James Dayton
May 4, 2011

What are the necessities of life? Today, I sit here as a lost soul in search of life and its necessities. Yet I’ve found the greatest necessity of all.

I found my lost soul, my life, and God, my higher power. But, wait, I’m still lost. I’m puzzled, I’m confused; I’ve loved my family my whole life, and I love my children unconditionally.

Yet, my presence is felt when I’m there and lost when I’m gone. What am I in search of? Is it love, devotion, dedication? Is it family, money, sex – what is it? Are these things the necessities of life? What about compassion, friendship, loyalty, and respect? Are these the necessities of life? I believe all of these are necessities in life. But, what matters? What is the reality of life? What have life and love become? Let me express this.

I’ve had an experience in life, a love out of this world. My ex and I had the greatest love one could have. It was a fairytale romance: love and respect, loyalty within. She felt me within her soul, as I felt her within mine. I craved what she craved. We enjoyed everything together as one. This is easy to express. We never had to force our love or devotion. We weren’t rich, yet we were rich in love and in family. That’s the Necessity of life. Love.

Why are so many people judgmental? So, I’m in prison now. I’m human, and I’ve made mistakes, but I can assure you that I am just as capable as the next man. See, most people are “looking in” from the outside. I look at things from the inside-out: with my heart, with my “everything”. Being on the outside of life only gives you one perspective on life, and so many get so stuck on that perspective that they’re blinded by the way of life, the true way of life. Not everything is one-sided and living in a box your whole life sure doesn’t help out at all.

Look around. How can anyone help change, or provide change, if there is hate being judged, or one just doesn’t care? This isn’t about being selfish; it’s about caring – caring about this world and the people in it. The children in it. Children losing families, families losing children, kids being beaten and those that are starving or experiencing mental or social abuse everyday. How can, or why do we allow such things to happen? Yes, I know: blah-blah…who am I?  Well, I will tell you who I am.

I’m Jimmy Brown and I’m in prison. Why am I in prison? Because I did what I thought I was good at accomplishing. I’ve been stealing my whole life, and I got great at it; well, not too great, because I’m in prison as a result of it. But, what choice did I have? I was thrown to the side as a child, beaten, and became a misfit in my life, but that is not an excuse. I had a choice, and I chose the wrong road and I’ve been in hell; I’ve done hundreds of drugs. I’ve done so many crazy things in life that you wouldn’t believe them if I told you. I lived for the rush. I used my family as an excuse; they needed more, more, more, when really all they truly needed was a father – and yet I pressed for more.

Money, money, money: I went through so much to get it. As an addict, I was out there keeping myself in the middle of all kinds of so-called “necessities” of life. It was wrong. One can only build the foundation of his or her own necessities. The more you desire, the more drama. Life is so full of great people, beautiful places, and special places that it’s hard to believe it’s often ending. We’re destroying our future for our children. I know that people are people and that we are all susceptible to change at any time.

So, tell someone today “hi,” “hello,” and “how are you?” It may change their day or their life, and, who knows, you may feel better about yourself, and that is one of the greatest necessities in life. So, stop being lost and realize that change can now happen for our future, for our children, for love, and for peace.


Jimmy Brown is currently incarcerated at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.  A brilliant visual artist, Mr. Brown is a loyal contributor to RED! the breakthrough ‘zine. For two years, the webzine has regularly been publishing his artwork and short personal essays.


RED!‘s “Action Words” section comprises essays, poems, stories, and artwork by incarcerated individuals.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: