Saturday, November 24, 2007
It's been 5 months since I was released from San Quentin State Prison after serving 8 years for armed robberies and discharging a firearm in the Burger King around the corner from where I use to live. The journey through California's penal system was a hard and laborious one. After dealing with the situation myself, it's hard to even understand how anyone can become acclimated to that way of life, however it is possible and like my old friend Joe Snow use to tell me while I was fighting my case, "Lannie, when you get out you will not be the same person." I'm not.
I have alot of subtle institutionalized characteristics which are still embedded within the core of my physche. I seem to always mention prison when speaking with people I interact with on a daily basis. In my mind it's like, " get it off your chest, so we can move on," type of mentality. Other times it's more of a ego trip if anything else. Being in prison for eight years can damage a man, physically, mentally, spiritually and sexually. However, I will reveal about how it personally damaged the center of me later on. Today, I just want to mention that,"this is the last day of the beginning of my life."
Upon release from prison, I made a point to get active immediately with my transition back into society. After such a long period I made alot of plans. I wanted to start my own little t-shirt business, so I purchased a airbrush with some cash I had accumulated while i was in prison. I checked myself into the Haight/Ashbury clinic, a clean and sober living environment, not because I had a problem with drugs, but because it would allow me the time to focus a bit longer, go to school and save some money there in the meantime.I have accomplished all but the latter, smile. I began going to the Ebeneezer Baptist church every Sunday because I knew it was nothing besides God's good grace which allowed me to survive my ordeal and give me the chance to give my mama that hug and a kiss I waited so long to give to her. She was the only living being that stood by me through those times. Yeah, people cared about me, but she was there.
The community at Ebeneezer is what I would call a classic congregation, nothing fancy. Which is one of the main reasons I became a member and got baptised there. They don't have many young men there so they were happy to see me come. They try to involve me in alot of activities which is nice, however I am not currently in the position to take on such responsibilities as being a usher or going to picnics and things of that nature. My appearance means alot and if I'm not up to par I'm personally just not feeling it. My sister usually braids my hair, but sometimes she flakes on me and then my head looks a "hottmess!" Due to CDC's lack of medical funding, while incarcerated I was unable to get proper dental care so I am some what conscious about how my teeth look. Then there is the case where after not being around women for so long, there are periods when I just feel very awkward and although this is not often at times it happens and I realize that there are some things which need to taken care of before I just emerge myself into things and be completely comfortable. But for the most part I'm cool with where I am, today. I am better off than a lot of people who are coming from my background of incarceration or a street lifestyle. I recognize that I am blessed even though sometimes I don't know what the hell is going on. And people do accept me for the person I am, I just would like to be the best that I can be, physically, mentally, spiritually and sexually.
Well, I am one month away from completing my A+ training (computer installation), and I plan on altering my my image today, if not sometime over the weekend. This whole month will be nothing but a complete makeover for me. On January 1, I want to look back and say, "Okay, that was a good start, now let's really get going. It's the first day...