Darkness Turned to Light
Alexandria Cockrill, Division 3, College freshman #ws16e-s1d3

In the Merriam - Webster's Collegiate Dictionary best is defined as the most productive of good : offering or producing the greatest advantage, utility, or satisfaction.  With that being said I would like to explain beforehand that my best experience is neither joyous nor lighthearted.  However I would describe my time spent in prison as my best, because it gave me the greatest advantage concerning my life now as well as the wisdom I possess for my days to come.
Although everyone's experience while being incarcerated may be different from person to person my own personal occurrences put me in the position to grow in the relationship I had with my Higher Power as well as with my grandparents, whom had raised me.  While undergoing my circumstances I was able to escape the world; my world that was filled with the constant use of drugs, by escaping that lifestyle it in turn led me to grow a newfound and healthy relationship with my grandparents.  Even on the hardest days I was able to learn to rely on my Higher Power and continue on with my life no long by my own understand, but by the voice of reason from Him.  When I finally reached my last days of imprisonment and would be released the growth in my both relationships would b e put to the test to see if they could flourish while dealing with life on life's terms, which they have, but I would never have had that idle time to improve my relationships if I had never experienced life in such an environment.

While my relationship with my Higher Power was growing it was allowing my eyes to become more open to the many diverse cultures and people from all types of backgrounds.  It's deeper than learning to look at a person for more than just what was presented on the surface.  Upon going into prison I looked at it for what it was, a punishment for a crime I had committed, but it became more than that; it became an opportunity for me to have a new outlook on the world and the people surrounding me.  Very rarely are things just black and white, there are always grey areas; I was able to grasp the concept of, ""not judging a book by it's cover.""  Unless I was a person have walked through their life and experienced every hurt and happy moment in their life I would never have the right to judge them and even then I still wouldn't, because it's not my place.  I was given chance with my time spent incarcerated to not view the world with such harsh and closed eyes, but rather with love and compassion that continues to grow every day.

John Lennon once said, ""Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see,"" because of my incarceration I am now able to live more open minded and aware which is strengthening me daily.  Before my time in prison I lived a very sheltered life, I was the only child in the house, so I had no responsibilities and was spoiled to say the least.  During my time away I was able to learn the value of a dollar and have more appreciation for what I did have.  It wasn't rare for my grandparents to send me money for my commissary, but I did have to learn to spend wisely and make a list which I have now applied to my life even to this very day.  While I learned to keep track of my finances I gained a sense of responsibility that I otherwise never would have been familiar with if it were not for my time spent in prison.  I didn't have anyone there to hold my hand, physically speaking, throughout the day, I was in a position where I had to do things on my own and gain independence.  By utilizing those skills I had learned during my imprisonment I have been able to excell much farther in life rather than if  I had not underwent that particular experience.

Nowadays I try my best to wake up and live each day with an attitude of gratitude.  When I look at my grandfather who had recently had one of his toes amputated I still see him push himself to have high spirits every day.  In my own way I want to pursue that sense of joy in all of my days now, because I no long am living in the toughest days of my life.  I can look at the world and look for the best in each day regardless of what it may hold.  My first day home I saw hummingbird while I was sitting outside and I broke down in tears because if something so small can fight every day for life then I know I can.  My Jesus' Calling book said today that, ""sometimes My blessings come to you in mysterious ways : through pain and trouble,"" which coincides with what Ani Difranco said, ""Some of life's best lessons are learned at the worst time,"" so by surrendering to the will that my Higher Power had for me I was able to take myself out of the selfishness that I lived in for so long and show humility for the first time in my life.  Rather than living with an attitude of entitlement I am thankful to even be alive at all.  Looking at it at face value you will see that I lost a years of my life behind bars, but if it weren't for me expressing my appreciation for what I did endure no one would know everything I gained and that more than makes up for the year I lost.
Eventually toward the end of my journey I realized above all the life lessons that were going on during my time away my Higher Power was trying to teach me the importance of patience.  Honestly before my incarceration I had no patience and I was extremely quick to anger when things went against the way that I wanted them to.  That quickly changed, things no longer were going to happen how and when I wanted them to.  After living in the fast and growing world of technology it was almost agonizing waiting on the snail mail in order to communicate with my grandparents.  Between the slow communication and not being able to eat or shower when I wanted some days I felt that I would lose my mind, because so much bitterness had built up.  I one day decided to give it over to my Higher Power, because being bitter and angry is not how I wanted to spend my time.  With every mail call and meal call I grew more and more patient with things not being on my own terms.  With patience you can have growth no matter how slow the process may be; it's still a process nonetheless.  There will always be a light at the end of the tunnel and I can always rise above my circumstances like a Phoenix rises from the ashes.

When you look at things from the outside in it's understandable for some not to agree with being in prison to be the best experience of my life, even my grandfather gave me wild looks, but it's because of everything I went through that has caused me to see the good that I got out of it.  After eight years of being a drug addict and causing myself to end up in prison I realized it was time for a change and my circumstances at the time allowed me to be in position to do some life changes.  I feel like it's not necessarily the one particular experience that was the best, but rather a bunch of little experiences during my time in prison that formed one large experience that had molded me into the person I am today; a person that I can be proud of no matter what happens.  Like a lot of things in life it may not be the huge events that make our time on this earth better, but it is the little ones that we so often take granted which can make the biggest differences in our lives if we are ever presented with a time of their absence.  That is what my experience in prison taught me; it brought about a whole new attitude for life that has set the foundation for the rest of my life.  Learning not to judge a person by their background or culture, growing in the relationship that I have with my Higher Power, being able to do express the love I have so longed to be able to share with my grandparents, and so many more have given me the greatest advantage thus far in my life and that is why it is my best experience in life, because it has ultimately caused me the greatest satisfaction with who I am today.
Shared publiclyView activity