I face many challenges as an incarcerated parent. The feelings and emotions are difficult. How to deal with those feelings and emotions can be confusing. I try to focus on the most important and vital challenge: to rehabilitate myself and not come back here, but it’s an ugly situation to be in.
Many feelings and emotions surface when dealing with this issue: anger, sadness, worry, self-loathing, and despair. It feels like an emotional rollercoaster that will only end when I parole. It’s a heavy price to pay.
Digesting these feelings and finding a healthy place for them to land is a complex experience. If I don’t process them in a healthy manner, then I’m liable to get in trouble due to being overwhelmed. I don’t want to find myself in that situation, so I try to find healthy outlets for coping like working out, reading self-help literature, and employing breathing techniques.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is rehabilitation. Prison isn’t rehabilitative, so I have to look in the mirror and ask myself what I need to change in order to not come back here. I have to search for and find the help that I need. Most importantly, I have to admit that I need help.
It’s not easy for me to admit this, but surrendering is winning.
As a father, I love my children. But I realized that I just can’t say it. I have to show I love them through action.
Love is a verb. I am willing to change, grow, and stop all the actions that contradict my love for my children. They are important to me, and I am important to them. So it’s about time to act like it.
As someone once said, “The biggest mistake in life is not learning from past mistakes.”
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.