussed the whole thing with him.  Time will tell.  There is an almost knee-jerk reaction I feel is on the forum a lot, to seeing a situation such as this in terms of jealousy, competition, scams, playing people....it's none of that, it's a guy who thinks he has to be dishonest with his friends, which is terrible, because he's a very good person in a lot of ways.  But now he's lost my trust.  And it's sad.

 

freebird1
freebird1's picture

@selosa... the other person? If you are only going to post such negative comments, perhaps you shouldn't post at all. Read everything posted here, and then read again. There has been no plagiarism going on from anyone. And no, no one is kidding anyone!

Selosa
Selosa's picture

Mjuran I have no idea what you are talking about. Though I'm sure I won't be trying to help you with anything again. Byeee.

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Selosa, I raised my skunk tail and sprayed you rather too much, I'm sorry.  I can piece together, sort of, where you were coming from initially, and you probably were trying to reassure me.  Appreciate that.  But I know Freebird from "way back" (all of what, a year ago?) on the forum, I knew she wasn;t posting anything in bad faith, it never even crossed my mind.  So I was confused.  And I have not been able to think straight this morning, being (still) rattled.  So I'm sorry.

ST4s
ST4s's picture

This is a lot to digest. I hope it resolves well for both of you, Freebird and Mjuran.

Prisoner X’s message at the top reads like a victory lap – inspirational and brimming with forward motion. I loved it. And here we find his closing quote from Plato can be read in a new light as well – as in, who’s turning whose eyes now, and who’s knowing where to look? Lawdy!!!!!

Wondering out loud here (dare I?) (what the hell, here goes…), maybe Prisoner X is coming from a place of deep insecurity – a fear of loss so profound that he’d put each of you on a pedestal like that. If that’s the case, well, I’d say he’s onto something. There’s no question you’re worthy of pedestals of your very own.

Best wishes :-)

freebird1
freebird1's picture

Oh ST4s, as ever profound and yet enlightening and ecouraging words as always! Thank you for a much wider and more thoughtful aspect, that actually puts new perspective into the mix. I love your wondering out loud...lol...it's more often than not inspirational one way or another, and today is no different. You are like the cool cream that gets poured onto a hot desert, so as not to burn the roof of the mouth. Your comment of deep insecurity is neither lost nor innacurate I believe.  Not too sure about the pedastal position, I don't like heights! lmao.. and certainly don't consider myself worthy of such complimentary words (but I might just take them anyway, as needing a confidence boost right now) Thank you :-)

freebird1
freebird1's picture

* dessert not desert....imagine eating all that dry dust and sand...yuk!!  Ain't no amount of cream going to make that taste good lol

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

Okay wow. Certainly a lot to take in, and Freebird, think I'll leave the dust and sand too! 
I think I read the first comments and assumed maybe there were a couple of people out there with similar stories but you know your pen pals well enough after a time to see the details in the larger patterns. How interesting, from an outsiders perspective. I think maybe Mjuran said somewhere about knee jerk reactions so I hope that once the ball of yarn becomes a little less chaotically tangled that it will work itself out. Love to both of you lovely ladies. 
And even though I'm happy this fella has done some hard and inspiring work, his honesty could use some fine tuning. 

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

@ Mjuran, post #20: My using the term of "being played" (post #14) wasnt used in connection to you, but as a thought caused by Freebird's post # 12. But she relevated it herself (post 17), so I think, both her and I were able to convey to each other what we meant to say and understand it mutually.

I did understand that there was no romantic inclination here. But trust can't only be hurt in romantic involvements, that goes for friendships as well. And it's much easier to damage or destroy it than to build it up (again).

So this will (probably) be the main point... how to deal with hurt/damaged/diminished/destroyed (choose what you feel is true for you) trust. And that is sad. And both the sadness and the ecision process may take time.

But, as St4s said (and I'm not wanting to find excuses for the behavior here, I mean it) : Whatever the reason for his behavior may have been, I'm sure it was a strong one and it might have something to do with fearing your reactions (both of yours) if you learnt about it. That probably wouldn't have been half as awkward as the situation at hand is now, but fear is all too often producing the very results it wants to prevent so desperately.

I don't know Freebird that much (just from her posts back then) I know you just a little bit, but from what we exchanged and also from what I read frim Freebird previously, I think you will be able to work out a solution that works.

And as for you personally: I've come to learn to see you as someone with a very unique blend of sensitivity, sstrength and resilience, so I guess, that phoenix out of the ashes quality that you possess will find a way to emerge again.

Kirsten

freebird1
freebird1's picture

How I wish there was a 'general chat room' available here. so we could get to know each other better, and iron out any small misunderstandings without the laboured and slow way of only posting comments. It just makes things so fragmented and disjointed, especially with time differences from various locations. But Kirsten glad we reached an understanding. Not being able to edit is another big fat strike lol   :-)

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Hey everyone.  A weary and exhausted Mjuran here, checking in again! ;)  I had to take a Day Of Rumination and Processing over this, but I think my brain is functioning again (at least up to par with what it was yesterday.  Not saying much, I know.)  Kirsten, your last comments about phoenixes really made me smile, thanks!  Freebird, I'm so happy this all came out in the open as, among other things, it's given me a chance to "meet" you, and I agree, it would be so nice to have a "chat" feature of some kind here so we could all do more of that and talk more easily.  I know things are going to be resolved just fine with our mutual friend.  I do think at the very root of his decision was a strong desire to have both of us as valued pen pals, and he IS as sincere and genuine as he comes across as being to us both.  I do think it's deep insecurity, combined with no positive experience of any other way of dealing with things.  I actually empathize with him a lot.  But that is one thing and then there's the hit to my own feeling of being able to trust him again, which I really couldn't say right now is going to return, or not.  It will take a while if it does, as Kirsten said.  Anyway!!  THANK you for the cream, ST4s, I'll really try to avoid the sand and grit.  I'm off to ruminate some more...

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Subsequent Fragmented International Time Zone Chat Room Post No. 31:

Just to clarify, I’m not interested in making excuses for Prisoner X’s behavior either. Though I do wonder out loud sometimes. And as I do, may I point out that sand also gives us tropical beaches. And angry golfers. Sand is perplexing that way, but I have no use for golf, so, there you have it.

Mild Assery
Mild Assery's picture

If I'm not entirely off-base, what's interesting is I think I thought about writing one of the people Kirsten is referring to. Hard to know that I'm right, but in this person's case, they had a new blog entry posted on the site and I was reading through the blogs when I stumbled across it and found it very... different. Interesting. Then I read their profile (which I'll admit to also finding interesting, the way it was written, the tone of it - and then reading about his IQ and his qualifying as a genuis, I could see why) and realized they were one of the higher profile prisoners and furthermore had a crime against a child (but I never looked into the details of it, didn't think it involved sexual assault, however*). But I also watched one of this person's interviews. It didn't creep me out, but I could see how unfeeling he was. And in the one I watched, his mother was present and listening in.

*Just did now, and I believe this is definitely who is being talked about. I somehow missed the part of the crime where it involved sexual assault also, I thought it was only a murder case.

Mild Assery
Mild Assery's picture

genius* 

Link for the curious but still having trouble finding it

Link to his blog post reviewing his worst reads as of 2 years ago (this was the one I stumbled across, it was posted this year)

He is said to have an IQ of 141.

Mild Assery
Mild Assery's picture

Oh shit, wrong thread

Carmen163
Carmen163's picture

Okay, so this is so bizarre! Just today (not kidding) I was thinking about writing a comment to you, Mjuran, to ask you if your legal pp had ever shared his turning point. Remember I asked you in your post about him that time? And now I'm coming across the post of Freebird. I haven't read it all, but I am confused already!

mjuran
mjuran's picture

My gosh Carmen--well, wait until you get finished reading the whole thing, it's definitely a thread with a twist.  (That sounds like some kind of pastry...olive twist sourdough bruschetta, maybe?)

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Ahh well.  Not a happy ending, here.  Heard back a blast of rage and counter-accusations to the imagined accusations he read into MY letter, plus a few blatant and self-exculpatory bleatings about some other things I know to be fabrications and exaggerations.  So I've told him my attempt to give him a chance to be heard has backfired, and I'm disappointed.  There'll be no further correspondence.  Toxic immaturity...I feel sorry for him, even as I am pissed at him.

Carmen163
Carmen163's picture

OMG Mjuran I am so very, very sorry for you. It breaks my heart that this is happening. You were so involved in his well-being and so supportive of him. This man has rattled you several times, with his love declaration and the fear of him being executed and now this comes up. It's just too bizarre... if it was a movie you'd say: "no way, that is far too much of a coincidence, what an unrealistic twist!" 

He must have had the biggest shock ever when he read your letter, so I can see why he reacted by attacking you. Unfortunately, a lot of people have ingrained the believe that attack is the best form of defense (is this even an English proverb, or am I translating a Dutch one?) and he seems to be one of them. But this only shows in my opinion, how much panic he feels, he is clutching at straws to being able to live with this major mistake he has made. 

I don't want to sugarcoat anything he has done, nor make up excuses for him. But I would like to tell you as someone who has been there, done it, how things may have developed (from my perspective). I am sure this whole situation got out of hand before he had the chance to face his fear of losing you. What I mean is, I think he got into a correspondence with Freebird and got in too deep too soon to being able to casually tell you about her. He probably was very afraid of your reaction, because he could only imagine a negative reaction. Not at all because of the way you are, but as a result of the people he met during his youth and lifetime. So he ignored his consience, used his proven tactic of pretending there is nothing bad going on and went on corresponding with the both of you. And in a sick way to prove his love to you, he became more and more loving and personal, inviting you to do the same, because that would reassure him of your feelings towards him. But now the truth is out and he is too embarrased to confront it, so he lashes out and makes sure you will leave him. 

I would like to add that all of this is not a concious, or a beforehand prepared plan. It is how you handle things when you are very insecure, much hurt and never have learned how to be in a trusting relationship. Again, this is my take on things, it might be very different of course.

I truly wish I could come to Marocco and meet up with you. But that is also a selfish excuse to celebrate Eit al-Fitr! The silver lining is that you have picked a good time to eat away your sorrow with all the wonderful sweets being there next week. And I hope you can eat bastilla with fish, one of my favorite dishes. Take care sweetie!

freebird1
freebird1's picture

Carmen I think you might be getting ppl's mixed up. The one common to both myself and jmuran is not on death row or has possible execution hanging over him. Might want to read all the comments again? :-)

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Hey Carmen!  I appreciate and agree with so much of what you wrote!  Freebird is correct, though, there are two different penpals here being mixed up, and the inmate Freebird and I have been writing to is not on death row.  Other than that, though, I'm sure a lot of your analysis (of what might have been going on for him, in his mind) is very accurate.

I guess the more I think about it the more complicated it seems to me, which is why it's hard for me still to grasp all of the different threads of this, or explain the reasons I think he might have had for the deception.  He said things in his last letter that I read, that made me realize he's got a different idea of what this whole pen pal gig is supposed to be about and to have convinced himself that I was willing to jump into a romantic relationship, despite my having shut down any kind of idea of that each time he raised it.  He said something about how he'd been doing me a favor of being all romantic with me, as if that had not been entirely him and only him all along.  Projection city?  Not sure what.  I'm just floored.  But I feel verbally attacked and accused now of "jealousy and insecurity" and I don't like Gaslighting so I'm just picking my jaw up off the floor and walking away.  Sadly.  In all honesty, even though I would like to see some positive thing come out of this and know that he at least understood what happened wrong from my perspective, I don't believe he's ready to hear anything and I don't want to read any more letters from him given the content of the last couple.  I feel as though a beloved canine companion had just turned rabid and tried to rip my calf off.  Very confusing for me.