As time happens, I encounter more and more people who think prison is a metaphor I fold into my writing.
In a way, this makes sense.
It was hard for people to imagine me in prison, even when I was there.
And everyone knows, I love a good metaphor.
Metaphors are my first language, the master key that could smuggle my truths out of one world and use them to open doors in the others. I’ve never belonged to any world perfectly…
just like everyone else. We are a universe of multi-colored sheep flanked by the illusion that somewhere out there, a drove of white sheep live together in inexplicable multitude, frolicking in similarity.
All the communities I know in real life, though, are made from differences. And I am different enough, multi-colored enough, rainbow enough, to fit into many, though every time I walk out of one world and into another, I have to leave so much behind.
But never my metaphors, never my universal translator.
I could see using prison as a metaphor for the mind. In that cage, we are all locksmiths and lockmakers and lock devotees, and even the idea of stepping into an environment without borders and bars is alarming. It renders us useless, or so we fear.
I could see that.
But I actually went to prison.
I spent 438 days incarcerated.
It’s important to me that I remind people often because I am sometimes the only door they know to that world. A door where just knowing me is the key, the key to a gentler understanding, the key to a world that needs fixing. A world that needs help.
A world that needs you.
I was down for over a year and I had to leave everything behind, but not my metaphors, and not you.
I rainbow’d you in on the wool of my sheep, and it made me unbleachable. I metaphor’d the locks I met and turned them into windows.
And everywhere I go now, I bring my prison windows with me. They are another of those precious few things that I cannot leave behind when I do what I do and walk through worlds– always fitting in, never belonging.
The windows are a metaphor, but the prison was real, and if you have a heart for it– you can peek through my wordplay and see it all.