Hey guys, Noah here.
I just wanted to let you know that your comments and direct messages, from you the readers and community of construction2style, mean the world to me.
They not only keep me motivated, but they give value to my life. They make me feel like what I am doing is important and is making an impact. They also give me direction such as ideas for new topics and discussions and what I want to do with my future. I love sharing them with other inmates that have contributed to the blog over the past years. In hopes that the messages give them the courage to continue to share their stories as well because they matter.
Many of the comments have reoccurring themes and encouragements, how good or even how great of a writer I am (Thank you!). Not something I ever thought anyone would say to me mainly because my grades in English were average at best and the feedback from my papers in my junior and senior year in high school gave little motivation to keep working on my craft.
Maybe it’s because I am finally writing about something I am interested in: ME! And relating it to people in a great community: YOU! And the concept of US, and community, is awesome to me.
Many comments have also encouraged me to do public speaking after my release, at schools and treatment centers, both things that are on the future agenda of Resilience2Reform. The various praises that come through on the posts is a big part of what keeps me moving forward, on the days when I don’t feel like sharing or I reach a topic that I know people can learn from but makes me uncomfortable. I am able to push the doubt aside and write it anyways.
Then there are the direct messages that are so often breathtaking because of how personal people can get. They reveal things that people could only reveal to someone who they know has been in their shoes before.
Sometimes they ask for advice and I don’t know how to answer the question; but I am able to at least give them a perspective, many times from the point of view of the individual that they are having problems with and I hope my responses help. I often use these messages as bookmarks and sometimes I open my book and I get pulled in and only read the comments written on the piece of paper, a printed correspondence from my sister or simply a sentence that I wrote down because it inspired me, and I completely forget what I was doing in the first place. They get me through the dark times.
There is one I have been holding onto since Jan 11th, that’s when my sister sent it to me anyway, but it’s from a reader who was directed to my sister’s blog. I don’t even know if it’s a girl or a guy and it doesn’t matter but what does matter is what the reader says, that they found us and wanted to let us know that we made a difference today. “YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING!,” sticks out in all caps and warms my heart every time I read it.
Most days in here I don’t feel amazing but when I read these comments, I do. I know how it feels when I relate to someone’s story and when someone relates to mine, it’s 10 times as good. This is the best example I can give about how these comments impact my life in prison, and the best words I can use to describe my feelings, are hope and value because that is what they bring to my life.
In regards to hope, the comments and messages have given me a new outlook on life, beyond just maintaining a positive attitude in a crappy situation, but furthermore that I might actually have a future, one that I could enjoy or even be good at. I will try not to get ahead of myself but someways it’s hard to not think of the endless possibilities. In prison, especially early on and for some people, it’s the whole time, you have so much free time on your hands to think about what you have done and what you are going to do.
The first five-plus years of my sentence were only spent on what I have done but now I can dream about what I am going to do and to me that’s hope.
Finding value while being incarcerated is one of the hardest things I have ever been able to obtain. It’s hard enough to find moments of true happiness while incarcerated but to actually find value in your time spent in prison, is something extraordinary.
The greatest obstacle for most is the negative environment that is created in prison, something that I have shared about in the past. (Refer to previous post/negative environment) It’s in these environments that most don’t have access to any form of encouragement.
A lack of encouragement is something that held me back early on in life, along with a pile of insecurities that I chose to bury instead of acknowledge. I am not sitting back anymore, I am uncovering and revealing these insecurities and with my writing, I am getting the validation through these comments that the material is helpful and to me that’s value.
Keep sending them because I will never get tired of reading them and they are making an impact on my life as well as the lives of the other contributors on the blog.
I can tell because when I show the comments and messages to them they grow silent as if they are thinking about running away to find someplace where they feel safe shedding a tear. I always let the silence go on as long as it has to and wait for them to speak first, most times it is simply a hug or a thank you and they are on their way but sometimes it’s a deeper conversation about what it feels like to have thousands of people relate to your material.
I know they are touched because they tell me. I will keep sharing my story and bring you other triumphant stories of those I come into contact with but I need you to keep sharing with me what is moving you and helping.
Thanks for listening,