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Change: My Story

Kathryn Kohlenberg

Change: My Story

As I’m walking out the doors of Unit 2 to head to the chow hall I hit the pavement, look around at the yard. The oh, so small prison yard that it is and see all the other fellow inmates like me dressed in yellow and green and some white and green outfits.

I think to myself, I have got to change my ways.

I don’t want this to be my daily view for the rest of my days. I would like to view different visions and see different things besides these short limited options of six buildings with some big windows and small windows. Beyond the buildings I get to see wired fences all around me. No place to escape but inside the reality of my mind. And that's when it hit me and I think to myself, I don’t need to change but I want to change.

My Change

I think damn, I have been given the chance to change and I am taking it, running with it, so I don’t change my mind and go back to the old ways. Running from my problems.

I’m alive today, I’m open-minded, I’m thankful, I’m sober, I’m still a part of my kid's life and family that should be enough to change right there, but I’m working on changing so I don’t fall back cause each fall hurts more and more getting back up. 

I am more forgiving, I’m more careful and my anger I learned to control a little better.

I have dignity and I learned to accept humility. That’s a real big one for me. Humility is the recognition that every human being is unique and each and every person on this planet has value and a story to tell “for I am one.”

I tell myself how can I stay open to what others have to tell and share. And I think about it and came to the conclusion, well by listening cause I know I would like someone to listen to me as I tell my story and maybe learn something from it or even have it touch their hearts.

So, as I sit here, I think. Prison is what made these changes for me. Prison. Some feel, “Oh God, my life is over.” Absolutely not for this offender.

I tell myself my life is saved and today is my chance to wake up and change. And no, not just my clothes, LOL. It’s to change my heart, body and soul, to get up and out of the shadows of the darkness I’ve been in. 

I had to learn to change my thinking to positive thinking and change my raunchy attitude.

So, as I step back through the doors and go upstairs, turn left and walk down the hallway to my cell, lay down on my bed I reflect back on the walk I just had and tell myself, Yup, today is the day my change begins.

Painting by Gwynne Duncan 

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