The Hot Seat
Tears come to my eyes when I think about a 10x8 cell surrounded by bars, a metal bed, a desk, a toilet, and a sink, squeezed all in one cell in Buena Vista State Penitentiary. A program called Therapeutic Community. I call it forced sobriety, a reprogramming community to tell the truth. Writing a story about my life in this program showed myself how I felt so far behind in life. How I didn’t know any better or I basically lacked education to defend myself. My people die for lack of knowledge.
I hated myself and began to cry. The night after I wrote my story, I looked at myself in the little mirror I got off commissary. I began telling myself “I hate you, Truman, look what you did to us. Look at where you put us.” For some reason I began to punch myself repeatedly as I cried. Abandonment, abuse, confusion, uneducated, poor, drug, violence, PTSD really played a role in my 2-year 7-month stint with a 9-month parole chaining me to the state.
It was only a three-year sentence! Why did I do more than three years? How come I did not receive the one-month pre-sentence confinement? I had so many questions while writing this story of myself. Train up a child in the way they should go and they will not depart from it.
Ms. Bolton, the lady leading the TC program, screams while I am in the hot seat. People ask questions about who are they? I won’t snitch. Who are regular people? I reply “Regular people go to a doctor when they are depressed.” They don’t go to the liquor store or a street pharmacist to forget. I had no therapist. Why does no one hear me.
I believe you can be around millions of people and still feel alone. Maybe that $100,000 that it cost to keep me in prison could have fixed me?
I hate to draw because it reminds me of incarceration. I should of told them what I really wanted but it’s a little too late now. Who am I?
Painting by Gwynne Duncan