REALLY REACH SOMEONE
Well hello my forward facers. Yep, as usual, I’m very very excited! I always love a chance to share with you on my podcast. Now, with today’s topic I want to make a quick distinction; the word, “kite” can mean one of three very different things. One definition is an anonymous note turned in by an inmate which usually either snitches on criminal activity by another inmate (sometimes truthfully, sometimes falsely) or complains about a prison staff member, a second one could be a letter to another inmate in which you put her name & prison address as the return address, then put a fictitious address as the mailing address, thus, the post office can’t deliver it and sends it back to its return address where it (hopefully) arrives safe & sound at the fellow inmate’s dorm. You would do this because inmates are not allowed to write letters to each other. Pretty slick, huh? Never underestimate the ingenuity of prison inmates! Lastly, the third definition, which is the one I will be referring to here; it means any note passed between an inmate in one cell to an inmate in another cell while in his/her own cell, either by “fishing” (adding a string and slinging it over) or via a “run-around” (a trustee, an inmate worker), or between an inmate in the Box(cell) and an inmate out on the compound.
So, here’s what we’re going to talk about in reference to our third definition. In jail or prison, it quickly becomes very apparent of the need to communicate. It truly is a luxury we take for granted on the outside. We pass individuals day in and day out without even thinking of communicating with them, even if just to offer a simple hello. Once that freedom is taken from you, and you are placed in a situation where you may not know what’s going on or what to do, you instinctively want and realize you need someone to communicate with; even if it is to just reach someone to ask a simple question. Next, as time goes on you have a need to reach someone who understands you for comradery, fellowship, or a friendship. Then, what happens is lastly, you’ve been there long enough to want to reach someone to do one of two things: either drag them down with you, or teach them what you’ve learned to stay lifted. The four forces of flight (i.e. Lift, Weight, Drag, and Thrust) affect kites in the same way they affect airplanes, and anything else that flies. Lift is the upward force that pushes a kite into the air. Today I’m going to tell you how to use those four forces and REALLY REACH SOMEONE.
So, lets fly right into it. So, as I mentioned, let’s talk about kite/fishing as we use it to reach someone during our sentence. As with most things when you’re locked up, it doesn’t matter how, where, or who you learn it from, just that you learn it. So now that you know a means of communicating, you begin to focus on the reason why you want to. Initially, we just need answers to basic survival questions: when to eat and who to eat with, when and what programming should you do, and paperwork and counselor questions. So this basic level of kiting can be done with that fishing technique of simply writing a note, and the funny thing about that note is it does somehow end up being folded into that diamond shape of a kite, you tie some type of a string (shoelace, piece of a torn towel, etc..) to the end of the note, you get down on the ground, push it through the last bar nearest to the next cell and with a little lift, sling it over; and there you have it, communication at a basic level for basic things. If you keep your questions at this level of simplicity, then it’s very likely you will get a response.
Next, I mentioned the basic human need for friendship. As time passes while doing time, you find at least one or two people you consider to be your friend. You either eat with them, work or program with them, go to church with them, or spend your dayroom or free time with them. This relationship becomes very important to you, and so does communicating with them regularly. So now you’ve progressed to a higher level of kiting. You find someone who can get a kite to this person directly, even if it’s going to take a little while for them to run around. So maybe you offer a trustee something in exchange for them getting your note to your friend when they go to clean their unit, or when they take the clean laundry to that yard. They carry a little more weight than you when it comes to being able to move around the facility. As a result, through barter and trade you’re actually able to create a schedule with your friend (when and where to meet), and you’re able to build on the friendship when together and even when separated throughout the day.
I also mentioned communicating for the purpose of dragging others down with you. Now this is not as easy to do as it sounds. Even more important to note is often It’s done unintendedly. It’s not in a woman’s initial makeup to do this as we are by design– nurturers, comforters, social, and caring. Unfortunately, being institutionalized rips away much of this and creates the opposite. You become a look out for self, dog eat dog or perish type of being. So, when things don’t seem to be going your way or in your favor when it comes to your time and sentence, you form a need of communicating with someone who can get “stuff” done; and by “stuff”, I mean fights that lead to longer sentences for others, room shake downs that lead to emotional setbacks, cheating and sex that lead to relationship breakups and confusion. As I mentioned before, through barter and exchange you can get a kite to someone on the yard or even sometimes a deputy, who can make another woman’s life miserable behind bars, and this as we know, begins the cycle of where hurt people, hurt people. However, not all hope is lost in this type of kiting. The same level of people–those who can move freely or very easy throughout the facility have the means to thrust you out of lockup and into freedom. Remember, they can make “stuff” happen, and by “stuff”, I mean get your kites to your counselor faster so you can work and earn a higher pay slot, get your kite to the kitchen and help you with food allergies, even get paperwork looked over, which eventually leads to you being thrusted forward and released.
I know, it’s pretty interesting when you think of and understand that the basis of an actual kite is the same as a prison kite, don’t you think? A kite in jail or prison is meant to in one way or another, fly to someone in order to communicate something. But even though they use the same forces, a kite on the outside is usually meant to be flown for recreation, art displays, and other practical uses like videos and photography. Some kites have even been used for human flight, military applications, science, and meteorology. Kites have long been a part of history. The exact date and origin of the kite is not known but it is believed that they were flown in China more than two thousand years ago. I suspect the same with jail kites, its origin and time span is unknown, but I bet it expands back to the 1870 if not further, when incarceration of women began in the United States because as humans, we were created to communicate.
So now I want to tell you how to Fly and soar your kite of life and REALLY REACH SOMEONE. So, lift is the upward force that pushes a kite into the air. So first you need to want to go higher, you have to want to move upward. In your thinking, I want you to shift your mindset from staying average, hovering around at a low level being equal to everyone else around you. That’s institutionalized thinking. Kites are shaped and angled so that the air moving over the top moves faster that the air at the bottom. Reshape your thinking to upward goals. Set goals in a manner that when looked back on over the course of the year, it can clearly be seen by anyone that you are moving higher. Make them reachable like a 12 lb. weight loss, a certificate, a new good friend, a church membership, a savings account with $500 by Christmas time. Ladies, did you know that a mathematician discovered that air pressure decreases as it speeds up. So as with a kite, there is less pressure above it than below it, the same is for us. You just need to rise in order to experience it.
Next there’s the weight. It’s the force that’s generated by the gravity attraction of the earth that pulls on the kite back toward earth. So, don’t let gravity pull you down. When things seem to all come at once, it feels overwhelming like gravity is pulling you down. When this happens, stop and recognize that it’s your thinking causing that overwhelming feeling, because when good stuff is happening all at once, you don’t say ohh I’m to overwhelmed; rather, you smile, shout, and call it favor and blessings. So, understand that weight is what makes you stronger. The more you can bench, or press, or lift, the stronger you will become.
Now thrust is the forward force that propels a kite in the direction of motion. Just as you’ve seen a kite get the lift, have the weight under it to go higher, then all of a sudden it starts spinning out of control; yep, same with us. We must understand the motion we need to go in is forward. So, if you achieve something, don’t just stay there, move forward. If you fail at something, don’t just quit, try again, and even again and again if needed. The forward thrust of a kite is achieved by relying on the tension that’s put on the string and the air created by the wind to achieve a forward motion. Same with you. Notice when you feel tension. If its too much, back off a little, if its not enough and you’re breezing through life but not thrusting forward, apply a little more tension to your life, and push yourself beyond comfort.
Lastly is the drag. With a kite, the drag is pulling against the wind. It’s the same principal as if you were to stick your hand out the window of a moving vehicle. With your hand tilted clockwise, the wind force will push your hand up (due to lift) and back (due to drag). Both lift and drag are unavoidable consequences of kite flying. You cannot have one without the other. The same is true in life. There will be times in life, such as incarceration, in which life feels like a constant drag backwards. But over time you’re able to find the lifts of life that could have only been recognized because of the drag. Take me and this podcast for instance. So, learn to understand that direction changes like the wind, and it is up to you to fight the drag, let it get you and keep you moving backwards, or use it to your advantage.
So, lets just briefly recap. We talked about how there are basically three kinds of jail or prison kites, and we focused on the third one, kite/fishing–getting a note from one inmate to reach another inmate. Next, we discussed the reasons why and how to go about doing it. Then, we broke down the four forces of flight and compared them with kites on the inside and kites on the outside. Lastly, I shared how to reach someone using the dynamics of kite flying. Reason that the facility is counting you, which is to account for all inmates being there in the facility. So kites allow you to be where you’re suppose to be, while reaching out to others.
So, ladies, my question is, who do I want you to reach? Yes, eventually I want you to reach out to others, but as you can tell, the person I most want you to reach, REALLY REACH, IS YOU! The part I didn’t talk about on a kite is the tail. A tail is often added to the back of a kite for further stability. You see, you must first learn to soar, then others will be added to your life for stability. The tail helps the kite line up with the wind. So, like a kite, for now I pledge to run while pulling you, to create an “apparent wind” which will create lift and allow me to push you up. Once you reach a high enough altitude where the wind becomes strong enough, I can stop running and you, the kite, will remain aloft. And my friends, that’s how you REALLY SOAR HIGH AND LONG! That’s exactly what I did, I allowed others to pull me behind them until I could fly alone. Until next time, thanks for joining me here, where we “Face Forward, and Move Forward”