I am being released from Federal Prison in a few days time. This will be the very last blog that I write from behind the wall. In fact, by the time this is posted and most of you read this, I will already be a free man.
I still can’t fucking believe it…to be perfectly honest. The mere thought of being free seems somewhat surreal to me. I know it’s in a few days and all but it’s almost unbelievable. I used to dream of the day I would have my freedom again and now it’s going to be a reality. My journey has come to an end–I made it. Even writing this and realizing the validity of what I’m saying is kind of bugging me out. Like…I am really getting out in a few days?!
I think the toughest part to wrap my mind around in all this good news is the fact that three years has passed me by. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s a long time. Three whole years have gone by without me. Not three days. Not three weeks. Not even three months for that matter. Three fucking years! That’s one thousand ninety five days…all of which I’ve spent behind bars and away from the world. Now all of a sudden I’m about to get out? Just like that. Shit, put yourself in my shoes for a second, you would be bugging the fuck out too. Just sayin’.
Don’t get me wrong, I may be buggin’ out a little, but I am fucking elated to be leaving this shit hole of a prison. These past few days kind of remind me of how I used to feel when I was a little kid waiting on Christmas morning, except way more intense. My release is pretty much all I think about, even though I try hard as fuck not to. It’s actually all I’ve thought about since the day that the alphabet boys came through, slapped the cuffs on me and tossed me in the slammer. I feel like I’ve been waiting on this moment forever and now my time is finally up. I guess all of the waiting, the excitement and the nerves I get from thinking of what’s to come, mixed with the thoughts of all I’ve been through and all I’ve missed out on over the past few years, is kind of getting to me. Like I said, it feels surreal…overwhelming even. It kind of makes me think like, damn, three whole years passed and it’s finally over. Looking back at this journey the time flew by…but when I was looking forward…not so much.
Truth be told, I didn’t always feel the overwhelming sense of joy and excitement that I feel inside right now…far from it actually. Some, if not most days of my incarceration, I felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness, sort of a desperation…especially when I first got locked up. I thought that the world had simply given up on me and forgot all about me. I thought my time would never come, as if I was destined to spend the remainder of my days locked in a fucking cage, stuck in a living nightmare while life passed me by on the outside. I never thought I would make it down the seemingly endless tunnel of darkness with no sign of light at the end. It was definitely bad at times for me mentally. I’d be lying if I said otherwise…
When I first got tossed in jail with no hope of freedom in the foreseeable future, I was a fucking disaster. Sure, I had been very much clean from drugs for quite some time by that point, but my mind state and priorities were all out of whack. My world was crumbling around me at a rapid pace in every possible aspect imaginable. I was thrown unwillingly into a highly unfamiliar and extremely unpleasant situation. I went through the whole spectrum of shitty emotions at first…from fear to sadness to hopelessness to whatever…but what sticks out primarily in my mind is that of anger. Let’s face it, I was mad as fuck at everything that was going on in my life at the time. I honestly didn’t think that I belonged in prison.
I was still blaming everyone and their mother for my problems. I can’t even begin to count how many times I said “those fucking rat fucks!” (or something along those pleasant lines) while speaking with a loved one or a friend via telephone or letter. I was bitter….but in my case I had a lil’ reason to be mad at rats…or at least I thought I did. I probably would’ve never been exposed to any type of criminal prosecution without the help of multiple informants. Remember, I had quit hustling many months prior. I was out clean. I cleaned up my entire life and was working on cleaning up my soul. I honestly don’t even think I was on the Feds’ radar. But let’s face it…this was no one’s fault but my own. I am well aware of this. I just wasn’t at that point.
Let’s be honest here for a second. I’m no saint. I’m no innocent victim who was wrongly accused. I fucking smuggled and sold drugs–lots of them at that. I’m a fucking idiot if anything. I broke the law. Shit, I broke the law over and over, letting greed and addiction blind me of consequences or repercussions of my actions. I simply didn’t give a fuck. Nobody forced me to do any of that shit. Therefore I have NO ONE to blame but MYSELF. Regardless of who told whomever what..its all moot. I fucked up. Not them…ME. I am here because of ME and ME alone. I hold no grudges. I’m honestly over it. I’ve moved on and I’ve let go…
Letting go of all that anger and resentment that I held inside of me for so long was tough and it took some time, but I did it. Another really tough feat for me at first was realizing that the world simply does not revolve around me as I once firmly believed. Only child–don’t judge! When I first got locked up, everything was me, me, me. Do this. Do that. Send me money. Send this guy money. Call this one. Message that one. Get me this one’s address. Call the lawyer. Call him again. Send more money…and so forth (you get the idea). I acted as if life stopped once Matthew McDonald was incarcerated. I didn’t take the time out to think about the massive amount of pain, shame, and embarrassment that I had caused my loved ones. All I was worried about was my being comfortable in jail and more so that my pretty little life was being ripped from underneath me…not about how any of them felt inside. Sad…but true. While I was making the load heavy, I was bitching for more commissary. I was such an asshole back then…a selfish fucking asshole. It kills me inside when I look back….
I guess now that my journey is coming to an end, I can’t help but keep thinking back to the very beginning of it all. Even though it feels as if three years went by in the blink of an eye, it also feels like it was a lifetime ago since I first walked into prison (if that makes any sense). When I look back, I honestly cant believe the type of person that I was back then. It’s really quite embarrassing. I definitely had a lot of growing up to do…that’s for sure. I was in desperate need of a wake up call and a major reality check. What better place for such needs than in prison?
Regardless of however I happened to be feeling when I first walked into jail–whether it was anger, selfishness, despair or whatever the fuck else I may have been going through–I learned quickly that I had to check all that shit at the door. There was no room for tears, me-me-me, or walking around angry in jail. I had to learn how to carry myself without showing any type of emotions at all. Most importantly, I had to learn how to be humble…especially when I was facing some serious prison time.
If I was going to survive in this new world, I only had two choices. I could either continue being angry at the world, caring only about myself, blaming others for my problems and continue to be the immature cocky little asshole that I’ve been accustomed to being… or I could man the fuck up, accept the fact that I wasn’t going home any time soon and use the situation as both a learning experience and a chance to grow. I could work on my body, my mind and perhaps most importantly my soul, so hopefully I could come out of this a better man all around. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I chose the latter. Thank God I did…because who the fuck knows if I would’ve made it out of this shit alive if I was walking around with a chip on my shoulder for three years. That wouldn’t have been pretty.
I realize that there will be some skeptics out there…and that’s to be expected. I’m sure there’s people reading this right now claiming this is all bullshit….thinking I’m going to get back out there in a few days and be the same old Matty that I was before I went in. That’s fine. Think what you want. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Some people believe that human beings are incapable of change. Shit, maybe they’re right. Who really knows…I sure as hell don’t. The only thing I do know is that when I first came into jail, I had a long road ahead of me–both figuratively and literally. I really needed a kick in the ass. I needed to get over myself and whoever the fuck I thought I was. I simply needed to grow the fuck up…
I’m not claiming to be a changed man. On the contrary, I’m still very much the same person that I was before I came in. Prison didn’t suck all of the life and all of my personality out of me–thank God. So what I will say–and proudly I might add–is that I have grown a great deal since the day I first walked into the unknown world of prison. I may not be a “changed man” or any of that bullshit, but I have definitely learned a lot, I’ve matured greatly and my perspective on things has changed dramatically over these past few years.
The most important lesson among the multitude of others that I’ve learned in all of this is that freedom is a privilege and it should never be taken for granted. Losing mine made me realize that life is way too fucking short to be spent rotting in a prison. I learned that time is a valuable and precious commodity and should be treated as such. It should never be wasted. I now know that I have to cherish every moment when I’m out, no matter how seemingly insignificant, because who the hell knows which one is going to be my very last…
I learned that family comes first–no matter what. Because at the end of the day–when push comes to shove–they ALWAYS have my back–no questions asked. No matter the situation, I can always count on my family. That’s a fact I’m so fucking thankful for. I can’t even put into words of how much I love, respect and appreciate every member of my family for all that they’ve done for me. I may not have the biggest Italian family on the block but I have the best family that I could possibly ask for. I’ve learned that its quality–not quantity–that truly matters in life. Without them I honestly would’ve never made it through this shit. Their love and support over the years is what kept me going every day. When I thought of giving up or that I couldn’t make it…they were there to lift me back up and push me to keep going. I wouldn’t be the man that I am today without them. I owe them my life…that’s the fucking truth right there. To my family–if any of you are reading this (you guys better read my blogs btw lol)–I love and thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
This whole ordeal has taught me a few valuable lessons about friendship as well. True friends are a rarity in this world. A couple of years ago, I quoted Queen of the South when I said “you learn who your true friends are when you’re in the hospital, in prison or in the ground.” The saying remains true three years later. I’m lucky enough to be able to say that I have a few great friends that stuck by me through all of this. When I was at my absolute lowest and all my chips were down, they were there for me. Whether it was sending me letters, pictures, taking my phone calls, visiting me, sending me money or whatever… they were there–no questions asked–just like my family was. In fact, those few friends are part of my family now. My mom got a few more sons and daughters…and that’s alright by me. Because their love and support during my dark days is something that I will never ever forget and something I appreciate more than any of them will ever understand. They may not know what it’s like to be incarcerated, but they bidded with me… they laughed with me… they cried with me. I’ll never be able to thank you guys enough. 143!
What I came to realize is that since I made it through this fucking nightmare, I can make it through anything that life throws my way. They say if you can make it in New York then you can make it anywhere…try Federal Prison…then get back to me on that one. I’ve been to six different jails and prisons in four different states over the past three years. I’ve met all walks of life–both good and bad–some of which I’ll remain friends with for the rest of my life. You know what I’ve learned… that prison is a bad place. It is literally a hell on earth. It is certainly not a place for the weak or the weak minded. Those types don’t survive… but you know what…I fucking did… I’m out of here!!
P.S. Even though I’m being released…I will continue writing my blog…thanks to everyone!!