5 Life Changing Lessons I Learned In A Irish Jail
“Okay, take off your clothes”. Those were the last words I heard before the giant titanium door closed in my face. Here I was in jail. You are wondering how I got here? Let’s go back to the beginning. Four hours before the door shut in my face, I had just landed in Dublin, Ireland. I was full of excitement yet again, landing in a country I knew nothing about. I wish I could go back in time like “Back to the Future” to warn myself of the experience ahead. As the airplane taxied to the gate, I was blinded by all the green that consisted of Air Lingus Airlines aircrafts that peaked out before the green hills that surrounded the airport.
Soon as I got off the airplane , I scampered my way to the empty customs line. My intuition already knew this may work against me. Most customs line are lengthy and officers usually keep the pace moving. In peek times, we all look alike to them and are usually greeted with the same old robotic questions about why are we in their country and how long are we there for then on to the next one. In this instance, it was just me. They had all the time in the world to size me up and perceive me how they see fit. It’s human nature to form a perception of someone in seconds no matter what profession there in. This is when things start to go down hill.
I am greeted with standard questions as I stated earlier. All of a sudden the conversation takes a left turn. The customs officer decides to ask me about my personal finances. I wasn’t prepared for that question. I had the address of where I was staying and the ticket for when I was leaving. I fumbled over the answer like a nervous man on a first date. Things were going south fast. Still perplexed about the finance question, I just answered and told them I had the funds until my other account transfers over the rest of the funds. Then the officer said, “I will be right back”.
The supervisor comes out to scold me, he calmly said, ” This isn’t how things work”. I am thinking, what is he talking about? What do they think I am trying to do? I was asked to go with the supervisor to some booth that look like a hockey penalty box. I was there for at least an hour. It was there they gave me my letter that explained why I was rejected entrance into their country. The fun continued as I was transferred from the customs officers to immigration. They were confused as I was about what was going on. They were kind to me. They fed me a healthy chicken sandwich and trolled me about Trump while I got questioned.
Then immigration locked me in a room for what felt like an eternity. It was only three hours. Immigration came to get me only to transfer me again to another location. They told me they were taking me somewhere to sleep for the night. I was to smart not to believe such a foolish thing. If this was a scene in a movie where the bad guy has you kidnapped and you ask, “Where are you taking me?”, this would be the part to get away. My intuition was spot on again. The place they took me to was a worst shit hole then the last place. When I was greeted by some muscular gentleman with Popeye forearms in a uniform that said police, I knew right away where I was at.
Here I was in a jail cell located in Dublin, Ireland. I was left there to mentally rot like a prisoner does in solitary confinement. All I had was a hole to poop in and my thoughts. Here are 5 life changing lessons I thought about while sitting in that cell.
1. What do you think about in the darkness – I was angry and felt helpless. That feeling of being trapped allows the thought of death. It slowly creeps into your subconscious. This is the point of solitary, to kill you mentally and spiritually. In all the times I found myself in dark times, I had to grab onto something to get me out. My life jacket was revenge. I promised a former friend that I would destroy his ego and pride by being immensely successful. I intend to keep that promise. This was a real life Batman moment for me. Behaving like Bruce Wayne when his parents got murdered by doing push ups and sit ups like a madman. It gave me hope again. In your most adversarial times, you will need something to pull you out.
2. No man is meant to be alone – After hours of shock from being jailed to being rejuvenated by thoughts of revenge, I felt sad. I felt sad because I needed revenge to help me stay positive and to keep my mind sharp. Most people would have relied on the love of their loved ones. I had to ask myself, I’m I really that broken? I have been single for a long time. For years, friends, mentors, colleagues have been trying to assist me in my love life. I would turn my nose to their attempts telling them I am not interested. For months I was traveling recklessly entering countries without a whim not telling a soul. Perhaps if I was in a relationship, I may have thought about another’s feelings than my own. Just maybe, just maybe I would not be in this situation. In the words of Patti LaBelle, somebody loves you baby.
3. The truth about social media justice warriors – I stood at the hole in the ground. You know the one I was supposed to poop in. It was then that I realized why social media activist hide behind the keyboard. That’s because it’s safe. Knowing what I know now and knowing what jail does to your mind, I can’t say I blame them. These days everyone wants to be Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Nelson Mandela on social media all for likes and approvals. These days these kind of acts can put you in jail or worse, dead. There is a reason why the people I spoke of our revered through out history. Putting yourself out there to be jailed or killed for a cause isn’t for an average human being. If you have people who love you and you fight the good fight on your keyboard by posting on social media all day about injustices, stay there because it is safer and your family needs you.
4. Jail isn’t for man – There is jail, you have interaction with people. Than there is solitary, you have no contact with anybody. It is meant to be a form of punishment. It is meant to drive you insane. Heck, even God punished people in the bible by exiling them to wander the earth alone. According to immigration, I was jailed for over a day. I was locked in a room with a giant metal door. One would have thought I was Hannibal Lector from “Silence of the Lambs”. I didn’t know what time it was or if it was day or night outside. From time to time I did hear new cell mates being brought in as they drunkenly yelled “Officer!” in their Irish accents. If I had to spend another day isolated in that cell, I am not sure if I would have made it. We are built to connect with other humans. Without that connection, mental issues start to take over.
5. My friendships – When you have nothing but time on your hands, all you do is think. As your mind deteriorates, you thoughts do as well. I thought about who would actually care that I was in a jail cell in Ireland. I came to the conclusion that nobody cares. I realized that I have to be around more for people to care. People are used to me not being around so this is why I came to this conclusion. This is the price I pay for this lifestyle. But this lifestyle has taught me two things about friends. The ones who accept me for who I am are still around. And I have met some pretty dope people on this journey in the process. As far the ones who are still around, maybe I can be a better friend by making them a priority like I do my brand. We can always be better friends to the ones who deserve it.
The big metal door finally opened. After a day of mental uncertainty, immigration was there to pick me up. I honestly didn’t know how long I was going to be in there. To get a taste of what jail would be like was humbling. I never claimed to be some hard tough guy who can do years in a prison. Jail is not for me. I bopped my way out of there like a free man leaving prison. I flirted with every woman I saw only because I was appreciative of the things I had taken for granted. This wasn’t the case before. It is true what they say. you don’t know you have something good until it’s gone. In this case, it was my freedom.
- Eric L. Bolden
- E. The Traveling Trainer