It’s All About Who You Know…or Don’t Know. Know Yourself.

I have learned all too painfully well, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. However, it’s hard to rely on yourself when you can’t trust yourself, or worse, you aren’t even sure who you are. You’re lost.

Finding yourself in a far less than ideal situation makes you question past decisions along with future options. Most importantly, it makes you define who you are and stick with it.

Despite severe trauma, memory loss and doubt, I somehow forced myself to remain faithful. I knew that at least some the accusations could not possibly be true. So much of it just did not make sense.

I didn’t take the plea “deal” of fifteen years incarceration. Instead, I took my case before a jury. Come to find out during trial, I was right. A lot of the case did not make sense because it was just plain false. Thankfully, I managed to believe in myself despite the allegations of others. Ninety days in jail sure beat fifteen years in prison.

I was lucky because as I sat in jail, I had the luxury of counting down the predetermined ninety days to release. Most of the other inmates did not know how long they would be there or whether they’d go home or to the state department of corrections (aka prison).

The county jail, in a very small rural town about an hour north of Houston, housed inmates of varying offenses. A couple of them were in situations similar to mine–manipulations and dishonesty which led to misjudgments and misappropriations of the law.

The overwhelming majority were there because of addictions and other behavioral disorders. Some were there because they simply wanted to be there. As generational by-products of the “war on drugs,” they knew of no other way of life.

I saw entire families locked up. In the tank next door there was a mother and her pregnant daughter, and the baby’s daddy was in a men’s tank behind us. Counting the baby, that was one, two, three generations locked up together! After the baby was born, he did get released. Mom, dad and grandma remained.

Many other inmates were like my thirty-six-year-old bunk mate. She arrived in my tank after getting booted out of another tank for being HIV positive. By the time she arrived with us, she was still attempting to detox from crack, worrying about not being able to take her HIV medication, and missing her four-month-old daughter.

She provided a fairly typical example of the county jail female inmate. These women get mixed up with men- the wrong men. Sometimes these very same men would end up in the dorm opposite our back wall. Other times, the woman would take the full rap for the man. The “man” not willing to admit any wrongdoing.

These female inmates had led difficult lives. Not all of it, a lot of it, due to circumstance, not really any fault of their own- loss of child, loss of parent, violence, disease or severe generational drug addiction. Other situations could have been within the realm of personal control if the individual would have chosen personal responsibility.

Self-Authorship

Personal responsibility takes character. Character must be developed. It sounds silly, but a lot of people simply do not know who they are.

Determine who you are. Despite life’s circumstances, write your own script. Don’t be who the world thinks you are. Be who you know you are. Be who you want to be.

Be your own novelist. Have fun with it. Stay out of trouble.

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