Coming up through halfway through my sentence, it’s a very important landmark because I have reached the top, so it’s all downhill from now. Looking back at my first year, it was such a struggle and a hideous experience. I would find myself with a twisted mouth and grimace on my face, expressing my anguish.
I was in one of them old Victorian inner city prisons, built for prisoners in the Napoleonic wars. They are squalid, overcrowded, ramshackle hell holes. I am in a better prison now, but it’s still not easy for me being in a small cell most of the day. Just looking out my window at the wildness and birds flying, I can see some cows in a field far away.
Letters from my friends help keep me sane. Sometimes I will not open my letters for a week, as I want to keep that feeling of stimulus for as long as I can. As that’s the only excitement I get, visits and letters, I have to stretch out the good times.
I do many strange things, like I have 10 newspaper clippings all over my cell of deceased people who have died in accidents. You may think that macabre and morbid and you would be right, but there is reasoning in my madness. Every time I am feeling low or down, I look at the clippings of the dead, then realise things could be a lot worse.
I also have bright coloured paper that looks like Christmas lights all over my cell, which seems to surprise every one that comes into my cell to visit me. Just my way of getting through this shit time in my life.
Prison is a second by second assault on the soul, a day-to-day degradation of the self, an oppressive steel and brick umbrella that transforms seconds into hours and hours into days.
I have just come back from the exercise yard, walking around a concrete small enclosure for two hours – so depressing.
Now I know what a bird must feel like in a cage, a goldfish in a bowl. Thinking back to the times I saw polar bears in the zoo – pacing up and down with nothing to do, now I know?