“Whenever I was younger and I would be like, how am I gonna get out of this situation? I always told myself, well, you take one foot and you put in in front of your other foot, and then you go forward into your fuckin’ future.” – Chan Marshall AKA Cat Power (musician/entertainer)
Left. Right. Left.
Left. Right. Left.
One step at a time.
Don’t look back. Look forward.
You can make it.
Don’t sweat the small shit… or the big shit… don’t sweat shit, you better bring an army with ya. Cuz I ain’t trippin’. I’m smiling… smile with me?
Today was a good day… so was yesterday… just like tomorrow. Everyday is a good day. Ya gotta be a giant cuz everything is small shit to a giant, ya feel me?
I just make small attainable goals right now. Focus on things that are reasonable, and think about what I can do within the next 24 hours. Write a verse, do 100 push-ups, do pull-ups, write a letter, read a book. Do something productive or do something to exercise my brain or body. If I do what I do everyday then I’ll keep growing and getting better. All I gotta do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and refuse to let my tough circumstances rule me or overwhelm me.
I am in prison. I’m looking out the window, staring at gun towers and barbwire topped fences as far as the eye can see. I’m reminded everyday that I’m just a number. AL2076. I got a lot to be stressed about. But guess what? It ain’t that bad. I go home in a few years. It could be a lot worse… for both of us. You and me. Let me give you one example… for I am sure that over the next few days, months and years I will give many more examples of why we always gotta look on the “bright side” of life.
Let me tell you a story about one of the fellas here on the yard. I believe I have actually mentioned him before. He goes by the name “Savage” and I would have to consider him one of my closest friends in prison. He is 21 years old and has about 1 month left of a 2 year sentence. I’ll tell ya right now that when he goes home next month eh will be sorely missed. He is well known here at the prison as a guy that is constantly laughing, joking around and smiling. We all know or have known people like him in our lives. The type of guy that just seems to have no worries at all. He almost doesn’t even seem human. Especially here in prison, you don’t come across that many fellas that are always smiling. Well “Savage” is one of those guys. No matter what I’m going through or how my da is going, he is always there to lighten the mood. It is pretty amazing. I’m grateful to have him around to be sure. You might even say I’m lucky. Yes. I am lucky.
Well you get the point I’m trying to make about what kind of person he is but what am I trying to tell you? Just this. When “Savage” arrived in prison last year he was told that he is HIV positive. 20 years old, just got to prison and told that he is positive with HIV and because of how advanced it is, most likely he has had it for about 5 years. The doctors told him that they believe he contracted the disease at around age 15. now I’m gonna tell you this again, this guy is one of the closest friends I’ve made since I’ve been down, so the truth is, even as I write this my heart gets heavy. It sucks. It is unfair. It is really sad. But worst of all… it is really, really inspiring. I say that is the worst because it is. Because it takes away all my bullshit excuses to get sad. Here I am everyday with a dude that is a beacon of hope and positivity who refuses to let his day be brought down. Who refuses to “give up” who refuses to “lose hope”. It is really fucking inspiring. It is beautiful in every sense of the word.
How trivial my problems are. So I am in prison. Big deal. I will survive. So maybe you lost your job, or your girl, or you are sleeping on a buddies couch. Maybe you’re not as tall as you wanna be, or maybe you’re going bald or don’t like your belly. Maybe you can’t afford a car so you’re taking the bus. Maybe your band ain’t as big as you want it to be or maybe it’s some other problem that gets you down. It could be anything… I know that in my life I got stressed by loads of “little” things. Looking at it now, all I can think is just how much of a coward I was. To be stressed or insecure or anxious over such truly trivial things, I don’t know about you but I know about me.
So many times in my life I have let little, minute things control the way I felt or acted. Even the way I treated other people. I would have a bad day and take it out on someone else totally undeserving. I would let small shit fuck up my day and let little things control me. Prison. Little thing.
My life is far from over. When I touch down I’m going to hit the ground running. I have my whole life ahead of me. You too, you have your whole life ahead of you. And so does my friend “Savage”.
He laughs and smiles when asked how he deals with it. He just says “What am I supposed to do? Give up? Fuck that! I got my whole life ahead of me!”
Damn fucking right brother. We both got our whole lives ahead of us.
So I leave you with this. Weather it is 5 minutes or 5 days, 24 hours or 24 years… when it’s over it’s over. So I suggest we all make the best of it. Remember… tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives… so till next time, KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN!
Diary of this journal:
Artist: BRIGHT EYES
Title: First Day Of My Life
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Daniel Dart Richert
CMC West Prison
P.O. Box 8103
SLO, CA 93403