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My foolish actions, my force of habit had caused me my freedom - by O

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'N' level student-inmate from institution A4

1st Prize

Bang! With that the realisation hit me all at once, that I am here again in this big ‘Rock!’ I was not prepared for this nightmare into which I have been thrust. I settled myself upon the hard floor and stared into the wall for they are easier to look at rather than the faces surrounding me. We are nothing but outlaws and thugs cobbling together shared decency among us as we desperately try to atone for our worldly sins. Others made room for me and though they are outlaws and sinners, having all manner of black hearts, their acceptance gladdens me. Which is a hundred kinds of foolish.


That was four years ago. The images of those incidents still popped into my head time and time again. They would not go away. It is like a horror movie that played in a loop, that I was unable to turn off: countless times, my foolish actions, my force of habit had caused me my freedom. This time the consequence is even greater. I had somehow skipped between the cracks and had become insignificant to my family. I had lost my parents to death, my son to a failed marriage. All my dreams and ambitions engulfed and buried. Indeed I had lost practically everything. It dawned to me that I have no life left to live. That was how much I had paid for being delinquent.


After losing my family, I now realised there is a difference between them. I love my family with a new sharpness. I used to be close to them, but now I am longing to be close to them. I was dispirited and discouraged. It was a rude awakening when weighed against the pain and despair that I had felt. After all these years of healing, I began consolidating myself, reassured that I will be more prepared to face the world again.


I had lived in the real world with all its miss and turmoil, its wildness and its beauty. I can never unsee what I have seen, I can never unknow what I now know and I can never undo what I have already done. More importantly, something inside me has awakened, and now that I am awake to the world fully aware, it is impossible to let myself be pulled back to sleep. I had felt that my fate is the saddest thing in the world and I believe that there are many more poor, miserable and helpless ones and that they are fighting their own battle. I marveled that I had persevered and survived this madness. Although my trials were much different from them, they are hard enough in their own way.


I would have faltered without God to lend me his strength for this courage and endurance. It is definitely horrifying to even think that I will be facing the world alone. Starting over at a peak age of 50. But can I afford to lose it yet again? It took me this long to realise what a rare diamond I had let slip through my fingers. My ‘life’. I want the best of what I have left. The last piece of it. I had learnt the hard way. I had constantly tried antidepressants to make my pain more bearable by numbing myself but what good does it do for me? Sometimes you need to feel pain to comprehend your problems.


By being closer to God, I learn to forgive myself. I found peace through the traces of sadness. It was the best I could salvage from the wreckage of my life, to be closer to God that I committed to it with every fiber of my being and vowed to make it work. It took me several years but I am finally ready. I am not spiritually happy, free and improved. I felt God has given me strength, enfolding me in a hug. His gentle presence is an inspire, a comfort and a source of strength. I realised that I wanted to be worthy of that presence, to be in that presence as much as possible. I will never be disheartened. I had managed well enough, but I will be heartily glad when the hourglass runs empty.


I had failed in the past and true enough, it had cost me most of my life. This time round, I will live to the last and I will never let ‘me’ down. With this I understood time does not heal everything, but acceptance will heal everything.


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