” It’s alright for you, you’re out enjoying yourself, while I’m stuck in here.”
Has he said it yet? How many times have you heard this? Actually your neighbours probably heard him shouting it down the phone at you too.
You’re kidding me, right? Trust, Bruv. It is not even close to being enjoyable.
The reality is that we really don’t know what it’s like on his side of the wall. So the more we know about it, the more we understand and the less we have to imagine, on both sides of the wall. Do the men really know what it’s like this side of the wall?
Which is why for the Twelve Days of Christmas I will be posting a series of blogs about Christmas in prison. I’ve asked loved ones, prison staff and people who’ve been in prison to share their experiences of Christmas in prison. Did you know that Charles Bronson is my special guest for the Christmas Eve blog? Yep, that’s happening and a few other celebrities who have spent Christmas in jail. Really!
Most of us have Christmas in prison at the forefront of our minds and have had for a couple of months now. The run up to Christmas is as sh!t on this side of the wall as it is on that side of the wall. There are few places that I can think of that would be worse than spending Christmas behind the door and my heart goes out to each and everyone of them.
You know what, in some ways, I think it’s easier behind the door.
“How dare you say that? You’ve never even been to jail.”
Back off! Don’t tell me I’m wrong until you’ve finished reading.
He’s used to being in his pad and being excluded from society. Let’s face it, he put himself there in the first place – you had absolutely no control of that, it’s all on him. (Unless falsely accused or convicted of joint enterprise.)
Bit harsh? No, just honest and blunt.
Cheesy song, but it’s the same on both sides of the wall – Christmas is all around. It’s painful to imagine how awful it must be for him to watch TV being bombarded with Christmas adverts, Christmas TV specials, Christmas films and newspapers full of top tips for the best Christmas ever known to mankind.
Makes your heart bleed for him and his little cotton socks. My eyes are welling with tears at the very thought of it. Hang on a bit … He knows you get the same TV and newspapers on the out, right? Does he know that you feel exactly the same?
Does he know that everywhere you go there’s Christmas lights, trees and decorations? Taunting you from every shop, office, pub and house. As if that’s enough of an assault on your eyes, you’ve got the scent of Yankee Candle Christmas Spice and b*stard Christmas songs blasting out from every direction. I bet he has no idea how much you hate Christmas shopping and buying the food, the presents, the wrapping paper, glittery bows and ribbons. Surrounded by happy couples holding hands, choosing presents for each other. Not forgetting the well-wishers who start asking about your plans for Christmas from mid- November or the b*stards who know full well that you’ll be alone; judging and pitying you, whilst discussing their own extravagant plans.
Lonely in jail this Christmas? Not a chance. He’s surrounded by others in exactly the same boat. Everyone around him knows Christmas is sh!t, but they’re all doing what they can to make the best of it and put on their best Festive Faces.
It will be unquestionably lonely this Christmas for many loved ones. A good percentage of them will spend Christmas Day alone, having been rejected and excluded (through no fault of their own) by their family and friends since day one of his sentence and will be accustomed to being excluded.
For many, being alone on Christmas Day might even be preferable to spending it with family and friends and their misguided attempts to be supportive. Who wants to listen to the annual Christmas Choir come at you with the standard chorus ..
There’s going to be a party tonight …for him maybe because he can get absolutely twatted on hooch or completely smashed on a ‘night out’ with his BFFs.
There’s not going to be a party tonight if you’re a loved one. Because even if your family and friends have stuck around, you’d rather be at home for his phone call.
With the loss of his income and the additional costs of him being in prison, you probably won’t be able to afford a night out, even if you wanted to.
Most loved ones don’t actually like having nights out when their man’s away. Feeling guilty and somehow disloyal because it never feels right when he’s stuck in there to be out having the time of your life.
Pile on top the dreaded fear of seeing three missed calls from him on your phone. How much do you want to party now?
If you’ve got children, you put everything you’ve got and every last penny you’ve got into giving them the happiest Christmas you can. Doing anything and everything you can think of to fill the Daddy shaped gap and take the sadness from their eyes. It’s heartbreaking for you, but to see the heartbreak of your children ….
All he wants for Christmas is you. Fact. He can lie on the bed all day, empty his mind of all thoughts but being with you. Some ‘me time’ and a period of quiet reflection to question how he landed himself in prison, what’s really important to him in life and a commitment to go home and never come back. If he wants to completely swerve Christmas Day, he can stay in bed and sleep through the whole day, only waking up when it’s all over.
Loved ones? Yeah right? With children? Pah! The only ‘me time‘ you’re getting is when you go to bed at night.
Don’t be surprised if he turns into an MI5 Agent overnight by keeping you under constant surveillance, questioning your every movement, who you were with and who else was there.
Why this sudden change of character? Because he’s constantly focusing on the worst case scenario. What’s the worst he can ever imagine happening? Well, that depends on how long he sits in their pad over thinking it. The common conclusion is that the missus is going to be swept off her feet at a raucous Christmas Do in the local ‘Spoons, never to be heard of again.
Seriously, it’s tough enough out here, without having to deal with his interrogations and self-pitying bullsh!t every day.
I’m sure I could make many more comparisons to prove my case, but I think I’ve presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate that in many ways it’s easier behind the door.
As you read through each blog over the Twelve Days of Christmas, I ask you to stop and think of all the loved ones and the Christmas they really won’t be enjoying – apart from my blogs, everybody enjoys them!
We need to remind ourselves that Christmas is a time to think of others less fortunate than ourselves. By my way of reckoning, when it comes to Christmas in jail, it’s the loved ones that are less fortunate. Step it up, lads. It’s not always about you!
The first Twelve Days of Christmas blog is out tomorrow, with blatant and unashamed bias and favouritism, it’s David’s blog and his experiences of Christmas in Jail.
I’m not going to end by wishing you all a Merry Christmas. I mean really, after everything I’ve said – that’s never going to work.