I suppose the best answer I have to offer would have to be my all time favourite trip down memory lane… Prison.
Clearly the sarcastic humour already begins to cover your second question on how I’m overcoming such a hardship…
Anyway, I shall keep the details as simple as possible, not that it’s too difficult to understand, but as to attempt to show how easy it is to find yourself in this situation, irrespective of what the accusation actually was:
On October 25th 2014 I was taken from my home by the police, and charged with a crime I didn’t commit. Because of the severity and nature of the charge I was immediately put on remand in prison (an unconvicted prisoner). First I was sent to HMP Elmley (on the isle of Sheppey) from 27th October 2014 – 10th November 2014. I was then moved to HMP Pentonville (London) from 10th November 2014 – 14th April 2015.
When I went to Crown Court to begin my trial on April 14th 2015, it became clear that the accuser had tampered with, and withheld certain crucial evidence. A direct quote from my solicitor relating to the prosecutions requirement to drop all charges: A verdict of not guilty was entered as a result of the prosecution offering no evidence against you. As I had maintained all along, I was an innocent man, the accusation was based on false allegations and had zero evidence. I was released within hours of attending court. I had wrongfully been imprisoned for a total of 169 days. I lost my dignity, home, my job, friends, belongings; everything.
That is it. That small simple act of calling the police and another persons life changes forever. That tiny initial accusation blows up and has now rendered my life cracked in some places of which I fear may take the rest of my life to slowly fix… So how am I doing it?! The same way I did when I was in ‘hell’.
Humour me. I need humour. I need to feel like a person.
A difficult struggle was that the situation I was in dehumanised almost everyone… there were no birthdays, it was just another day, I had a number, not a name and even if I had shared a cell with somebody for 6 months they’d still only call me by my last name. We ate, slept and shat in front of each other like animals, my beds headboard backed up to the toilet, and even when there was self harm, tears and screaming, the officers would walk on by.
Every day I was ‘living the dream’… Ok, i used to follow that up with ‘someone else’s dream, but a dream nonetheless’… but it was that small sarcastic note that made not just myself giggle slightly, but also the other inmates, some of which were really in there for some horrendous things; murder, rape, assaults, credit card fraud… ok, there’s that humour again…
To this day I still joke about it, I still need to make the whole situation into something it wasn’t… I can’t deny it happened and I can’t deny feeling unhappy so it’s safe to say that to cover up all those darker times, I have to laugh at it… my Dad, a true hero and also victim from all of this as it was his first born son who fell prey to the hands of Her Majesty for no reason, his first port of call is humour… and that man’s seen it all… divorce, kids, work… all of that stuff will make you want to jump off a cliff at some point, so why not make a joke instead? It’s cheaper than getting a train to Beachy Head.
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A difficult thing to come to terms with, is most definitely trying to convince yourself of something you already know to be true… which sounds so easy, but let me elaborate: I was told daily that I was in the wrong. In fact, being on remand is a lot like being in prison…because you are. You’re surrounded by genuine assholes who have done these crimes, some who show remorse and others that don´t, and genuine screws (officers), some who want to help and most that don’t, that can really make you feel so low…
I’m a Grammar school boy, I have a posh first name which I laugh at, my upbringing was pretty sound, I work hard as I´m self employed and beer money doesn’t grow on trees, and although I’ve had my fair share of rough and tumble moments, what I was charged with was beyond me…
It took me a year or so to finally come to terms that I really was innocent. I used to look out of the windows after my release and think they’d be coming to pick me up again. I was searching the back of my mind for these memories they were telling me I had, these actions I did… they weren’t me, and they really weren’t.
I have myself, witnesses and evidence to clear my name, and yet the affect of being told I did something wrong really did shape me into the creature they thought I was… They created the monster and I slowly became it…
To come to terms with that is very difficult, and my method? Patience.
Alongside dealing with the longevity of my captivity, patience helped greatly. It allowed me to reflect and reminisce the course of what happened. How I got there and where to move on from it all. My best friend always said, ‘the truth will out’… they were certainly right, because it did. I could’ve spent days and nights on end crying and cutting myself and worsening the situation by throwing tantrums and becoming this monster, or I could’ve taken the time to stop, breathe and reflect… and acted patiently.
— — — —
When Alex used the word resilient to describe me, I smiled… and immediately got sad afterwards. Yes, I am resilient, I have bounced back into society and dealt with the hardest issues and worst of times… but because of what? The cruel words of some very evil people.
I am resilient because I am silent. I am moving onwards and upwards in silence but will never forget what has happened, so it remains as a constant headache and permanent state of misery, hidden beneath my old face of sarcastic, childish humour and terrible grammatical typing…
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