When I was in fourth grade, I remember my parents eagerly signing a consent form (without any hesitation) allowing me to take an overnight class trip with other students where we all went camping in the woods for three days and two nights. There later, cut off from civilization, all the kids and chaperones proceeded to discover and learn new things about life and of themselves.

Each night, everyone would sit around the campfire singing songs, playing games, and making smores. They all seemed to be having the time of their lives. And I hated every minute of it. Making matters worse, I thought I was going to die. I’m serious.

Now to be honest, I didn’t think I was going to die as a result of a bear attack or being lost or anything like that. I just thought I was going to die because I was clearly out of my element and felt completely alone.

I’d felt myself slowly deteriorating because of the environment I was stuck in. Totally spent mentally, physically, emotionally, and anything else (ally) possible, making for a truly miserable experience.

Time all came to a standstill, as every moment seemed like an eternity. All I know is that I did not want to be there. And aside from the PTSD that resulted from that trip, adding insult to injury I also happened to get violently ill in the days thereafter, seeing as how I was not able to take a shit for those three days.

Yes, the whole experience really sucked. Now looking back though, I cannot help but to see the eerily similar feelings between camping (which I hated) and being a convicted felon (which I’ve hated almost as camping). Both being a nightmare that I never want to go through again in this lifetime or the next.

I had so wished I had an escape plan from all the frustration, confusion, and anger I’d deal with. At the very least I could’ve used some sort of manual or guide to help me overcome those very bad feelings that consumed me.

As you can imagine, I allowed every moment of that experience to steal any possible joy I had for life. But fret not my legally troubled friend and allow me the pleasure to share some things you’ll want to practice getting good at in order to considerably reduce the amount of bullshit that lays in store for you, much like the unpleasant experience I encountered in my childhood (which still gives me nightmares to this day).

5 Survival Tips for a Felon to Get Through Life

1) You have to get good at problem solving. Real good.

Without a doubt, problems will always exist. As a felon, even the smallest thing can go sideways and turn into a problem – if you let it. You just have to be ever so mindful in not allowing anything and everything to interfere with the answers.

With that, the trick is to not be fixated on the problems themselves, but on the solutions. And THAT is the answer to everything.

I used to be so wrapped up in living my life trying to get through the day without any issues. And when (not if) it would happen, it would practically ruin my year. I’d get so bent out of shape as my focus was always directed on:

  • How unfair things were for me (as a felon)
  • Why was this happening to me (as a felon)
  • Why things had to be so difficult for me (as a felon)

I was stuck. So much so, that it all hindered my ability to get over it and move forward. As a result, I’d be fixated with (my) problems, as they never seemed to come to an end, ultimately becoming one of those people I detest, never short of drama.

“Nothing’s a problem till you make it a problem”.

The Educated Felon

You have to condition yourself to get over things and that there’s always going to be challenges. It is not the problem per se, but how you respond to them (the solutions) that defines your outcome in life.

2) You have to not be afraid to get any on you.

Just to piggyback off the previous statement regarding problems in life, it’s chock full of challenges bullshit. And it’s going to land on you. And you will not come out of this clean. And it all stinks to high heaven. So, what is one to do but roll up their sleeves and get nasty. Speaking as someone who’s had their fair share of legal problems, there’s just no getting around this one.

And while I wouldn’t say I look forward to bullshit (who does), I’ve just come to expect it in my life, and thus always on the lookout trying to find ways in order to minimize it for myself.

Does the Taurine in Red Bull Come from Bull Semen?

Take heed: this is not thinking negatively, nor being pessimistic. It is just having to be realistic in this lifetime. Especially one lived by a convicted felon.

Often times my answer to it was avoidance, as I’d steer clear of many a situation due to not wanting to deal with the resulting bullshit that’s attached to everything. But when you do that, you cheat yourself out of living life and enjoying it. You live in a constant state of fear, whether you want to admit it or not.


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3) You have to be resilient.

As someone who understands that you must find ways (solutions) to overcome problems, you know there’s always going to be some degree of bullshit involved as well. At the same time, you also recognize that shit will not be easy, so with that you prepare yourself.

While we sometimes cannot avoid certain things that “happen” to us, we can remain open, flexible, and willing to adapt to change (something I did not do) in order to greatly increase the odds of success in your favor.

إناء من بحر العمارة : صفحات مفردة

Look, life’s going to be a juggling act. You need to balance many different responsibilities and pressures from many different places yet keep it all going. Certainly, things are not always going to go your way, especially because you are a felon*.

*How many times more you think I can say “because you are a felon”. I know I keep saying it for everything, but it is truth.

Resilient people are aware of situations, their own emotional reactions, and the behavior of those around them. To get worked up or upset that you cannot deal with things, does you or anyone around you any good.

It also tends to lead someone in developing bad habits in order to cope, all in the name of your stress management methods. Ultimately this puts you in precarious situations, perhaps even being the reason as to why you find yourself battling a felony conviction.

You must not allow yourself to fall victim and succumb to vices in order to cope and deal with pressure and anxiety that life (always) tends to hand you. Especially if you are a felon. Always work the situation in order to make it work for you.

4) You have to be aware.

So you know there’s going to be problems that equates to bullshit, yet you are resilient enough in not allowing them to become too much of a distraction in living your life. What else? Well, you shouldn’t allow (other) stupid shit to hurt that life, pulling you back down.

As a felon, you must be aware of your surroundings at all times. Aware of the people around you. Not only that, but you must also be keenly aware of time. Knowing where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there. You must be aware that you will be reliant on using your senses and instincts. And as if that wasn’t enough, you have to be practically clairvoyant at times, almost able to sense when danger is upon you.

Make no mistake, you are not needing to live your life in fear, but to understand that you must take precautions in order to avoid putting yourself in harms way. Once again, especially cause you are a felon. Remember, being a felon is like having a GPS on you, as we need not go looking for trouble, as trouble will always, always find a way to locate us.

5) You have to do more with less.

Chances are if you are reading this, you’re probably on some form of supervision, whether it be probation, parole, or community control. So congratulations on that. And if I had to describe what it’s like to be a felon in the present day and age with all the challenges involved of living life in one sentence or less – then this would be it:

You have to do more with less.

You are a felon. That comes with lots of baggage. You will be discriminated against. Passed over. Not given the benefit of doubt. And it sucks. It is exhausting. It is unfair (at least I think so). So you must overcompensate.

It’s kind of like a boxing match where you have no choice but to fight with one arm tied behind your back. And you’re boxing Mike Tyson. You’re at a supreme disadvantage. You have a handicap (felony) to work with. Instead of focusing on why this is happening, you need to focus on the solutions and how you will overcome it.

That is the answer on how you’re going to be able to have yourself setup for success on this thing. And when you decide that, you will find the way to even the playing field. Hopefully legal though.

And there you have it. Learning to do these five things better will allow you to get a little more enjoyment out of this life, rather than be miserable every day. I give you these tips in a cautious effort to be ever so mindful of what you have to be, and what you have to do in order to keep your ass free and partaking in this world to find your happiness long term.

It’s really all in how you want to get through it. How you frame things in your mind. It really helps to prepare yourself in knowing what’s in store for you. Much like the dread that overcame me when I learned I would be camping, so is the hatred of being a convicted felon, and the bullshit that waits in store for you.

The Educated Felon