What is a honey – moon anyway? A big round thing that arrives in the sky every night coated in treacle! I must say that it’s only of recent that I am able to look up at night and see the stars and the lovely bright moon. Normally on the way to the coal shed to get another top up for my amazing open fire.
At this juncture I must apologise for the lack of blogging, writing, emailing, tweeting etc. The honeymoon period is over. At least for this sweet tasting moonbeam it is. My realisation has been forming over the past few weeks since my four month anniversary. A lot has happened in these four months and it’s only when I’ve taken a breath and stared at a wall of a day or two do I realise how fragile I’ve become. Not fragile as in breakable but fragile as in my own ‘Self’. I’m now not the mad raging lunatic that left prison but more a calm open individual who appreciates the simple things in life and if I’m allowed I can get by with little effort or cause for concern. It all came to a head on my Mum’s Birthday. Cutting a long story short, my Mum came over and stayed the night. On the morning of Birthday I was able to walk into the bedroom deliver a kiss to the forehead and set a card on the pillow as she woke. I sleepy smile lit me up like you cannot believe and I went down the stairs and made the bacon egg and toast etc. After breakfast I realised that this was the first time since I was thirteen that my Mum and I had spent the morning of her Birthday under the same roof. All the stuff I do pales into significance when I realise the women who brought me into this world needs just as I do.
So with this newfound realisation that what I really have is not only a Mum but a family who look out for me and enjoy the fact that I can pick up the phone, walk through the door and or have a coffee with when time and circumstance suit. They are all that matters and they are right in front of me. I’ve discovered that even though I like to hold my own council that I’m part of something much more than eloquent words. My passion for a better society via education and awareness has had to take a back seat for a few weeks whilst I work all of this out. It’s been draining and seriously emotional but as always I come out the other side realising I’m bigger and better and stronger for working things out.
“It’s loneliness that is the killer.” or is it? When a body finds oneself in prison the honeymoon there ends rather abruptly. Normally in the first week, however it gets better. After a few months one finds that one has become stuck to the mattress staring at the ceiling or wall. There is a prisons term or phrase for this but at this particular time it alludes me (perhaps someone out there can fill me in). It’s not that one has become lazy but more dissuaded, non functional, challenging identity and purpose of the nothing that one has been labelled and has to accept to get by. After a while one snaps out of it but it’s left its mark and disaffection and dissuasion remains a permanent companion. Each move to a new wing finds around four months the standard time to be accepted and fit in. With that in mind I believe that the same is in reverse upon release. I recall reading the little literature there is that most deaths, suicides, overdoses, recalls etc are in the four – six month period after release. I concur. The dreams I’ve been having about pints of cider, lines of coke and the joy of my structured irresponsible life inside tug at my sensibility every single day. It’s not really that hard to understand but it’s a terrible indication of the society we live in that it’s easier not to do. I received a prison magazine last week and new all but one of the names of the contributors. I found myself missing them and wanting to be back among them. Some of these guys I found it hard to get along with but even they became appealing.
However, today, this morning I have came to the conclusion that’s been tapping away at my subconscious for weeks and I willing plagiarise Andy Duffresne in the Shawshank Redemption, “Time to get busy living or busy dying.” The truth is that there are a thousand choices and a load more emotions going on that cannot be cast aside but at the end of the day I just need to get the head down and get on with it. At a few recent meetings up at Stormont I have been able to introduce myself as per CharterHouse rules as “Michael Irwin Queens University” and marvel at the sense of achievement this causes as it gently rolls of the tongue. I see some people smile at this and others shift in their seats. My new identity has evolved but revolved around the fact that I was wallowing in the identity passed down to me by the system. I feel that a new chapter has been started and the wallowing is over.
This blog has evolved from an anger to understanding and acknowledgment that there is hop out there and it is being fought over. My interactions, words and behaviour are relevant to my future progress and integrity and I feel that it is only right that my this blog takes a new turn. I don’t want people to recognise themselves in this or indeed, for me, it has all become a bit too personal and I wonder how much of myself must I give. It’s been great o share and hear the responses from others but as I’m now in a different world of words and hopefully employment I’ll have to curb what i write and or what I feel. It’s always been about me but now it’s about others also and it is with this in mind that I must bow and keep my integrity by saying adieu. I’ll keep blogging but they will be less and more focused on stuff that doesn’t involve me continuously wearing my heart on my sleeve. Thank you for listening and sharing and I will see you all in the not too distant future. Having said that…