Regaining My Self Worth - Daily Love with Mastin Kipp

Regaining My Self Worth

TheLastMilePhoeun You

San Quentin State Prison


I will not preach about why I am in prison or how bad I was before I entered prison. However, I will share with you my experiences about how stressful life is inside prison and how bad it is to be doing time.

Imagine yourself as a lifer from an early age. All your freedom and fun you would’ve experienced is now gone. Just sitting here inside these walls, with only limited things to do. I can’t help but think about the good ol’ days. I try not to, but at times my mind seems to always wonder on its own: thinking about my family and friends, how they are doing, and the pain that I’ve caused them. I can still clearly remember looking back in the courtroom, to see the tears as they rolled down my mother’s and sister’s faces, as they heard  the  verdict-“guilty.”

To this day, I continue to worry from hearing news of my mother having diabetes, and my sister murdered by a jealous boyfriend. My heart aches and misses them dearly. Besides my family, there are also the simple pleasures of life that I miss: beautiful girls, home cooked meals, and the son I still haven’t yet met. I often think of them, and the simple things. I try to picture how my life would have been like if I was a free man.

What will forever haunt me is that I took an innocent person’s life. No matter how bad my life is today, I will always be ashamed and feel emptiness knowing the person’s life I took never had a chance to see tomorrow. I had no right to do what I did. At times I wish I could trade places with him, maybe this would ease my mind. Nevertheless, the choice I made is something I have to live with for the rest of my life.

Through all of this pain, I’ve learned to be patient and keep my anger in check as I deal with other obstacles in prison: the ignorance of the other inmates and the guards who at times test my limits. Not too long ago I was walking the yard enjoying the fresh air, when two guards approached me and one of them said, “Hands on the wall and strip down to your boxers.” “For what,” I asked. The guard said with a smile, “This is prison, I can do that.” I hesitated, but complied. After the guards left, my anger from the humiliation had set in. You don’t know how badly I wanted to jump up and tell him how I felt.

Wearing the badge didn’t give him the right to belittle me.

I tell myself giving up is not an option, but I know that my chances of getting out are slim. In the meantime, I will continue to try to do everything I can to better myself so I won’t slip back to my hard headed ways. Through programs and school, I’ve managed to maintain a sense of hope and keep what’s left of my sanity. Also, now that I finally realize the importance of education, everyday seems to look and feel brighter. Through education I’ve regained my self worth. I believe everyone deserves to have value and meaning in their lives.

If you can take away anything that I’ve said, please know that education is power. (Tweet-worthy!) Giving up on education is like giving up on yourself. So do the right thing, stay in school, keep educating yourself, and never give up. God bless.


All communications between inmates and external channels are facilitated by approved volunteers since inmates do not have access to the internet. This program is part of The Last Mile San Quentin. Twitter: @TLM