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Giving Thanks for Where I Am and What I Have Become

November 25, 2015

Hello there, readers.

The holidays are upon us once again and here I am in prison, still. There are obviously two ways to look on this whole situation. The negative side of things is I'm locked up, I can't spend the holidays with family and friends. Blah, blah, blah. I have been locked up so long all I know are holidays in prison. The days still come and go, time doesn't stop for us in here.

Want to hear the upside of this?

I may not be free on the outside to be a productive member of society, but I am productive in here making good use of my time. I have a job as a barber. I am fed, clothed, warm, safe, with hot showers and food three times a day.

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I live in a multi-million dollar mansion with my own private security force keeping out all of the religious fanatics who would otherwise knock on my door at home. My health needs are taken care of. I have group dialog -- who out there reading this has the time to sit around in a room with 15-20 people whom you trust to completely open up with and talk about very personal issues? This opportunity has helped me grow as a human.

What are you having for Thanksgiving Day breakfast?

I'll be eating hot oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon, hard boiled egg, coffee, cinnamon roll and fresh fruit. If I were free, I would have to make my own breakfast. Then for lunch it'll be turkey breast, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing and some type of chocolate dessert. For dinner, it'll be deli sandwiches, chips and fresh fruit.

I'm sure there are homeless people who would appreciate these meals or even those of you too busy to cook might want to trade places for the day? Don't get me started with family holiday drama.

When I was out in society, my relationships were damaged all because of my inability to hold up my end. I didn't actually know how to bring balance to someone else's life. There have been people from my past who have said that dealing with me was exhausting, so they gave up on me. I expected people to carry both sides of the relationship. Being in society, I was not a part of society.

Why do I think this?

I did criminal behaviors instead of finding a job and having stability. My choice was to be homeless and crash where I could. Lying, manipulating and cheating on women to satisfy my needs, while completely ignoring theirs. I was thrown out of school without a diploma, so my dream to join the Navy was out.

My life was a huge mess which I created by my unwillingness to be what society would deem as "normal." I take full responsibility for my actions. Now that I'm older and wiser I can take life one step at a time dealing with every issue like an adult.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what it is you are thankful for and I have had several years to think about this. I am thankful for my relationship with my mom. She has put up with so much from me over the years and thank the Lord she never gave up! I am thankful for the people in my life whom I call "friends." These are the people who I trust with my life. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful that my needs are taken care of (i.e., food, shelter, clothing, etc.).

One HUGE thing I am thankful for is my opportunity given to me by JD here at TheBody.com to get my thoughts and words out to an audience that could have been in my similar situation in prison. Being able to share my story I hope to give strength to those who have friends and loved ones in prison because of an overly paranoid prosecutor who locked them up for simply having HIV.

If you have a story you'd like to share, I'll listen. I am hoping that all of you have a great holiday season and don't let the small things ruin your day. Life is too short not to appreciate it and the people you have in it!

Take care.

Stay Healthy & Stay Strong.

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HIV on the Inside


Tim Hinkhouse

Tim Hinkhouse

I have been HIV-positive for over 25 years and have been in prison in Oregon for almost as long because of my health status and non-disclosure. I'll talk to you about the issues faced by a person in my position along with the discrimination and stigmas attached to it behind these prison walls. I'll tell you about the strength and courage I found inside myself to NOT hang up and let this illness or my circumstances finish me off.

Tim Hinkhouse #7632447
Two Rivers Correctional Inst.
82911 Beach Access Rd.
Umatilla, OR 97882

You can also email me at hi.timothy7019
@gmail.com
.


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