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I am not my circumstance,
for my circumstance is ugly,
bleak and filled with hate.
I am handsome, bright and have
ended my long relationship with hate.

I am not my circumstance,
for my circumstance laughs at wit,
and openly rejects love.
I am witty, laugh a lot and
have truly embraced love.

I am not afraid of the ugliness
the bleakness, or the hatefulness
of my circumstance,
because the ugliness has shown me
how to recognize beauty,
while the bleakness has taught me
to always look on the bright side;
and the hate continuously reminds me
of what I don’t want to
associate with ever again.

I am not my circumstance,
but my circumstance had made me
forever a friend!

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.

Ronald Ramsey Jr. is a writer incarcerated in California.