By Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher
I Have a Dream
When my “Out Date” arrives in about a year, I will be going to a Halfway House where I will receive the help and assistance needed to readjust and get on my feet. The counselors there will have a packet of information on every aspect of my history, medical issues, and recommendations from my prison case manager.
As a part of preparing this packet, one of the things I needed to do was put together a resume to help the counselors there assess my employment potential. Just the act of pulling together my work and educational history, skills, and personal accomplishments all into one document gave me a sense of pride and confidence. It also gave me the courage to dare to speak of my dreams for the future.
I’m pretty sure that if you were to ask 100 men in prison if they had a dream and were able to live it, I might be the only one who would say I want to give back to the community and world in a way that could matter.
When thinking about getting out of prison many scenarios play continually in my mind about what I will do with the rest of my life. I don’t want all the other stuff quite as much as I would like to be able to go back to school just enough to go into the field of social work, maybe speaking to groups and most definitely troubled youth.
In fact the very idea that this could be a reality for me when I get released is amazing and I will positively look into it and see what I will need to do to get accredited or certified or whatever it would take to at least get involved in the field.
This drive and desire is so instilled in me that on the night of Friday the 3rd of September 2021, I had a dream about it. This dream was really life-like and when I woke up I could remember far more of it than I normally do.
In this dream, I was in a gymnasium type setting; the place was full of kids in their teen years, as well as some adults around the fringes. I was standing and walking in front of them, speaking to this young audience, kind of like a motivational speaker. I was telling them that although they were all here because they had become problematic, I understood their problems probably better than they did, for I had walked the same destructive path when I was young. Before it’s too late, I told them, they could change – that even the toughest and most hardened of criminals can change.
On a huge screen behind me, I showed images of myself in some of the most notorious penitentiaries in the country so they could see the person I once was. That while the world had pretty much chosen to throw me away because of the choices I had made, I, me, myself had decided I didn’t like who I was and what I had found myself becoming in the situation and circumstances I was in. I wanted them to see that even though I had been thrown out of some of the roughest prisons in the United States because I was unmanageable, I had changed.
But it took me and my will and commitment to even start that change. No one else can change you, and no one in the world can change for you.
It takes courage to step away from what you know.
It takes strength to step into unknown territory and make yourself into the person that you know you want to be and walk away from the one you had created with bad choices and stupid challenges.
It takes courage, strength, determination and belief in yourself. this is where change comes from for you, from within you.
You are the changes you want to become. You! You must do the things that are hard for you, step into the light, become someone you can be proud of.
No one else can do it – not your parents or your friends, or the neighbors, or your teachers! No one but you makes you who and what you want to be, and it is never too late to become that change! I know because it took me 37 years in prison to get it right. . .
Now as I think of my dream and the empowering things I said, I can’t get over the one thing that struck me most about it – the number of times and the amount of truth that all came back to the one word – YOU.
At that moment I realized that the you was indeed me, and I wanted to be the one who was able to take my truths and share them and get them out to these people, as much or more than I have ever wanted anything else in my entire life.
So here it is, a dream of mine – a real dream – based on things I have mentioned to people close to me before. This is something that I truly want to do, so I am going to have to find a way to take “me” and go back to school, do what is hardest and learn whatever I have to in order to make this dream a reality. I’m sure of this, just as sure as I am of the fact that doing this is going to change a lot of my plans and a lot of what I thought I would do when released.
Now I see that my journey is really only beginning. See, I have a dream. . .
SEE SOMEONE OF WORTH I ache so deeply for the freedoms I gave away, I learned my lessons and the price I have paid, I’m standing on the edge and it would be so easy again to fall, Without someone to reach out and help me make sense of it all, It wouldn’t take much, a kind word of encouragement or two, Or a point in the right direction, or whatever you could do, see, we need to be humanized and shown compassion again, We need to do the right things instead of where we have been, So if you look closely, deep inside you will see, Someone of worth and that someone is me... Steven Walks on the Grass to Sings Many Songs September 22, 2019 Walks, your tender spirit shines through, In all you say and do, Walks On The Grass, I see great worth in you, I see many angels standing at your side, Listen! They will help you, With kind patience they abide, Your struggles they can see, but that’s not all, They will guide you if you stumble, And they will catch you if you fall. Sings Many Songs September 23, 2019 And it’s good to know it is still seen, even with the cracks and dents in between, and there is help in what you say, after all it took 30 years and some to get this way, now I will be closing my eyes as I look inside , to that special place where the angels fly, cuz you told me they will be there, and you told me of my worth and that you care, So I will walk softly in this new way, cuz in love and beauty is where I will stay, and one last thing before I go, you’re amazing and I wanted to tell you so. Steven Walks on the Grass September 23, 2019
I am actually glowing with excitement and so proud of myself I could explode. I have actually done what I set out to do; I have written a book from beginning to end, from where I started, to where I wanted to stop. I did it and with a lot less pain than I anticipated. For that I thank my awesome editor and publisher, Edna “Sings Many Songs” Dixon, my cousin, my friend and my mentor, to whom I owe more than mere thanks. I owe a debt of gratitude that I can never repay. Sings helped me come out of myself and do what I never believed I could do.
Man, I ain’t no author. WRING! I am now, because of Sings. She encouraged me in this until she had broken thru and got me to be me, on paper. Thanks Sings… but I’m still gonna squirt you with a hose when I water the tomatoes. Nothing personal, just business…haha.
Along the Way
I spoke with Sings about the next project, in fact I told her of it weeks ago, said I was already scheming on it in my mind. So let me tell you, I want to do a collection of stories and essays about things that have happened along the way during this journey. I’ll talk about people and situations, things that have happened and stories that you just can’t make up about how life in prison actually goes, and the struggles and triumphs over self and system.
Then there’s the fact that I will be released from prison before too many months. A lot could happen this next year and getting my brain wrapped around the very idea of freedom and the world outside these walls will be a big part of that.
So, ya‘all keep an eye out for Along the Way. It’s coming and I’m pretty sure it’ll be a lot easier to get done now that we, (Sings and me) got the first epic adventure across the finish line. So have a nice day in spite of the mean people, and pray for the world, it needs a sweat lodge ceremony.
In spirit I remain,
Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher October 2021
A big THANK YOU for reading my story. Your support and understanding mean the world to me! I would love to know what you think and hope you will return to read the other stories and insights I’d like to share. Walks