Sunday, October 24, 2010

Letters to a Future Death Row Inmate, Part 17

by Anthony Haynes #999330

Part 16 can be seen here

I don’t know your name and I guess it really does not matter since it’s not like I’m gonna get the opportunity to get to know you. But if it matters to you then I'll tell you that my name is Anthony Haynes. You may be hearing more about me and my case and all that in a couple of days because I have an execution date coming up later this week. Don’t let that fact deter you from reading what I have to say. There are many other things I could be doing with my last days but I’m choosing to spend them writing you this kite. Hopefully you’ll at least take these words to heart. Before I get into what I want to say, I’m sending you some stuff you’ll need. I’m pretty sure that you already went through the bag but just in case I'll let you know that I’m sending you 6 legal pads, 6 pens, 20 44¢ stamps, 10 98¢ stamps, 50 envelopes, a tube of toothpaste, a couple of toothbrushes, some hair grease, a brush, 20 bars of soap, a bottle of lotion, a bottle of shampoo, some shower slides, 2 bags of coffee, my radio and headphones, some ketchup, 12 soups, 12 sodas, 10 small bags of chips, 2 big bags of candy, a drinking cup, a stinger, 5 chili pouches, 5 refried beans, 1 bag of corn chips, 2 bottles of hot sauce, 2 pairs of boxers, 2 t-shirts, 2 pairs of socks, 2 packs of cookies, a new issue of "American Curves" magazine and a leather Bible. I know that it seems like a lot, and it is, but I can’t use these things where I’m going and since you have nothing you’ll need them more than me. They let me spend more money because I’m on Deathwatch and you wont have an ID card for awhile, so accept the blessing. And if you’re thinking maybe I’m giving you these things to try and take a shot at your booty, well, I might be, but I guess that dead men can’t rape you so you have no worries. Now to more important things.

I’ve been here for awhile and have learned quite a few things along the way. There are things that took me years to figure out but that I wished to God that Id known earlier. There are other things that others have passed down to me. I want to give you an impartation of knowledge and wisdom as I’ve learned, in hopes that these things will make your life in this crazy new world just a little easier. Some of these things may not make sense now but if you store them in your file cabinet in your mind, I’m positive that sooner or later you’ll be able to use them. So be open-minded. I don’t know it all but I like to think that being locked up half my life I know something. I’m kinda stupid if I’m honest with you! I say that because I had people attempt to impart wisdom to me but many times I felt I knew better on my own and paid the price for that pridefullness. I learned some of these things the hard way and I want to spare you that if I can. In the end of the day every man here had to figure out how to do his own time. I figured out how to do mine and you’ll do the same but if you listen up to what I say and take heed to these things I can assure you that they will act as a guide to lead you in the right direction.

The most important lesson I learned while being here was, perhaps, the hardest to accept, understand, and grasp. It was also by far the one that caused me the most pain trying to figure it out. Bro, keep both of your feet firmly planted in this prison. This is your world now. If you try to keep both feet out in that world, or if you attempt to keep one in here and one out there it will eventually destroy you emotionally and mentally. You can’t control what goes on out there and the sooner you accept that the better off you’ll be. Your so-called friends will mostly forsake you and you’ll be blessed if, in the end, you can even have your family. Know this up front and don’t deceive yourself. This is your world now. As much as it hurts me to say that, it is the truth.

I used to be in a drug abuse program and at the end of every meeting we’d say this prayer that said something like: "Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference." That always stuck with me, in this environment. If you do what those say, you’ll be much better off. There will be many, many things in this place that you can’t control and that will threaten to drive you insane at times. But you have to learn that you have no power over those things. Accept that. There are other things that are within your realm of control. Figure out those things and always work to change those things for your benefit. But be wise because some back here get these two things confused. In learning to accept things, I’ve learned that indifference can be a beautiful thing! If you develop tolerance and learn to be indifferent to those things you can't change then they will cease to even bother you. Something to think about, huh?

Hope is a wonderful thing, but never lie to yourself. Be stronger than that because a false hope will, in the end, leave you in a very sad state. Understand where you are and why you are here. You’re on the TEXAS Death Row and they kill people!! Understand that you are here to die. If you can “escape” then do it but never lie to yourself about it. And more importantly, never allow the specter of death that looms over you to stop you from living your life. Learn to enjoy the life you have as much as you can. It is not much but you can still make it yours. That way, if you find yourself about to be executed at least you’ll know that you did not waste your life away. Learn something. Educate yourself. Grow as a man. Leave a legacy. Make sure that the man you are when you walk out is a much better man than the one who walked in, Live in such a way that those who know you can be proud to call you son, brother, friend, cousin, father. Be able to look in the mirror and actually love the man you see looking back at you. Live so that you can respect that man.

These people can do what they want so it is advisable not to get attached to material things. If you never get attached then if they take them it means little.

Over the years I’ve been here things have gotten progressively worse and worse. Live with a mindset that says, "it could always be worse" as opposed to one that says, "it could be so much better." In doing this you will learn the secret to enjoying what you have today to the fullest. You’ll be able to make the most of everything that you have. The alternative will make you bitter and miserable.

When it comes to the legal stuff I’ll say this: if you want to raise money to help yourself, then the first thing you should do is to hire a good investigator. They will make your state attorney do his or her job. They do not cost that much when compared to trying to save money for an appeal attorney and they will uncover things that may help you save your life. Always remember that no matter how much commissary you have, that will by no means help you save your life!! Use your money wisely if your goal is to make some attempt at escaping that needle.

Don’t lie to the people out there trying to help you. Most would still help you save your life even if you are completely guilty. But if you lie to them then you bind their hands. Be real with them to give them the best shot at helping you.

Never lose sight of the big picture if your goal is to get off the Row. IF that is your objective then saving your life is like your personal war. Don’t lose your life over a minor skirmish that will mean nothing tomorrow. Always keep your goal in sight. Stay focused and don’t allow anything or anyone to steal that away from you. That way, even if you do die, at least you’ll know that you gave yourself the absolute best chance to avoid that fate.

Live your life for YOU!! Live the way you see fit and not how others want or expect you to live. Many back here follow the crowd. Many act out to please those around them. You do not have to live that way. Make your own paths and be your own man. Live according to your own standards and not those of the next man.

You do not have to be a tough guy!! Be yourself and respect others and don’t be a pushover and you’ll be just fine. Do you!! Your word absolutely HAS to mean something back here!! I can’t stress that enough. A good word goes a long way in a place like this.

You’re gonna get pen friends and they will help you do your time, liven up your days, and pick up your spirits should you need. These people are out to give you something. Maybe not always of the monetary but they will give you SOMETHING. Take what each is able to offer and be true to them. Some will be flaky and fake but never stop being real and genuine. And please never stoop to the level where you feel so inadequate in yourself that you feel the need to start "running game"!! The best "game" in the world is simply being yourself. Those who are drawn to you because they see you for who you are will be with you through thick and. thin and you’ll derive much more gratification and satisfaction from a friendship like that because you know that everything is above board.

Romance can be very fulfilling, if short lived, but many times it is overrated. If you find some girl that you "love" and she loves you then go for it. Just remember where you are and understand that in most cases the romance is very short lived. Enjoy it while you have it but do not allow it to destroy you if/when you lose it.

I do not have any idea of your spiritual beliefs. I myself am a Christian and that is why I sent you that Bible. Even if you do not believe in the Bible I’d encourage you to find some higher power. The benefits are more than you’d ever believe.

Last but not least, take good care of your own health and especially your teeth!! Most of the guys you see with no teeth did not get that way through fighting!! That is bad oral hygiene! Medical help SUCKS in this place so the best thing you can do for yourself is make sure that you don’t need it

Okay, man, I hope that something I’ve said helps you along the way. Hopefully you never find yourself sitting here I am today, but if you do let it be that inside your heart you can smile as you reflect over your years here knowing that you made the most of all that you had. God bless.

Anthony Haynes #999330

PS Books can be your keys to "escaping" this hell. They can also open up new worlds in regard to educating yourself. Learn the beauty of good books!!!

© Copyright 2010 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved

1 comment:

Mz. K said...

Wow!! What a remarkable man, I'm speechless. He thought he was getting ready to die that following week & he took the time to write & leave some things for the next person. I can not say I would be able to do this, I would be so caught up in the fact that I'm about to die I wouldn't think to give anyone any advice on how to survive in there. I'm in tears but thank God he didn't die. To God be the glory!!!! Keep the faith you have Anthony & God will continue to see you through.