A Strong Mind, by Michael Linear (The Black Lens Spokane | November 2018)

Black Prisoners’ Caucus Coyote Ridge Chapter
The Black Lens Spokane | www.blacklensnews.com | Page 8
November 2018
A Strong Mind
By: Michael Linear
Prison has made me strong, not weak. Striving in conditions where fathers seldom take responsibility for what they did. My pain is my motivation, and it drives me to a satisfactory type of success. When I lay down at night, I wonder who thinks about me while I’m here.
Another year went by with most of my time spent in submission, but I realize that I’m the cause of my own agony. Who can I blame when I know the difference between right and wrong? Even though, I’ve been excluded more times than I have been included, I push on with a might that’s immeasurable.
All I ask is that one just believe in me, and even then, if all else fails, I have to believe in myself. No one can be there for me wholeheartedly but me. I am the father of my many sub personalities. In this environment, you can be surrounded by “200” men at any given time, and still feel lonely. Physically we are here together, but consciously we are the distance between earth and mars.
Every day, I rise to conditions that are unacceptable: uneducated men, fathers who don’t care about being away from their children, men with no vision, souls that are spiritually misguided, and brothers who have been away from society for so long they don’t even know they’re hurting.  These are the realities of the feeble mind. These are the classification of men who indulge in self-effacing mannerisms daily. Unaware of the long term effects of these choices, they plunge deeper into those harmful behaviors.
“We cannot find ourselves until we lose ourselves”, but how many are ready to face the unknown.
It is evident that the courage is missing. Bodies wander aimlessly because minds are filled with things that don’t matter. White America has been trying to dilute the Black man’s focus with fashion, drug use, and high hopes of making it big in show business for their entertainment. It’s no different than taking two of the biggest slaves and fighting them against each other, for the purpose of amusement.
Our minds are so weak, we convince our selves that we own a street corner that when the police come, we run. An extension of this truth can be seen even on the prison yards. Men from all races rush with diligence to claim pieces of the Department of Correction’s property: tables, exercise bars, and even showers. They have us right where they want us striving for a false sense of power. Black people wake up!!
In the eyes of justice, I am looked upon as a man who deserves no attention from society. However, if you look upon my melanin attached to my physical structure, you see the masculinity of a focused, head strong, Black man. Racism can never identify the prosperous qualities of a Black man. I’m defined by my constant efforts to achieve on a higher level. My morals, principals, and values are filled with a healing substance.
“I never had to figure out who I wanted to be; all I had to do was determine who I was going to be.”
Prison can’t define me; I define it. From the outside glancing in, you probably vision me locked inside of a steel cage. Push that vision to the side and make room for what really is. I am a man that has turned his pain to power. Education is my road to success, along with assisting brothers on their journey for healing, and guiding them back to the path of progress.
My goals as an ambassador of peace are to elevate the minds of the incarcerated so that they develop the ability to free themselves mentally. Yes, there are really men that push this type of agenda in prison. I am just one of many.
For the Black men and women, we know that the Caucasian men and women have been creating mental designs to control our minds since the beginning of America’s time. If you recognize this, what else can you see? I see opportunities to lead brothers and sisters in the community, and the vision to create new designs that will allow our people to prosper tremendously.
When I first entered the system, I had the negative attitude of many Black men  and women who fall victim to prison: I joked. I fought. Used drugs, and uplifted my street gang. This is all that I cared about. I was dead weight occupying a bed and a space. Until a brother pulled me to the side and asked me a question that became an inflection point in my time of doing “time”. He said, “Do you know the best way to keep a secret hidden from a Black man?” I said, “No.” He replied, “All they do is put it in a book because we don’t read.”
In this moment, I felt ashamed, humiliated, and disappointed. I thought to myself: how does a man with twenty-six years end up in a cycle of fictitious things? Convicted in my spirit, I made my way to the prison library, and it was there where the expansion of my mind began.
Where will the story of your strong mind begin?
Any comments or questions contact the Black Prisoners’ Caucus Coyote Ridge at: bpceast@gmail.com

Originally published at Black Len News: http://blacklensnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Black_Lens_November-2018_Final.pdf

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