Practicing Accountability

Accountability does not happen in a vacuum. It requires a web of relationship to be able to exist. Yet it happens for the self to the self. If one of those two haves are not present, an internalized desire to be accountable and a container of community to hold it, then it cannot occur.

This lesson is currently very alive for me. As a child I did not have an internalized desire for accountability, and so I caused great harm to others and myself. After I came to prison I got lucky. Melissa provided me with a container and in doing the work to reclaim my sanity I was practicing accountability without the language to properly describe what I was doing.

After Melissa died of breast cancer, I was no longer actually practicing accountability. I had the desire but lacked the container. I was coasting. I was stagnated. I was playing out the inertia of my previous personal work.

After I arrived at Washington State Reformatory I was able meet some people who also had that same internalized desire for accountability and we were able to create and hold the container of relationship necessary to practice accountability with each other.

Now, however, I am at Twin Rivers Unit and once more I lack a container for practicing accountability in. I have tried for the last month to find people who can help me construct that container, but it’s not working. So once more I am forced to coast, play out the inertia of my previous work and lean upon my memories of everyone I have been in community with and practiced accountability with in the past.

Which is not enough. It is not accountability. Accountability is a living breathing thing, while dwelling in the house of nostalgia is a dying by inches thing.

Right now I am struggling with what it means to intentionally die by inches slowly enough that I will recognize it when it is time for me to be alive once more.

As one of the people who I was in community with would often remind me, “Wherever you happen to be, this is the place of practice” and, “It’s like this right now.”


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