Pieces of the Puzzle

Illustration by Emma Jenkins

Illustration by Emma Jenkins

Being locked up is difficult, so I appreciate the people who take time to write in and share a piece of themselves. We don’t always want to talk about what it was like or what we are feeling behind bars. The last time I went to jail, while I was waiting to go to prison, I felt a weird sense of calmness. I knew I was going upstate, so I wasn’t nervous about going back on the streets. I can’t say I made a lot of “friends” in jail or prison, but what I can say is that I was friendly with people. It made doing time a lot easier. I laughed a lot.

In prison, I began writing and drawing—hobbies I never found time for on the outside. Creating art was like finding a piece of myself that I didn’t even know was there. If we are like jigsaw puzzles—our lives made up of thousands of moments—we need those defining moments, like the four corners of a puzzle, to complete the picture.

I think I found one of my corners behind bars when I learned how to see and treat people with respect and without judgement. I finally understood that my word was my greatest currency.

It’s been a long time since I got out, but I remember that time in a good way because it led me to where I am today. I hope I still have many moments left to complete my puzzle, but I think my “four corners” are in place. Do you have your corners yet?