This month I feel like I have really gained some self insight. I have long been told that I shouldn’t always try to be the knight in shining armour who rides in to save the day because it’s not always practical, it can come across as conceited, and it almost always makes me a target. It’s true. I have a hero complex. I love to be the one who can make a difference. But not because of what anyone else might think about it. Simply because love the feeling when I see the relief on the face of someone I have managed to help.
For a while over the past year I tried to rein that in. I refocused my attention and prioritised progression towards release. However, this brought me no closer to actually getting out and in fact I lost quite a lot of what I wanted to get out to. But even more importantly, I was less happy. Recently I saw that look of utter relief on the face of someone I had managed to help again and I was reminded why it is so important to me.
Cupcake (so called because he is the shape of one and looks like he eats a lot of them) has always been told that he can’t have photos of his children. I wasn’t aware of this when I first met him and, when I found out, my first thought was that I had been talking to someone who had offended against his own kids. I was wrong. He showed me the paperwork and the reason he was given for not being allowed photos of his children was that he had committed his crime (which was not against kids at all) in the presence of children. The prison service used to say that this meant that children were therefore indirect victims as they had to witness it, but this is no longer the case. So I offered my help.
There are certain things that I cannot tolerate. I have even said it to officers directly. You can mess with my property. You can mess with my association. You can mess with me myself. But if you mess with my family, my faith, or my food, then we really are going to have problems. And I apply the same to everyone. These are three issues that I will always help others with when they are having difficulties.
When it came to Cupcake, I thought we were going to have quite a fight. I thought the prison were going to make it really hard for him. I thought it was going to take court action to make them concede. But it was easier than I thought. I told him to write out an application in certain wording which would lay the ground for court action if that becomes necessary and he submitted it. Immediately the prison relented. They said that, in light of a recent case that had been won by a prisoner at Whitemoor prison, they had amended Cupcake’s file to state that he is not deemed a risk to children and so should be allowed photos of his kids.
The feeling of seeing a grown man cry from the sheer relief knowing that the years of not being able to see pictures of his children are over for good is completely indescribable. He didn’t thank me for my help in words. But he didn’t have to. I didn’t expect it, and I could see in his eyes that he was grateful. I was just really happy that he was so happy. I knew right away that I had missed seeing that look, and I didn’t ever want to miss it again.
So, yeah. I have a hero complex. I like to be the one who helps and makes a difference. Sometimes it is impractical, sometimes it comes across as conceited, and sometimes it makes me a target. But you know what? It’s worth it just to see that look and to be able to walk away happy.