Hey Reader! In light of recent conversations I’ve had with a few fellow felons dealing with life after conviction, I thought it would be a good idea to bring up how important it is to maintain a positive mindset – even after a felony conviction.
Why Be Positive? I’m a Felon…
Sure, we’re often in some tight spots because of our pasts, and we’re all facing different and very difficult situations individually after our convictions, but we are – in fact – surviving, if not even sometimes thriving.
One of the biggest parts of realizing that feeling or that sense of ‘Hey, things aren’t actually half bad!’, is your mindset.
You can be living in your car on food stamps or the food pantry and still be living on those noodles that you ‘cook’ in a cleaned out peanut butter jar and some hot water from the hot tea serving area of the closest gas station. I’ve been there too. Guess what, you still have some sort of shelter and some sort of food. It isn’t optimal, but it’s available. Plus, you’re not locked up. With 5 out of 6 prisoners returning to the correctional system within 10 years – I’d say that, even if you’re in that situation I just described, you’re doing better than your peers already! And you can move up from where you are – especially when you’re basically at rock bottom. It’s basically the only direction left.
What Taught Me to be Positive
Now, I know that sounds sort of rough (it definitely a survival mode of life there – but that’s a reality I have faced myself), but I grew up in a home where my mother was disabled with a neurological disease (Multiple Sclerosis, for those that are curious) from the time she was 18, and she always reminded herself (and me – by being in earshot) that things could always be worse. While she was learning to deal with her cane, she reminded herself that she could be using a walker. Once she eventually progressed to needing the walker, she reminded herself that she could be in a wheelchair. Now, her situation is one of those that only really get worse over time (she’s still going strong, in case you’re wondering – she’s turned 70 this fall and is still in her own home with a caretaker). In our cases, at least in the felony background sense of our lives, things can only really get better. We just need to keep a positive mindset and find a way to become proactive and positive in our lives. You know what I mean?
Things Will Get Better
Over time, more options will become available to us when it comes to jobs and housing, especially when we finally recognize that we don’t want to keep adding charges to our records. You have to learn to be patient and resourceful, and using a positive mindset is one of the best ways to do that. Be sure to participate in advocating and educating those around you to the restorations of rights and the second chance programs and opportunities around you – you never know who you could positively impact.
This is especially important during the extremely stressful time we often have during probation and parole periods. I know my own time with intense supervision wasn’t pleasant but after ten years, I realize that it was actually helpful.
I know it’s rough when you basically lose control over your life and have to change so much about yourself in a short period of time. I know it made me crazy angry to have to bend to another’s will – it’s sort of a natural response to intense control over your life, but we have to remember that the very fact that we are dealing with that supervision – is a giant clue shouting at us that we need to change our lifestyle in order to get anywhere in our life.
The people that we have (or have had) as our probation and parole officers are often there to help us, even if they might be on a power trip of some sort (I’ve met some that were like this, but it seems that the majority are actually nice people who are intent on guiding us to some sort of successful life after we’ve screwed up enough to end up in their office). And it’s important to remember that they have bad days too (you think customer service is a pain – try living a day in a PO’s life). Give them a chance to be helpful – and you might find a great resource in them instead of a new source of pain in the arse.
The important thing to remember is that we are all human. Try to be understanding of the protocols they and you need to follow, those guidelines and requirements are typically there for a good reason, you simply need to focus on using this time (and their constant prodding) to improve yourself and learn about the resources they can provide you with to get you back on track. If you go in with a scowl on your face and a bad attitude – you’re not on the right track and you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you go in with the hope of finding your way to a better life where you never have to see a court supervisor again – you’ll have a far better chance in being successful in life after a conviction.
That’s all, for now, guys, I’m so glad to have you and I hope it’s been helpful so far. Til next time, and take care to stay positive and rise above the rest! You’ll find your second chance when you least expect it – so keep looking for it and keep your head up!
Oh, I’m on Twitter and Instagram now! Find me @aza_enigma on both!