Dec. 10, 2012

Being Human

by Daniel Gwynn (author's profile)


Daniel Gwynn Blog Update
"Being Human"

Every morning I wake up to the same old, & young, faces. Some of these faces are so disarming, because of the wear-and-tear of prison life. What I was seeing in their faces was the transformation many prisoners go through (good & bad) after being on lockdown and deprived of human contact for so many years, including myself. The lack of human contact can be so debilitating after being locked down 24/7 for 5, 10, especially 20 years. It's not just the absence of sex, it's also the kind, gentle touch of someone who cares; the compassionate hug telling you that everything is going to be alright; or just simply someone holding your hand through the storms.

A nurse came to take my blood pressure the other day, and her touch jarred me out of my institutionalized stupor. When she grabbed my arm, it wasn't devoid of humanity, and I didn't know how to react -- should I be angry, go masturbate, or cry. Instead, I recoiled, trying to pull my arm away, but she reassured me that she meant no harm. Her administration of the test, albeit very professional, was caring -- from one human being to another. I cried for a couple of days afterwards, for I forgot how it felt to be treated like a human being.

I live my life with Jesus Christ in my heart. He's my mentor & example -- I live in Love. It's just that simple. You don't have to believe in Jesus Christ as I do, or any religion, etc. Just live to Love your fellow man as you would wish to be loved; Love life & live it to the fullest, for it can enrich your life; and Love the world (environment/community) you live in, so your contributions can enrich & benefit others & even the world.

I don't expect anyone to return the Love in kind, because that's not what living in Love is about. I live in Love, because it makes me happy & spiritually uplifted. I'm not too concerned about the way someone treats me, only to how they treat the world we live in. The environment we live in is important to our health -- mentally, physically & spiritually. What we have on the Row is civility and not as much violence as you'd imagine -- mainly because we're locked down 24/7.


Replies (8) Replies feed

Nicki Posted 10 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
Your words are incredibly touching. The long term causes of segregation on the human spirit are something that I have wondered about and what you describe here brings to my mind how a puppy might react when he's been mis-treated by his captors; being timid, withdrawn and untrusting as he doesn't know what to expect. It proves to me how damaging and wrong it is to hold someone captive in such a small space day and night, year after year. It has become unacceptable to treat circus animals in this way the world over, yet we continue to justify this unacceptable environment towards our own.

I take a small degree of comfort knowing you take control over what you can, and live with love in your heart. Although I am not a religeous person, I do hope my words provide some small degree of comfort, support and appreciation for your strength of mind.

I read this post several days ago and I keep thinking about it in my quiet moments and coming back to it. I also wrote to my friend who is serving life in Arizona discussing the things you speak of and saying to him how thankful I am that he has the ability to move about and utilize his social skills when others such as you don't have that opportunity.

Thank you once again for sharing, your words continue to touch me and make me so very thankful for all I have in my life, regardless of any struggles I may face. Thank you for showing me that appreciation.

Take care.


SAH Posted 10 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
Nicki, "The long term causes of segragation are something that I have wondered about and what you describe here brings to my mind how a puppy might react when he's been mis-treated by his captors; being timid, withdrawn and untrusting as he doesn't know what to expect".

Perhaps you meant to say "long term EFFECTS".

As a psychology and criminology student, surely you know that the cause vs effect of SEGREGATION (note spelling) are two completely different concepts.

Nicki Posted 10 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
I am confidant that if you could work out exactly what I meant, then Daniel will have no problems understanding my words

SAH Posted 10 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
I rather doubt Daniel is a mind reader...but, ummm, okay. LOL.

SAH Posted 10 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
Why (and I mean this sincerely) would one need to "work out exactly what you meant"? Is it that difficult to simply state what you mean? Criminology and psychology fields are very demanding and require an exquisite ability to communicate in a concise manner...both verbally and in writing. Did you sleep through those classes or haven't you had them yet? Just asking.

Nicki Posted 10 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
Perhaps I can paint this picture for Daniel...

My home is not a quiet, clinical environment where I am able to devote a block of time to just one task. I am a single mother, I work and study. This was what was going on in my home yesterday as I typed the above response.

I was in my bedroom with the door open. My 2 youngest children (K, 11 years) and (B, 8 years)were at home on school holidays. They get 6 weeks off over Christmas as it is our summer break here in Australia. As I typed my reply, this is what I was contending with...

B came in, hugged me and said "I love you Mum"
"I Love you too baby"
"Can I have another cupcake?"
"OK, but just one" (we baked them together the day before).

K came in, "have those movies finished downloading yet?"
He checked the other laptop in my room & said, "no, not yet" so they went back to playing with their ball in the hallway outside my door. As we live in the tropics, it is too hot for the kids to play ball games outside during the day so the hallway in our air-conditioned house, and a soft ball suitable for inside, keeps them entertained. (bang, bang, bounce, bounce, giggle, giggle...)

K comes back in after a couple of minutes... "Have they finished downloading yet...? oh, they have... can you show me how to put them on a USB again, I've forgotten how"
"sure baby"... I show him and he leaves with his movie on the USB stick.

B came in then, "K said that movie is scary and I don't want to watch it if it's scary"
"OK baby, well It's supposed to be a kids movie, but let's have a look at the trailer on YouTube and see what it's about"
*so we search the movie "The Hole" on YouTube to see what it's about. It turns out it is a kids movie, but similar to Jumanji or the Gremlins and B decides he doesn't want to watch that and off they both go, to separate rooms of the house.

I then type a little more and my daughter A. who is 19, (who no longer lives with us) sends me a text message, I'm looking at new units. This one has a viewing in 35 minutes (& sends me the link), can you come over and get me and take me to see it? "Yeah, sure" (I don't seem to be getting much done here after all). So we all pile into the car and go and view this potential new home for my eldest child. (It's a winner, she's putting in an application).

Nicki Posted 10 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
... Once we're back home I need to watch the DVD that I hired earlier in the day as It's a new release and I have to take it back tomorrow. It's an Australian movie, the Sapphires about 4 Aboriginal girls who went to Vietnam to entertain the troops in the 1960s. I take a great interest in Australian history, and have taken numerous Indigenous Australian subjects as electives throughout my degree. Sadly, much like the US, our indigenous people are over-represented in our criminal justice system and knowing the history has provided many explanations for this.

When the movie is over, I sit back down thinking perhaps I can complete this comment. I gather my thoughts again and type a few more sentences and K comes in whispering 'when can we get B's present out of the boot of the car (you would call it a trunk). We went shopping in the morning and "Santa" managed to hide the gift B has wanted more than anything and we were waiting for him to go to sleep so we could bring it into the house, wrap it and find a suitable hiding spot to keep it safe until Christmas morning. I ask K if B is asleep & he says he'll go and check... he comes back to my room (whispering again) 'he's asleep' with his own high degree of contained excitement. I know he's watched the scary movie & won't go out to the garage to get it on his own (haha), so I go out with him and he carries the giant box awkwardly into the house. We then choose which Christmas wrapping we'll use and wrap it together. As I folded the corners of the paper, K stuck the tape where it was required, and we hide the box in the back of my wardrobe (you would call it a closet) where it will remain until Christmas eve... until Santa takes it out.

I actually forgot... before that, my daughter sent me another text (while I was watching the movie) saying "can you scan my birth certificate and send it to me, I'm applying for this house on-line... & can you do it NOW" *yes my Gen-Y child who requires everything immediately, I can do that* I find my memory card isn't working, I try it again, and again, so I take a photo of her birth certificate on my phone and send that to her hoping that will suffice (it seemed to, I haven't heard back from her).

I finally finished off my comment and, as has been pointed out, I didn't give my post a proper proof reading, before pressing the send button. I also left a couple of comments for another blogger that I've been neglecting for some time, and I gave the house a quick tidy before having a shower and going to bed.

As nice as it may be to have a quiet, clinical environment to string my thoughts together more eloquently, meticulously check my spelling, grammar and correct word usage... that is not my reality. And I wouldn't have it any other way :)

Merry Christmas Daniel!

Daniel Gwynn Posted 10 years, 8 months ago.   Favorite
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