The journal of Ralph Fuller

October 13th, 2007

This last month has been quite hectic: The job that I've had for over a year has been taken from me because they need it for level 1 inmates; The prison has been on 3 lock downs concerning the Whites & Mexicans; I have not been able to receive my Canteen; The medical system here will not give me the medications I need for my Carpel Tunnel Syndrome; I have not been able to use the phone to contact anyone; My mother had knee replacement surgery and had some problems; My cell has been ransacked twice because of the lock downs: many of my personal items have been removed from my cell; I have started a new job as a Teacher's aide for the vocational automotive electric class. There is nothing in the shop area. We are starting the class from scratch.

January 13, 2008

I was talking on the phone to my aunt the other day and casually mentioned that on the upper yard someone had murdered their cellie. It was then that I realized how this did not shock me. Have I become so used to all of this violence? It scared me to think that I thought of it as nothing. this was someone's life. Over the 21+ years I've been incarcerated I have seen too many things. I try to block these things out of my head.

It got me to thinking how much I have changed since my incarceration. I have become institutionalized. It seriously scares me to think of being on the outside of these institutions.I am used to doing what I'm told to do. When did this happen? How can I break myself out of this rutt that I've made out of my life? I've learned not to open up to anyone and keep my feelings within. I used to miss being able to be close with someone. Now I no longer even desire it. I believe this is sad that I have given up my last will to live life, but only survive. Is that what life is all about, only survival? I truly hope not.

February 19th, 2008

Each day I wait for the officer to pass out the mail. The long weekends are the worst. I usually receive something- an ad junk mail- as some people call it. When I get one of these things, I feel special. Someone knows I am alive. I can actually see my name printed on something and these people want me to respond to their advertisement. I actually matter to someone. It is not often that I actually receive a letter from someone. Most people have stopped writing many years ago. When I actually do receive a letter from someone it is cherished. I immediately write them back. I dissect each and every word - sometimes a bit too much.

Alas, another day has come and gone in which I have not received a single piece of mail. When this happens, I become so visibly depressed because of it. Why do I allow myself to feel worthless when there is no mail for me? It really is stupid when I actually think about it. At times it takes me a while to find the root of my depression. When I do find the cause of "no mail" I actually have to have a conversation with myself to snap out of it.

It's so easy to feel you have been forgotten when you are in these places. However, I know it is not only I who is effected by my incarceration. I know it is very difficult for my loved ones to think of me in prison. It took me years to realize that my loved ones feel my incarceration as well.