When I Look in the Mirror, What do I See?

When I look in the Mirror, What Do I See?

by Pornchai

When I look in the mirror, I see an honest, respectful, helpful and caring person. I am happy with the person I am becoming. If you were to ask this question six or seven years ago, you would get a very different answer. I used to be a very angry young man, and I took out my anger on everyone around me.

I got into fights, took things from people for no other reason than I wanted them, and picked on people because I knew they were weaker than me. I pretty much did whatever I wanted to, and did not care for anyone or anything beyond myself. I was just angry at the world, angry and hostile, and it was all I ever felt.

When I look in the mirror, today, I see the truth. I see someone whose anger masked his wounds. Anger was like a deep well that I could retreat to and in which I could protect myself from ever being hurt or abandoned by others. I wasn’t aware of all that when I was angry, but today I know that my anger was a result of my hurt. When I began to address one, the other resolved itself.

Today in the mirror, I see a man who has come far from that hurt and wounded kid. I am a better friend to others, and I have friends who truly value me and I would not trade their friendship for anything.  I have learned to risk letting someone in, and I learned the power of trust and loyalty and fidelity. They have the power to transform a person. They transformed me.

In addition to being a better friend, I have become a better person because I see my true self mirrored in the positive regard of my friends for me and mine for them. When I look in the mirror today, I see a man who has learned that the bad things he has done, and could do, have a profound effect on the people around me. It was only when I began to see my world and myself through the eyes of others that change in my core took place. And it was only in learning to trust that I could put my hurt child aside and become a man.

This growth is not only my own doing. I have had a lot of help along the way. I have taken many self-help classes and programs to learn to be a better person. I became aware of the person I was slowly becoming in prison, and discovered that I did not want to be that person. I do not want to be a product of this environment, and I am grateful to people who showed me a better way.

One of them introduced me to Viktor Frankl and his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. I learned from him that I have the freedom to choose the person I am going to be in any set of circumstances, and I choose this person I am becoming now. I want to make something of my life. I want to contribute something to the world and not just take from it. I want to be a productive member of society, and I want the people I love and care for to be proud of what I have become in the end.
Most of all, I want to be able to look at myself in that mirror and feel that the people in my life are better for having me there, and are not just people I take from. I
have learned that I am a person of deep feelings, and I have come to trust others despite having my trust broken in the past and those feelings hurt. In prison, hope and trust are just about everything. Everything!


2 responses to “When I Look in the Mirror, What do I See?

  1. This is a wonderful essay from a young man who has proven that we should never give up on another human soul. Pornchai, despite all the obstacles life threw at him, never gave up on himself and found a reason to continue on. I was alarmed to read the post after this one about the Maine DOC wanting to squelch any public voice by prisoners. They should be shouting the success story of Pornchai from the roof tops. They should be proud of the transformation within this man in spite of them and their system. I know that where he is today, the warden has congratulated him for his outstanding contributions to the prisoners around him. This is a light that the DOC should not be hiding under a bushel basket. We need to hear more from Pornchai.


  2. The last line,about learning to trust even though you have had yours broken…that is a MAJOR brake threw for you! Yes,trust and hope are everything,for us,my inmate and I,communication is essential as well. Be proud of your mile stone,it is a BIG one for any inmate and you shld smile!



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