So many people have asked me to write about my experience while incarcerated. For a long time I refused. I could not understand why anyone would want to know about what life is like being incarcerated.
Once when I was just a boy, Dad told me that there were no monsters. I awoke one night to something, maybe a sound from within the shadows of my bedroom or a thud from outside my window, what I couldn’t tell you. But whatever it was, it woke me screaming. Screaming as loud as I could.
I remember Dad dashing into my room wide eyed and alert, ready to defend his son from whatever evil was trying to take him. Before I could say anything, I found myself enveloped in Dad’s arms, held close to protect and in that moment I knew I was safe. Dad was here now. He’d said that everything was going to be okay, and that I had a bad dream (what dream? I don’t remember a dream). I muttered something about monsters I’m sure, because I remember him saying, “Son there’s no such thing as monsters. Go back to sleep.” And, since Dad was always right, every little boy knows this, I went back to sleep.
Why did Dad lie to me? For half my life I believed him, that there were no such things as monsters. I tried to convince myself that he lied to protect me from the cold truth of the world. That monsters exist and that they are everywhere. Maybe he had hoped like every father does that his son would be the lucky one and would never have to experience the truth. That in the end things would be okay.
As of this writing, I’ve been incarcerated for a little more than half my entire life. Time has changed my view of the world, and now I think I will write for you. I now understand why people want to know. Monsters do exist and I have found them—all of them.
Dad knew the whole time.