April 30, 2015

A few feet of runway behind me…

I self-surrendered at FCI McKean yesterday at 9:42am. It was intense, confusing and heartbreaking as my wife left and I went inside for processing. The first 24 hours of confinement have been balanced by cautious introversion with eyes wide open. I have learned a lot from people reaching out to help. Fellow prisoners have stepped up to share helpful thoughts, prayers, tips, snacks and hope when each was needed most. While I sit here after breakfast in my size 4XL green jump-suit waiting to hear my name called to retrieve my size 2XL dress-out, I’m already thinking about how I can best pay-forward the sweatpants and sweatshirt that my neighboring bunkee helped me retrieve from a trash bag so that I had something to sleep in last night.

I hear that two bus loads of new inmates will be arriving soon and I feel obliged to help anticipate their needs in the same gracious fashion I am so thankful to have received.

I keep checking my pocket-less jumpsuit thinking that I feel my iPhone vibrating, but there is nothing there, not even the pocket. I’m continuously reminded that things have changed, which re-centers my mind to focus on the goals I have defined for this journey. These goals will require every bit of energy, including that which would have been spent had I actually been able to reach into my pocket and find said device needing my attention.

The fellowship gathering I attended last night was uplifting, and the reality of where I find myself became crystal clear as we concluded by praying for our captors and their families. I miss my family to a magnitude that cannot be expressed. For the first time, I also feel that an answer to the question “why did you do it” is emerging like darkness rising in the sky as the sun comes over the horizon. It reminds me of days past looking out the front windscreen into a new day having flown all night from west to east. I know how I did what I did, and I know that it was wrong, but I also owe each  member of my family and my numerous supportive friends an answer to why I did it. I am thankful for my son who directly questioned me on this as we sat on the bench discussing it in tears after our tennis match a few days ago. I can’t yet put the answer into words, but my goals are focused on reaching deeper to identify a precise message beyond reliance on having just made mistakes. When I am able to state the reasons and circumstances of why I committed the crimes that I did, I will have achieved the level of clarity I seek with the hope that others may learn from my experience. It is possible to prevent this from happening, but the overcrowding in our prison system seems to indicate that we may have a long way to go to move the needle.

As a result of working with my prison consultant, Justin Paperny, I feel like I am ahead of schedule in my adjustment to federal prison. Additionally, the traction I am gaining is a result of knowing that my family is well and that I am loved and supported. It is also a result of preparation and focus. My confidence knowing that something positive will come out of this journey continues to grow stronger, so perhaps I am right where I am supposed to be right now.

Kevin Boardman

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