Still I Can

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 96 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

As some folks may know, I cannot stand nor tolerate a bully. When I spot them or am confronted in any way with their behavior I tend to react, either with well-placed sarcasm or sometimes plain outright cursing. Yeah that’s a part of the culture in here, but never anymore do I resort to explosive violence. I’m not that man anymore; I don’t even like to feel threatened cuz I don’t want to see that side of me flash its ugly self. Basically I have found since I turned my life around that there are other ways to deal with situations than erupt, and the simple truth is, they usually take a lot less time to work.

Recently I went without lights in my cell for five days. On a Thursday and Friday I went to 9 different staff members to ask for them to get someone down here with the key to the breaker box to flip the breaker. I even spoke to two lieutenants, both of whom said they would have it taken care of.  On Saturday morning I asked a staff member if it could be fixed and he went off on me.

In a rude, snarky voice he said, “The compound fixed it last night, I was here when he said he was going to do it.”

I told him that for whatever reason it never got done.

He argued, “Yes it did, you’re lying.”

So I said you know what, I live here. I think I would know. Anyway I’ll just use my booklight, so you just go ahead with this silly game. Have a nice day.

Now, I know he is the type of staff that thinks it’s his job to be abusive and disrespectful. In my 62 years have found there are always people who take every opportunity to pile on another person’s misery or bad situations. I suppose they do so to try to relieve their own inner turmoil, the fact that somewhere in their lives things are bad, really bad and somehow being a bully seems to relieve their pain.

I feel bad for them, really. I’m a big softy, I tear up at sad movies and there are certain commercials that I can’t even watch because they make me get all teary. It’s crazy, but I am the most sensitive person I know and I only became this way after I changed my life. I went for decades saying anything I wanted to anyone I wanted to, regardless of the hurt or pain my words caused. In truth, I was an ass.

My Mom used to say my mouth had no filter; I just blurted out whatever I thought. While there are still times I have no filter, I do have temperance now and have learned that its ok to think a lot of things if they are true, I just don’t have to say them out loud or be hurtful or crass. Now I’m for sure going to hear about this cuz most who know me are gonna go, “C’mon man, we know how you are.”

But I’m tellin you, I am finally learning how to just “think” things and not say them; seems like I get in a lot less trouble that way. All I really am setting out to convey here are the facts that I know you would think that these places will ruin any man, but I’m going to contest that thought, and furthermore, it took this life to bring me to where I am able to be a good man and to not be a selfish, egotistical psychopathic monster. I’m actually very caring and even kinda romantic.

I hate to see women cry cuz it makes me cry. The same with kids, man I can’t deal with a hurting kid; I just get sick inside. Maybe it’s because of all that I have been thru; maybe it’s because the Creator finally decided to bless me with some feelings and compassion, but the bottom line is, thru the decades of prison, the years in solitary confinement, the beatings at the hands of my keepers, the being strapped down to a concrete pad for days at a time, being forced to live with no water, and now this new wrinkle – no lights, I am still capable of feeling. Yeppers, no matter what’s been done to me, it didn’t create a monster that the Creator couldn’t un-make. I can still feel…still. and I am proud of this fact among others….still I can.

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

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