I don’t typically publish two blogs in one day but sometimes you just have to allow the writing to dictate to you with no changes, ironic considering this blog is about change, had I saved this for another time I’d, with another hint at my past, make changes I shouldn’t have. I’m sure that makes sense and here it is.
Imagine, if you will, our prison system as a perpetually spinning Merry-go-round. Of which it is the individual who is not only the person on the ride, they also operate the ride. It is the individual themselves who can stop the spinning and switch the ride off. There are also a number of ways that they can stop the ride. One would see everything stop. However, although this may be the first time the individual has paid for their ride or the individual has been stuck on the ride for years it doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to also operate the ride to be able to switch it off.
As you can see in the image I’ve used, there’s no-one standing on the outside. Nobody is able to provide advice or guidance on how best to climb down from the horse and unsteadily make it to the operator’s box, whilst taking into account any limitations the rider may have. No-one to support or encourage as they do so. Then again, the ride, no matter how dizzy the individual, may even have become comfortable, like a pair of slippers. Or sliders 😉
At first, the ride may seem fun, enjoyable even, especially if they have friends on the ride with them, or standing on the outside laughing at them as they cajole and mock in equal measure. Then it stops being fun, the friends have gotten off long ago, even the ones on the outside got bored of watching, however much of it was only for their enjoyment. Now they’re on their own. What’s the point of getting off?
Through the decisions I took, and the mistakes I made. By living an irresponsible and selfish life I found myself being that individual. I was on the ride all by myself and my audience standing around didn’t get bored of watching, nor were they there for their own enjoyment, unfortunately, their voices were either drowned out by the rest of the crowd or the black dog barking loudly in my ear. Either those or their voices were turned into echos by the drink and drugs along with the spinning effect of the ride. No! They didn’t get bored of watching, they got bored with waiting, “just one more go, just one more go, just one more go” a comment as perpetual as the spinning.
As each friend gets off, the ride has to stop and be stopped, during that time other friends or people that became friends or even enemies may also have got on and off. I realised that not only had I, maybe surreptitiously or even sub-consciously, learnt how to stop the ride but I also watched how others had stepped off the ride. You see, another problem I had was as well as becoming comfortable on the ride I had become addicted to the ride itself AND addicted to advising and guiding others on how to enjoy the ride. This new drug I’d become addicted to was the buzz of seeing a change in others. Especially those with whom I’d assisted in some way. It was time to put it all together, to return to the selfish me but a positive selfish, I’m sure that’s a thing. All that was missing were the people on the outside. How do I get them, the important ones anyway, back was a much more difficult question to answer than how do I sort me out.
Talking or shouting would have been pointless, there was no-one there. Plus that had been done before, remember? “just one more go, just one more go, just one more go”. So I had to do something different. This wasn’t a different move as I’d always utilised the library (although applying to do an access module which I passed and followed up with embarking on a degree, both through The Open University, was different) but this time rather than use the library for entertainment I used it for knowledge. One of a number of books on a variety of subjects I read was a book by Walter Mischel called The Marshmallow Test. The book was all about the benefits of delayed gratification. I learnt that whatever changes I needed to make would not happen overnight and I accepted that.
You know what? Slowly but surely supporters, encouragers begun to appear cheering me on, believing in me. Strangers at first, or at least people I’d not seen, or heard before. Then as time moved on familiar faces appeared, not the cajoling or mocking types, but those I had missed so, so much, Those I’d let down over the years. They were back, and they were supporting me once more.
It was time to stop the ride and get off.