Hope: Is ‘impossible’ an impossibility?
Some time ago, I had an idea to start a section called ‘Graham on…;’I got as far as writing one piece on ‘Hope’ – that was 5 years ago (me and my bright ideas!). I guess, the blog took over as most of them are ‘Graham on…’
So, where do I stand on ‘hope?’ Well, I certainly didn’t expect to be still in prison; but, that hasn’t affected my hope and optimism. What it has done, however, is force me to shift my perspective. I no longer think of ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ life – just life. There are people out there who – despite physical, mental, financial or social handicaps – find a way, through determination and hard work, to make their lives count. They didn’t listen to the naysayers negativity: “You can’t do it, that’s impossible.” Oscar Wilde once said.
“… nothing is worth doing except what the world says is impossible.”
It’s the ‘impossible’ which gets me up in the morning.
For me, now, prison is just a handicap. I’m no longer concerned with the detail, the process, the system. It goes on around me but it’s not really a part of ‘my’ life. My life is filled with hope. I might lack negative freedom (see last blog) but I am full to the brim with positive freedom.
I elicit continual self-control and autonomy. My goals are big but I know that prison will handicap my progress. That only affects the solutions not my hope. Of course, I use ‘prison’ euphemistically to mean staff, management, the MoJ, the media and some parts of society.
I’ve also shifted my perspective away from being released as the most important goal to: how I live my life.So long as I maitain my core values it shouldn’t matter where I lay down to sleep. That being said, my appeal is still of paramount importance. It’s the ‘cure’ to my immediate handicap; and, ‘justice’ is one of my core values, after all.
I also no longer think of ‘time’ as anything other than an abstract concept.Being a lifer is like being cast adrift in the middle of the ocean or wandering a desert. There are no frames of reference, no signposts to tell you how far you’ve travelled: no family weddings, no birthday parties, Christmases, picnics in the park, the song you fell in love to. Your life becomes a state of suspended animation.
But, none of that affects my hope. I just need to stay alive.
Be happy, be safe and be kind.
Graham Coutts, 6th May 2020