Prison Pete

Friday, May 27, 2005
  It is now 2:30 PM
and here we go.

I was up till about 3:00 AM sitting with my crossword puzzle book and enjoying the classical music on WNED. I was rewarded for my diligence, at 2:30 AM they played the Brandenburg Concerto Number 3. It is certainly among my top ten.

I am about four puzzles away from completing the first hundred. It is quite a turnaround for me. In the past when I encountered emotional rough spots, I would most likely find myself taking in some sort of sexual activity, depending on my cash available, or in the later years, dive into the chat rooms.

Here while the options certainly limit what I can do, I find a healthy way to deal with the stress by doing some sort of activity that enhances my own sense of self worth, while not at the same time doing more harm than good. BP (before prison) having sex with a female was certainly a way I dealt with a whole bunch of issues and it usually provided a momentary boost, but the fall usually left me lower down on the emotional feeling level.

It is too easy for an outsider to say well duh, I can tell you that. The point was there was never another person that I could seek strength from. While we certainly have had some (and continue to have) uncomfortable moments, we continue to both grow from the letter writing. Granted, with growth comes some pain, and you have the right to not want the pain. I understand that. I only hope you understand that the dynamics of this relationship have truly been hard fought. I do not want this to become a stagnant relationship. I believe we both have something to give the other and occasionally we will disappoint each other.

It is my humble opinion that if you should decide to cut off all future communication with me, we well both be the poorer for it. You have provided plenty of opportunities for me to grow and become a better human being. I am thinking that at one point there was some discussion about whether you were actually enabling me, to allow me to become more needy and less on the road to rehabilitation.

It might not have been in those exact words, but I can assure you that while there may have been some specific instances where I was asking for a "pity party," my only goal is to be sure you understand what is going on en my surroundings and how that impacts on my feelings. Your reaction to my various difficulties has ranged from, "Gee that is too bad" to "Well you put yourself in there."

Those are both valid points, and it is good to have my behind kicked once in a while, along with some sympathy at times.

Please be assured I am not in any sort of denial in terms of the actions and activities that landed me in prison. When I look at the last year prior to my arrest, one might make a pretty good case for the fact that I was actively seeking capture.

A little further up the effort versus payoff, is my learning to play the sax. I was able to have melodies coming out of the instrument within a few weeks, but saw that daily practice increased my ability. I think I mentioned that at one point we had an outside musician come in and one of the staff members encouraged me to play for him, but that was just at the point where I had not be practicing for a week or so. Needless to say I was squeaking and sounding like a raped duck.

My comments to others, who were impressed by my progress, was that yes I read music, and had played the trumpet at one point but felt that this was much easier to play. It still required regular practice? This did however give rise to the idea that maybe I would like to try again with the trumpet. It does have a sexier sound. Knowing that with consistent practice I might actually get somewhere.

That would be in the middle area of the effort versus payoff. The one that certainly took the longest to give a go, but is showing the most impressive results, is the typing. The thing is as soon as I allow myself to look at the keyboard, the throughput drops. I do not know what that has to do with anything.

As long as I am looking up at the clock, I can type non-stop and with minimal errors. I can even catch myself when I hit the wrong key before the spell checker beeps. The thing that is getting me now is that the beep at the end of the line is the same as a misspelling and I am actually typing full lines of text without any errors.

The other crazy thing is the words that I commonly use that are not in the spell checker. Like beep and putting.

It has not been overnight this amazing discovery of putting in some effort to gain long term benefits, but the "graduation" moment is certainly at the present time.

Our letter writing is another of those areas that I have made some changes. I am certainly less in the "I write one, you write one" mode. I am one to feel that we can continue to grow from the experience of being open with each other.

Time, I think we have both discussed the restraints we find on our time and the effort to keep the communication lines open between us. I do know you read my letters and yes the picture of you sitting on your steps and opening my latest missive is certainly one that brings me nice warm feelings.

I am going to cut back on the number of pages in each letter for a little bit and seek a more balance in my writing. I think if I begin to put more planning into my writing, you will still get great reading material, but instead of a half a pound chuck hamburger, we will work toward a one-third pound serving of sirloin.

Part of this upgrade, will be an effort to make the letters more cohesive. In the short-term, I will take the extra time and be sure that any questions I raise will be included on a recap sheet.

The to-do list is a great example. It turned out to be a great idea; your initial complaints turned into faint praise. At that point I did my typical thing and dropped the ball. Do you understand how pervasive this lack of "control" in my life has led to so many problems that it is really no surprise I ended up in prison?

Okay that is all for today.

There are no to-do's in this letter so there will be no to-do list. I will continue to work through your letter, and hopefully within the next few days I will be able to articulate my feelings in a way that does more clarifying than confusing.

Until you get the final letter in this series, I ask you to hold any comments. I am going to hopefully be able to tie all my thoughts up in one neat package. That is my intention; let us see how close I come to that objective.
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