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Thinking About Women

By David Gilbert

On the streets I had women on my mind all the time, but that was nothing compared to being in prison. On many nights I lie in my cell just thinking about women - missing loved ones, remembering times together, and dreaming about the future. A big part of that punishment of prison is separation from women.

Prison is not a natural environment. For some guys, who came in as youngsters, their main impression of women comes from "short-ice" magazines. But in real life real women don't usually sit in provocative poses, ready to do our every bidding, with blank expressions on their faces and nothing in their minds. While they can certainly appreciate sexual love, real women also have minds, feelings and goals of their own.

Sexual desire is only natural; the conditions of prison make the longings particularly intense. But sexuality is only one of the important ways we miss the women in our lives. We also miss their intellect, their companionship, their spirit, and their laughter. If we reduce women to "sex objects" we reduce ourselves to "sex maniacs." Some guys try to be lovers with every women in the world 9which they can't possibly do) and miss the opportunities for solid friendships that can enrich our lives.

The isolation of prison is hard. Often we wish that our loved ones would visit and send packages a lot more than they do. But it works both ways; we frequently show little appreciation of the difficulties experienced by our people on the outside. Raising children can be the most demanding job on earth, and economic survival out there can be rough. We need to have enough heart to appreciate what our women are going through out there.

Our deepest responsibility is to look out for the children. There are serious problems that threaten their well being and their future: racism, poverty, drugs, wars, destruction of the environment. We will never overcome these grave problems if we disregard the intelligence, talent, and compassion of one half of the human race.

We reveal a lot about ourselves in how we treat other people. A person who can only feel strong or important through disrespect for others based on their race or sex is a person with a weak sense of self-worth. As men, as human beings, we want to be treated with respect. Women, as human beings, want no less. If we show respect and appreciation for the women in our lives, it will also make us better men.

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