about the atlas…

[just cut a few paras out of this. realised i was doing exactly what i was wanting not to do!]

I need to say – as i read last night’s uncensored blurt again – that the conversations with the men yesterday about beliefs and faith and life and hope were good. we’re going to write some Psalms, i think.

it took me until this morning, until i was stuck in a traffic jam (oh i hate those days i have to drive to work), to connect the different bits of my life, to remember this again. this prison (this unit, this prison, more than any other i’ve visited) is the void, the abyss. it sucks the life and hope out of you. i’ve said that before, but i’d forgotten how physical, how all-absorbing that sensation is. coming out, it feels like world is mocking you with its foolish promises of happiness and life. i don’t remember feeling that anywhere else, not to this depth, this completely. and it shocks me each time.

[i was so spaced out last night that i sat for an hour on the back doorstep, just a couple of feet away from one of these (warning: not for the faint hearted or arachnophobic). we shared the evening sun together… in contrast to my normal reaction where i turn pale, sweat, shake, think about vomiting and then ring andy to come and kill the bloody thing NOW]

to be honest, the thing that shocked me most were the cliches that kept forming at the tip of my tongue. i kept wanting to make it all better by saying stuff that i don’t even believe – because i had nothing else to say. i felt embarrassed and exposed as they talked of some of the people who come in to visit them in prison… who speak platitudes of faith that become offensive in their telling (who promise the world and then give them an atlas)… who seem to think that the men should be grateful for their attention, when in reality the men just feel used, a means of earning divine brownie points.

it’s always good to question one’s motives.

[though perhaps i’ve done enough of that for today]


  1. Cheryl I like it when you blurt and when you question your motives. You are so real. I once went to a job interview at the Juvenile Justice centre – it was when they counted the cutlery after lunch that the reality of the place hit me. I knew I didn’t want to work there. I wonder how anyone who ends up there can find redemption…. having been ‘done to’ so badly, and then done to others. Ugh. Much easier to run away. Thankyou for going there – mentally and physically.

  2. Cheryl

    hey robyn, you’re fab.

    and you would have been great working in there. gritty and tough.

    hope you’re doing ok

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