Thursday, November 7, 2019

Twenty and Zero

By S.M. Steele

Most people enter prison and they hear one universal piece of advice: "Do the time, Don't let the time do you." This could mean a lot of things to different people, but in prison this means to never let your circumstance break you down. Now, circumstances in prison are diverse. They range from peer pressures to mental health issues. In addition, people in prison are expected to make it through every challenge they face. Regardless of how much they go through, they're expected to never quit, never give up. Quitting in prison isn't just something you do because you don't want to play a basketball game anymore. Quitting in prison means committing suicide, submitting to psychotropic or recreational drugs, or abandoning your desire for freedom. So to survive in prison you must coach yourself through each day, feed your mind with positive information, and find ways to take care of your physical health.

Coaching yourself through each day in prison is a must. Don't do your time moping around with your head down and talking negative every time you speak. Nor should you hang around people who drag down. Instead, you have to coach your own life. You may see yourself losing time, money, family, and friends over the years and your future may seem like you'll leave prison poor or you may think you'll never leave prison at all, but you have to keep your head in the game. You have to tell yourself that you "got this" and that you "refuse to lose". Even when it gets rough and someone delivers you bad news, you have to suck it up and focus on the next play. If situations are too hard to handle, call a time out and regroup yourself, but never quit. You have to get back on the field and play to win. Now, at times you may ask yourself, well, what am I striving for? Or, why should I care? But you have to see the answer in your circumstances. The mission of your entire fight right now is to obtain your freedom. So, yes, you dropped a few passes in the past, and, yes, you should of held on to that ball on that last play, but as long as you are still breathing your time hasn't ran out. Now its time to take hold of your next move and refuse to make a mistake. Refuse to live a life thinking about the last play. Now its time to earn your keep so you can prove your worth. You have to show the world that you deserve a second chance. That's why no coach chooses to play with a bad play book.

Your play book must be designed to have a chance to win, so you have to feed your mind with positive information. They may tell you that your imprisonment is all about rehabilitation. They may tell you that good behavior could possibly get you out of prison early. They may even tell you that doing the crime means doing the time. No one knows you like you know yourself. If you want a better life, you have to rehabilitate yourself. You have to feed your mind with information that teaches you how to out-maneveur traps. People will take shots at you and try to keep you in a negative situation, but don't fall for it. Educate yourself and bring about the change that you want to be. The system was built off of crime. Never imagine that they want crime to go away. They need it to keep the system going because it pays their bills. It gives them Christmas and medical benefits. When you start to do better, they lose jobs. Doing the right thing will cause unemployment for thousands of state workers. Think about this. However, don't let that be the reason why you give up. If you want to be free, teach yourself how to be great. Defeat the system by doing right and your chains and shackles will fall away. Build your playbook up with positive information and starve the beast, so he never lives again. The belly of the beast survives off of crime.  

Once you sharpen your mind and stop the beast from winning, the only thing to do next is to take care of your physical body. Your body is what protects your mind and carries your minds orders into action. When we are in prison, they force you to sit in cells and rot as life passes you by. But they give you a few hours of recreation to strengthen yourself. Never lose sight of this. Make sure your body stays healthy. Watch what you place inside your body and on your body because this will determine your health. To have good health is to make sure not just your mind stays safe, but that your body stays safe as well. You will be able to defend yourself and keep your body alive as often as you can if you strengthen it. Once you stop keeping your body healthy your mind will follow and vice versa, so its important that you take care of these areas. Do pushups, pull ups, squats, and dips. Make sure you jog regularly and keep your heart healthy. Watch your diet. Prison food was prepared for animal consumption. Be careful of eating too much or eating foods without nutrition. Turn your body into a temple and treat it like the most holiest religious artifact you'he ever had. In the end, the one who plays the game the hardest wins, but if not, you can always be satisfied with giving it your best shot.

Your best shot is the chance you have left, so while you are incarcerated don't let circumstances defeat you. 2019 is my twentieth year in prison and as to date I continue to coach myself through each day, feed my mind with positive information, and take care of my physical body. Remind yourself how strong you are daily and never let someone else still your joy. To this day, I am happy and I forgive myself for all my past failings. Stress is only a visitor and soon will be a distant stranger, but it will never be a permanent resident. I love myself and I remind myself to knock out each year that I face with my mind and body in-tact. Therefore, my goal is to retire undefeated, even if they never let me go. That's why I say that I am Twenty and zero.

Sean Steele 392298
Trumbull Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 901
Leavittsburg, OH 4443

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