Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Relativity of Happiness

So many people wonder how an inmate can experience happiness and joy and excitiment in a place like prison. It's all a matter of relativity. If you lock yourself in your closet for long enough, the mere thought of shadows rather than absolute darkness becomes something to look forward to, right?

After so many years in prison and experiencing the ups and downs resulting from my own behavior and the different characters sentenced or working in here, I have had varied opinions on why I was happy when I was- or why I could be so miserable. But the truth has little to do with prison or place. We're just adaptable, you know? All of us- you included. I have seen some real pieces of shit, tortured souls that committed fucked up crimes, put on a genuine smile and experience their personal moment of freedom through happiness- even though they were in the most heinous and threatening atmosphere available to them. I've seen angry, mean, hard-ass dudes with multiple murders and gigantic chips on their shoulders burst out in heartfelt laughter at something that I couldn't quite connect with- and they seemed to me almost lovable creatures in that moment. And I've also seen (and been) that guy who smiles and laughs at everything- regardless how deeply it affected us. Who's sincere? Is that happiness enough to make this time bearable??

I think it eventually comes down to the chance or process that creates within us an understanding that we really are the captain of our own souls; that we do make for ourselves the limitless well of happiness or the superficial sheen of satisfication. And even in here we can feel a deep happiness and contentment that promises we are not what we once were- we are not necessarily condemned to always carry the stigma of pain and confusion and addiction and self-centeredness. That it's all a matter of doing the right thing- even when no one is looking....

But,then again, that's the recipe for true happiness out there, too, right?

Beau Hansen

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