Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thirty-Three Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp

Tomorrow my mother will drive up to Taft Camp for her final prison visit.  This makes me very happy.  She has made the long trek with my step-father, Ken, several times over the past  year. Up until last September, those visits always ended emotionally, with tears falling.  She would have to drive back to Los Angeles worrying about me, and I would have to walk back into prison.

As I await tomorrow’s visit, I can’t help but think back to before my imprisonment began.  The general consensus among the Paperny family was that this sentence would waste one year of my life.  We all accepted it as a reality, and I self-surrendered to the camp fully expecting that the time would be a waste.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Instead of being a waste, this time in Taft Camp has been one of the most productive and fulfilling years of my life.  People may cringe when they read this and feel as if I’ve gone somewhat stir crazy.  The truth is the truth, however, and the one year I’ve served in Taft Camp has also been one of my happiest.  Perhaps I’m only feeling that way because I’m now within five weeks to the door.  I can’t be certain, though I can say that the strategies I’ve followed have empowered me in ways that I never would have expected before I self-surrendered.

I have made good use of the time I’ve served.  The reason I feel so strong is largely based on the inspiration I’ve felt to make my family and friends proud.  Those who read these daily writings of my countdown should know that my spirits feel high and my sense of direction is intact.  For those anticipating a journey through prison, I hope they derive a sense of encouragement through these words.  Prison adjustments, in retrospect, have everything to do with attitude.  I’ve had some good mentors to guide me, and through these recordings of my experiences, I hope others recognize that some growth came come from the time inside.  With the right attitude, it’s not a waste.

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