In this episode, we go back in time to October 2015 for a conversation with EPP Founder Susan Olesek and EPP Ambassadors Victor Soto and Clay Tumey about opening up on the inside, being willing to look at a new way, and making the decision to take the first step in a new direction.
For more information about EPP, please visit EnneagramPrisonProject.org.
Hi, my name is Clay. And this is the Enneagram Prison Project podcast. As most of you know, we started this podcast about a year and a half ago in April of 2021. With the intention to tell the story of EPP and celebrating 10 years of the Enneagram Prison Project. However, what you might not know is that this wasn't our first attempt at doing an EPP podcast. Back in the fall of 2015, just over seven years ago, we actually had four ish episodes of the podcast that went up on Facebook and YouTube. And well actually don't remember everywhere that it went up. And I say four ish episodes, because the fourth episode was actually cut into two parts, part one and part two. And unfortunately, Part Two was never edited and released, so nobody ever heard it. And to put it lightly, and always bothered me quite a bit that nobody ever heard that second part, because I really enjoyed it. And I thought it was good. So I decided to go through and find those old files and edit them together. For this episode of the podcast. A few relevant facts that you'll need to know before we begin here today, is first of all, this conversation happened in October of 2015. And it involves EPP founders, Susan Olesek and Victor Soto, who is one of our earliest ambassadors with EPP and of course, I'm there with them. So you'll hear the three of us talking together. And also back then EPP was still pretty young. And we didn't have the few bazillion folks that we have now. And I kind of say it's kind of cool living here in the future that we dreamed about so many years ago. So I think, yeah, I think that's enough. I think I think that's enough of a preface here. So please join me now as we travel back in time for this episode of The Enneagram Prison Project podcast. We have a third friend with us this morning. And so from Arizona, I wanted to check in and see how things are going your way, Vic. Things right now going pretty good. Right now things are probably the best in my life. Things have ever gone. Yeah, as far as working wise, health wise. The way I think the way I, like just respond in life. It's just a whole different atmosphere for me. So just for a point of reference, I want to ask, so we're in October here. And where were you October of light? Where were you this time last year in jail? And you still had a couple months left, right? I did. I had two months. So when you were sitting, you had already met Susan and have gone through the course a couple times by the end, right. I was. Yeah, I did. I met Susan. And I think it was in my fifth class. And we were buds by then yeah, we were best friends. You're happy to see you by then like those. That's all I could wait for was to go back to class. And anytime that administration tried to give me a problem about going to class after a fit. I cancelled it. I had I had a positive argument going on the argument. Positive arguments? Well, it's a bit of a dilemma, right? Because you really want the class and you can't just throw fit, and you know it. And so I don't think that's totally accurate. What do you mean, you know, really, but I mean, anytime that they try to give me a problem about it, I mean, I would not really argue about it, but I will stand up for myself, you know, because it was something that I wanted to do. It was something that I was so involved in and I just felt like at times they were trying to take that away from me to try to break me. So a lot of people who've never been locked up don't really understand why. You know, like a skeptic, somebody like me would hear you say that. And I would think Come on. That's why why would anybody do that? They're just guards doing their job. You know, they're just, you know, good people. There's, you know, there's no reason for them to really keep you out of class. But I think people don't understand sometimes that's actually very real. So what is it you know? What is it about? You know, being loved That makes it toward you know, everybody else, you don't have the freedom to just go and do what you want. But how often would you see yourself in a position to where you just couldn't go do something that you needed to do or a class you needed to take or something like that? Well, it's an everyday thing. It's not that it happens periodically, actually happens every day. It doesn't matter is like, what what's their? What's their motivation? Like, why? Why do they have control issues? They're scared to just let people be and do what they have to do they just so they go out of their way to make it their business to make your life miserable, or make you have to sit there and argue or fight your way just to get somewhere. I was like that when I was taking my GED class, it was like that when I was taking my computer classes. And it was definitely like day one, after I left the program that I was in and wanted to go into the Enneagram. Did you ever encounter the the flip side of that, and guards who were who were actually good, good to you, for lack of a better phrase, and were encouraging or helped you get to what you needed to be the class you needed to be to? Or whatever? Did you ever expose the flip side? Well, there was a, there was maybe one or two different correctional officers there at the time, that seeing where I was before, and who I was before, because they known me from doing time and pass till the program and the stuff that I was doing now. And they were the ones that were giving me encouraging words and letting go and everything was all right, and say something to their CO coworker. So yeah, I've seen the flipside. I think I understand what you're asking clay. And I've had that same thought, you know, I see some rosy picture of guys that are happy to be in my class and we get in the room and we do good work, I don't see all the stuff that happens within trying to get in can't get past the gate can't get the guard can't get my pass. I hear these stories, and I don't think fixed making it all up. I know that this stuff exists. And it kind of begs the question what like, why would it be that way? Like you're saying clay, I think our attitude in our countries, there's a blurred line between punishment and reform. And people mistakenly think that when somebody's in jail, that's the time to punish them is actually like being in jail is the punishment, right is the is the thing they're already in now, they actually need to do time to heal, and to learn and to grow. But it's not really an environment that caters to that. And I think that the guards that end up in there, and many ways aren't equally hurting part of the population. And and I think fixed, right, I think there are control issues. And that's why people end up in those positions, we gravitate to the thing that we need to learn why you think I go teach the Enneagram because I'm so hard on myself and miserable in my own personal prison. So I want to get out. And we just bring all our projections. I mean, if you're this morning, just sitting around the table like my, my two sons, one is trying to pass the person the thing that he wants. And my my eighth son is like, you know, you're you're taking that from me, and it sounds like it to us, you know, and then we all listen, we're like it's a projection. I'm the one that said it's a projection and like 30 seconds later, I started to spill the coffee on the floor as I'm transferring it to the canister and Rick innocently says you'll need help you pour that into the canister. And I said, Well, after you're not sarcastic with me, like, I'm not being sarcastic with you, right? We just project all over the place and take that too. It's really unhealthy. And you put it in a correctional facility with people with control issues. I have control issues, the guards have control issues and mates have control issues and who perfect petri dish. So when you say that the guard, you know, they're there. I forget as you use, but they're hurting to potentially at least. And yeah, so what do you think? I mean, we don't have an EPP for guards, or at least we don't yet. But would they? Could you ever see a point? Just hypothetically speaking, could you ever see a point where the guards were going through the class? Maybe even with the inmates? Yeah, I have thought about that. That's my ideal. I think we're a little ways from that. But I have had requests from different correctional officers in different facilities saying, doing in there. And when I go through the gate, every time with my poster, and I bring in books back and forth, I've gotten into dialogue, and they're definitely curious, and the administration is definitely figuring out where to put it in. It's not like a you know, if it's a it's a well, what would you think? If you were you were going you were in class still locked up? And and a guard was in there with you? How would you feel about that? Would it be would it be funky? Or would you be like, Okay, this guy's looking to, you know, do some work on himself. Like, would that be cool? Or would you be kind of turned off by that? I think it would all depend on the situation if the guard actually joined the class and actually, you know, Need to stay in the class the whole time until the class is over. And I'm talking about the eight weeks, I'm not talking about the stat class. And he shared with us some real personal information or shared somebody's personal phone. So it would be I would be more comfortable. But if a guard just walks in and wants to sit in class, I'll shut down and I'll stop talking. So because I don't, I don't feel that he shouldn't be. I just don't feel that he has a right to sit in that class while I'm sharing something about myself. And they would probably still go. I mean, that would probably go for anybody, right? Even if it were just another inmate, if they just kind of plopped down and set you know, they just filled a chair for a couple hours and didn't really participate. Everybody, like for some reason, you just kind of you noticed that that person is there, and it kind of makes it, it hinders us, it makes it to where we can't talk as much. But if, but if somebody gets involved, you know, like, one thing about when Susan does class is, it's, it's a circle, everybody sits in a circle, the chairs are arranged. It's not like a bunch of chairs facing her, and then she's teaching you. So if somebody were to get into the circle, and they're but they're not emotionally or energetically in, you know, in the mix of things, it kind of breaks things up, right? It does. I think it's just, you know, I think it's a level of participation in the class, right? It's, you got, like, you're saying, you got some people that just aren't there just to hear that participate? It makes you really uncomfortable? Because it makes you think, like, Why is this person even really here? Or what is this? What is being smolders behind? Coming to this class, I'm not saying that. I think it's all about how, like you say how they come in, because we actually bring visitors in total strangers, many, many times for graduations, when, you know, could be like the most vulnerable sharing right of time of closure. And we bring guests in just even week one, week two, just learning types. But I always insist that when people come in, they're willing to have enough Enneagram understanding where they've picked a type. And then we make that our common language. So as if anybody ever says something that is self disclosing or not, it's not self disclosing, we can always bring it back to that map and objectively kind of inquire more about something to try to try to get it to be more, more vulnerable, because it's just not like you both are saying it's not fair. It's not doesn't work to have vulnerable vulnerability, only happening on one half of the room. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's, that's when I took the class, it was actually not yet a class it was Susan coming in teaching a different program. So my, my perspective is totally different, which it I kind of envy the guys who are going through class now because it's, it's an eight week course rather than a two day, you know, Crash Course or whatever you want to call it. So I think Vic, you kind of got to experience it a lot better than I did. When I when I first went through, you went through the class more than once, actually more than twice, five times. I think it was right. Yes. So when you but I want to go back to the first class because Susan said something about this a minute ago, and it made me it made me I've heard this story before. But I want you to tell when you when you first when you first Yeah, we're gonna go there. I mean, well, I told I asked him before we went on, I said, Is there anything we can talk about? He said, Now we're good. So I'm gonna, I'm going to take advantage of that. Right? That first, that first time that you were in class, tell us? Do you remember? Do you remember what it was like going to EPP for the first time? Well, going into the class he was. So I took the classes to kill some extra time that I had. And I was so bored of my other class that I was in that I needed something to kill three hours of my day. And Susan just happened to come in and pitch your class and I signed up and when I actually sat in a class, I was slouched down. I had my head kind of down. I wasn't really. I was interested, but I was not interested. You know, it was just something new. So when I sat there, I sat there for like two classes, three classes. And by the third class, I believe it was I started to really pay attention to what was going on. And stop you there real quick. And I want to ask you when you're just sitting in class for those first couple of weeks, and like the image I get when you say you're slouched down with your head kind of forward or whatever the image I get is like this teenage kid who's being forced to go somewhere and just they Hate where they're at? Is that is that kind of is that accurate? Well, I didn't, maybe where you're at, but it's, it's more like they're out of obligation rather than something that you want to be doing. Right? It was it was definitely that. So what do you do? What do you think about the things that are being talked about? And collect? Susan is a no, no, no, I know how Susan is when she teaches and stuff like that. But what are you thinking about? At that point? Are you even listening? Are you just kind of occupying space and time there? So I was okay, so I was not. If you looked at me, it will look like I wasn't paying attention. Right. Right. But it to tell you the truth, I paid attention from the first class. And I think what it was is that there was individuals in the class that maybe I was uncomfortable with or in have a relationship with more we didn't talk before. So I knew nothing about him. You know, Susan went around the room and talk to each individual guy, and he started sharing. So by the third class, was sitting over my chair, and when it was much easier to talk, my talk, and what do you talk about? Well, we talked about, so I talked about some real personal stuff, as far as what's going on my father, and what happened to our family? What he like me becoming part of the system since I was six years old, running the streets at seven, getting high and using drugs at a very young age, while hanging around the wrong crowd of people. But I think the most like, personal thing, I talked about what is what happened with my father, because a person like me, in jail or prison, they'll talk about stuff like that, you know, we despise people and cause harm to people like that. For stuff like my father did. So I think that kind of caught Susan off guard when I was willing to share that much. And how open I was. Is that true? Susan? I think you did. I think that what you taught me in the class, I learned gradually over those first eight weeks, because remember, I, I come from my own projections, and my own really hard inner critic. And even before I met you in, in Texas clay, like my projections would persist, those guys are too hard to broken, they're not gonna understand on to white to female, all that stuff going through my head. So I think I'm bringing the best I can bring but I'm reading Vic's body language and everything about him says, I don't want to be here. And so the way I had to grow is to force myself to ask him, do you want to be here and you know, and call him on thinking it was an eight that really feeling like energetically oh my god, you feel like such a nine and trying to get to more practice more. A conversation where the the dialogue is working better, and only what works better is to actually pick the right type. So that I'm saying something that feels really poignant to him. If I'm talking to him from an eight perspective, it's not going to work. So I had to kind of find my way and insist on on engaging with Vic, even though everything about him was saying, don't engage with me. And so that really has taught me so much and going forward. Like I never trust the body language. And yesterday, I taught you know, a company with a bunch of engineers and salespeople and you know, same thing body language and my projections and I just take a breath and then I asked like, what do you what's really going on in there is never the way it's like that's those are covers. So yeah, you did take me take me off. I've seen you do this quite a few times. Where you I don't know I don't know what the right term is. But I think it's it's not really aggressive but you're not scared to get in the mix with with with the inmates, you know, guys that you're working with, you're not scared to call them on stuff or to put them on the spot or to ask them that question. Is that really true? And I wonder like I think most people would would be a little scared frankly, of going into place like that. nevermind the fact that you're locked in a room with with a bunch of you know, men who are presumably pretty tough and could do some some damage physically, you know, but what is it? Have you ever thought Have you ever had any sense of fear about putting people on the spot and getting you know, kind of getting not getting in their face but you know what I'm saying like you're just not scared to to go there. And I think a lot of people would be I think I probably would be think what I'm most scared of is not not reading some do well enough to know how much more I can push, and not trusting that I have the good instinct about that. And I actually have very good instincts about that. But when I feel my projection more and more ungrounded, then I don't read it well, and I feel very tentative. So I think that where I've grown is, I am more. I, you know, once I have this integrity thing, like I feel more pressure about leaving the exchange with somebody who's participating in the class, but something valuable that I do about worrying about did I not do it right or whatever. I don't know if that makes sense. So it really, really matters to me that I do something worthwhile on in there. And I think the thing that's been so helpful about letting me get over that hump is just like what you guys said earlier, not having a guard in the room or not having anything else except for the guys and me, or the women in me. And I just feel like when it's like that, we're just people, we're just human, and we just, I can go there and I can feel my instincts. And I've learned from just from time to say like, can I? Can I push you? Can I ask more? Are you willing to say more? And usually, the way I get around that is I share a little bit about me, and then they trust me. And as we do this sort of dance, you know, we figure it out as we go. I'm hearing you say that you have great instincts. And by the way, I agree I've seen you do you know, I've seen you do your thing. And I just totally agree with that statement. But for somebody like me who if if either I do have the the instincts, but not the confidence to trust him? Or maybe I just don't have that instinct, nearly to the degree that I wish I did how, how would I or somebody else listening? Or watching to this? I'm wondering how how is it that you learn? How do you grow that ability? Or how do you learn to trust your instincts? Or you know, what, what is the process like for somebody like me, who is perhaps a little timid or even, or even scared to go into that situation? Yeah, I think you follow the same map. That's what the Enneagram gives all of us the practical tactical way through for you as a five is different than it is for me as a one. But it so I know that fives tend to not trust their own inner guidance. And so they go up in your head and overthink it and come up with a lot when maybe talk too much or you know, talk about somebody and come off as arrogant. Those are the you know, pitfalls of being in your ego as a five. So it's different from me as a one. But it's the same way out right use put your feet on the ground, take a breath, get present. Remember who you are, remember your own tender heart. Remember your own vulnerability and your own sensitivity, you have that in spades. People say fives are the most sensitive on the Enneagram. And stop thinking, and then just trust that exactly what you need to say is going to come out and it does the same for everybody. I appreciate the bravery in you telling a five to stop thinking, by the way. I don't know that's a that's that's a struggle a lot of times but i like i like the answer. And, you know, specifically where you say, you know, it's different for you. Because, you know, you're a five, I'm a one. And that's, you know, I have a lot of friends and family who don't know that much about the Enneagram. But they're curious because they know, the role that it plays in my life. And that's the that's kind of my selling point, so to speak, is that, you know, there's all these different ways to do to do things. And when you say when I asked you for a definite answer on something, and you say, well, it's different for people, because we're all we're all kind of different, we're doing things kind of our own way. So what's right for you or what works for you might not be the case for me. So that's, that's one of those things, it's just really important to know, and that I really want to just point out to people because I think some of the folks you know, especially listening to this or watching this, they're still kind of feeling their way through the Enneagram. And, and wondering like what it's all about and, and that's it that's to me, that's that's what a lot of it is about is that we're doing things differently, and they're not right and wrong. It's just different. So and we are all learning that as we go right and you know, Nick was saying in the beginning right just for you to know that you wanted to take the class and know what you want and put yourself out there like that's that's your edge as a nine and I think the thing that like people ask who is EPP one of our core values is to be transparent and we insist on that doesn't work if you're not so if you're not willing to tell everybody in the room that your defense is to be arrogant and to no more than everybody then they're going to sniff you out. Right? You've taught me that. And Vic if you're not willing to say, I don't like to stir the pot, right? I don't like to create the conflict. I don't like to you know, push too much or make too big deal on myself. They're going to sniff it out. You can't lead a class when you're slumped over in your chair, right? You got to do the leader. People thought you were anyway so you have to think You r1 And that reminds me I didn't I didn't ask at the beginning, Vic, what what is? What is your type? Type Nine? How long did it take you? Because you said you were listening in class? You know, the whole time, maybe maybe your body language didn't give that away. But how long? Or rather, when? Do you remember the moment where you said, Okay, this is, this is my time. Now a lot of things make sense, or was it gradual? So, again, when Susan came in and did her, her class, and she did her little thing in front of everybody, she was reading, chat, there's nine paragraphs. And it was stuck between the eight and the nine, because I know when I'm in custody, and I'm doing serving time, I have a lot more eight, right? But when she got to the nine, it was kind of scary, because it's like, well, how can she be reading something, how I feel on the inside, you know what I mean? Like, how I feel mentally he's ever thinking that I feel is different. But when she's reading this nine paragraph is like, that's what really scared the hell out of me. She's up there. And then she is like, describing me. But so I think I would, I got more of a defensive side. And I didn't want to be a nine, I want it to be that a, I want it to be that that person that everybody was afraid of, I wanted to be that person that everybody respected in the wrong way. But by the third by the third class, I couldn't, I couldn't deny it or couldn't fight in a more. It's like, okay, this is me. I need to learn to deal with these accepted. How can I work with it to where it exists in my life. So when, when it came time when you know, when you were going through the class that first time, and it came time to find out or to discuss, you know, how your how your type contributed to your incarceration? Do you remember much about that, or connecting the dots and saying, Okay, this is kind of how I've gotten to where I am right now? Well, you know, I actually did, because it's like, I was trying to figure out why, why do I not listen to myself? Why do I not listen to my gut feeling? Why do I not pay attention to myself? Why do I think that everybody else needs are more important than mine? And I just didn't have a frickin answer to that. You know, I mean, I couldn't, I couldn't just like, why that was the answer. Those, the only question I had was why. And when we started going to the Enneagram, started reading on types and actually read it at night, I understand what I mean, because I didn't, I didn't think that my self worth was worth anything. I didn't think I was important. And I didn't think me being home for myself with my family was important. I always thought that, you know, because these people needed how wamogo helped him move quick, regardless of what the cost is. And when I did that, it was like people wanted me around or, you know, they praise big, like, Hey, this is called Big, he'll do this, you can help us with this. It was just like, this one. I was stuck in a spiral I couldn't get out of. And now I know why. So. So you're going through class, Vic, that first time and when it's over with like you so you realize a lot of things about yourself about how you know that you have this thing called a Type, you know that your Type Nine, and you and you can kind of go back into the past and see how it's how it's how it's impacted your life. And this class? I think it is it fair to say that that kind of that was a was that a pivotal point for you did that did that first time going through class, impact your time, at least as if not your life, at least as you know, your time being locked up? I can tell you this. It's not only because it's not because I want to sit there and make people believe that, you know, this is the greatest thing, or that this is the most beautiful thing in the world. But I know when I took this class, and I really truly understood the Enneagram and my type and my structure, my defense mechanism. I knew like it just made my life a whole lot easier. It made my life a whole lot better. I had a lot better, a more clear understanding about other individuals and found myself and I went to tell you the truth when the class ended on a 12 week because it was a 12 week call either class. And then when the class ended the 12 weeks. I was kind of heartbroken. Like, there was something that I was going to be missing. because it's like me going through this class made my time disappear. Because during this class I was human. I was Victor. I wasn't an inmate, I wasn't worn stripes. I was looked at as an individual as a person. And that made my whole miserable 24 months in that county, just like that much better. So what comes up for you Susan? I can we can't see each other but I can hear you. Kind of makes me it kind of makes me teary because I I just think like, how can it be otherwise? How can you you're so human Vick and you so much heart. And it's tragic to be in that place and to be pinning your whole time on three hours in a week, you know, when there are all these other people around you, like I so I wish it were different. I wish the system was different. I wish I would really like to teach a class there every day and create a real community, a lot of people who remember that they're human, so that they can be that support for each other, I think that you kind of get that for one or two people in the class or maybe for most of the folks in the class. And we've been wanting to, and are poised now to do more in the jail. And the other jails, the facilities that we're into. And I think, I guess when I hear that, I just think it's so so sad. And you're such a hero to me that you held on your heart somehow. And all the stuff that's happened in your life. And just sitting you're feeling really moved, I think just really touched by what you're saying and sharing. And I forget, and until you bring bring us back to the point that this happens in jail, I forget that we're even talking about something that's going on in prison, I forget that we're talking about a guy who was locked up at the time. And to us, it's normal to think the rest of our culture, we still have this kind of weird perspective on prison. And we think that we shouldn't like guys in prison don't deserve this kind of love or care, or whatever. And, Susan, I have a good idea for what you think about that. But I want to ask Vic, like, what what do you say to people? Who, who have that mentality of, you know, if you can't do the, you know, time, don't do the crime, go to prison and just do your thing. And that's what you get people who have this mentality of, you know, you as an inmate as an ex con, you know, convicted criminal, don't deserve this kind of a program. I mean, what what do you what do you say to somebody who has that mentality? It's unfortunate that they believe that way. It's sad that they can sit here and think that individuals such as myself don't deserve a second chance in life, that we can't change. You know, when even if I see somebody appear in Prescott, and they look at me strange, and, you know, we're just sit there and talk and they have no idea what I do. And they like, pass judgment on me as like, I'm just this ex con and troublemaker. And, you know, it kind of blows their mind when I tell them Well, I work at a I'm a supervisor at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. And then I'm a housing director for a program called next step. So I oversee house managers and oversee the program. And we blows her mind when I tell him Yeah, I spent 16 years of my love behind him was and I've done a lot of bad things. But you know what, today, I'm not that person. Today, I'm the person that I truly want back then. And I want it to be in that I knew that I was. And when you know, the look on their face is priceless to me. And there's nothing I could do to describe the way they look and how fast they just stopped talking. Because you know what? before you pass judgment on me, I think you need to learn me and you need to get to know me on a more personal level in know me as a person, not for tattoos and not for the bald head not for the mustache, not my past, but for who I am now. And I don't want to just gloss over the fact that you just said that you spent 16 years behind those walls and people you know it's not like you just had a bad day and then went to prison. I mean, this was a this was an I'm not putting words in your mouth, correct me if I'm wrong But this was a lifestyle. This was not just a couple of bad choices that you made somewhere along the line. This was, this was this was the who you were as how you were living your life, right? Yeah, that was my lifestyle. And I like me. I talked to Susan about it a few times. And, you know, I tell her, you know how people usually get up and go to work and they do their life over and over again. That's how I was in prison. It was just a lifestyle. For me, it was part of my life, and you go into work, be going to prison, and me doing negative stuff was just a part of my life. I was like I was so institution. Wow. I will say I was borderline institutionalized. But somehow, someway. I broke that cycle. And I broke that way that train of thought. And, you know, I realized that no, I'm not institutionalized. And just make bad decisions. I'm curious, curious, Nick, for us, what's the definition of institutionalized? How are you borderline with what went through your head there when you're trying to define it for yourself? You know, like, institutionalized? Is this a place where I can see myself for the rest of my life? And sometimes I said, Yes. I, there was no other life that I knew. I didn't know how to live any other way. You know, I thought Nico gave hackers around me or, you know, I went to prison, like, Okay, I'm cool. You know, this is nothing right here on the golf in five years, and I'll be all right. And I was already mentally prepared myself to where it's like, you know what, nothing else matters. The outside world is gone. I knew how to cut off civilization from behind the walls. I knew how to like distance myself from relationships, and personal life than the life that I live behind the wall. And when I actually started learning about myself, I actually thought those answers like, No, this is not where I want to be for the rest of my life. This is not who I really am. And it's like, I wanted something different. I needed a model to better I wanted to break this cycle. I wanted to prove not just to myself, but to society that anybody can change. Yeah, and that's, that's a really good point to make. Because, you know, people like you people like me, you know, some are other ambassadors. We're not just like, we're not lightning in a bottle. I mean, this, this happens to other people, like people, believe it or not, people actually change. And it's just a matter of realizing, you know, what I'm tired of, I'm tired of living this same old life and getting the same old results. And, you know, I was only locked up once and that, you know, that, that that was my path, but every everybody else has, everybody has their own journey that they go down. And at some point, you just get sick of it, and you realize, you know, I have the power to, to make a change in my own life, or at least, you know, like I said, I don't want to speak for you. But I mean, is that true? Like, you have this moment where you realize, okay, I actually am in control. I'm the one doing all this stuff. You know, I, I did, I used to blame a lot of people I used to, you know, if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here. But you know what, being actually in reality, everything was made by decision and by choice. I may have been pushed or nudged in that direction. But I still knew right from wrong, I still knew if I can make the right decision or not. I just chose not to listen to Micah. And I just chose not to listen to myself. And, you know, sadly to say that it cost me my 20s and have my 30s. And it it's time that I can't, that I can't give back. But it's time that I can make you know, it's time that I can repair. Yeah, I can't get the years back, but I can repair everything that I've done. So as that first class goes on, and it was the pilot program, or the first, I think it was 12 weeks, right. So when when it gets near the end, and you mentioned being heartbroken because it was over with. But that wasn't the end of it. Right? You You were you were able to take the class the second time, right? So my first, well, yes, but before the class ended, I asked her, Are we gonna be able to come back? And she said, yeah, you graduates can come back. And I came back and I am staying for five classes because I wasn't eligible for early release. And so I want to cut you off real quick because I want to ask you, we when I talked about this last week, like I'm wondering, why would you go you know, somebody who you know, or just doesn't it doesn't make sense to them. Why would you go through a class that you've already been through once or twice or three times or four times? Like what where's the bin fit in going through this class over and over. So the benefit for me was that one, I was going to a class that I was really enjoying, you know, I actually started, like, needing to share with other individuals, not just the same 13 or 15 that were in that class. But it was like, every time we had a class, there was only three of the same guys and everybody else is new. And everybody else eras somebody different always got to get to know me on a more personal level. And, you know, there were I don't think there was an any more greater reward than to see the local and, and the way they thought about me change you know, because again, you know, a lot of people looked at me as I was this guy that was intimidating served a lot of time in prison I was very I was well known and it's kind of scares people, I guess, in a sense, and when they get to know me on a personal level, they're like, just boosted my okay, I said that just, you know, the adrenaline started pumping it was in a good way. I started becoming happy. Not always depressed. It's like life is coming, cutting back a little bit. I think that when I hear you talk about it, that when you could articulate this part of yourself that had been really even asleep to as you start waking up to it, and you start describing it, and then you see that other people also see it but you get that reflected back to you. It's like your life force comes back in you remember, each time and that telling who you really are and so much about the awareness. And so, for me this morning, it's like, every time you share it every time you say it out loud, it's like that and then the layers fall away and that's the cool thing. That's why awareness is such an enormous step is just knowing just looking and I can't change anything that we can't see and then when you speak it that's really I work around a lot of addicts all day long. You know, they'll ask me how I'm doing. I tell them to today even on my worst day, I'm good. Like I'm happy even on my worst day I'm good. Like there's nothing in this world that's going to defeat me more or hold me back Well, fortunately, you didn't get to take the class A sixth time because you got out Yeah, you know, and that was the life changer right there when I got out when when when you got out I know. Well, I'll just let you tell him what was it like you wake up the morning that they're gonna let you go you obviously knew about that you know in advance so when when it's time to no longer be an inmate and go back to just being Victor Soto What was that like? Walk us through what it's like to get out of jail honestly, to tell you I was scared I did all this work and you know, I didn't know what was going to be waiting for me. And then that was the scary part and if I didn't have somewhere to go I knew where I was gonna go I was an intern back in the old neighborhood do the same thing. And all this work and beliefs and it would have been for nothing and to tell you the truth walk into the gate to get out. I was shaking. I was like tearing up my mind by you know literally arguing with myself and thinking the worst things possible and then when I got to the gate I saw Susan hits you really hard take a breath pick on just for a year to feel and that with you. And a lot of people think that getting out of prison is like this joyous like very like you just run out screaming and hollering and the fear that you talk about is normal like that is it's it's it's hard to describe you know, it's a You don't know what's gonna happen, it's you get used to this environment of being an inmate and being controlled, they give you your food, they give you the place to stay. I mean, you're just kind of let out and, and all this stuff happens. And then, you know, you, when you've when you've spent a year with Susan, you know, three hours a week, and you get out, you know, people people have their families or their their homies or from the hood or whatever, and, you know, to have someone there, you know, to walk out and see Susan, like, I know. That's, that's, that's a that's a big deal. Because, you know, I think I would assume that that kind of validates that, you know, life on the outside. Like that, you know, this is a pretty good start, right? So, you know, I had, there was a couple other people there waiting for me. I didn't see them, I saw Susan, because for the first time in my life, serving time being around people, somebody did exactly with this. And, and the reason why I say it's hard to talk about is because, you know, I think and I believe I strongly believe that. Because Susan is show that saved my life. And it kept me from having to go back to a lifestyle that I hated my whole life. I think the thing that I'm feeling, when I hear you tell that story that gives that, you know, I was taking a leap of faith to for the record, I've never done that before, I haven't done that, since I may never be able to do that again. And I don't think I knew quite how at risk you were, because I know you're a survivor. And will neither one of us will ever know if that's true that I saved your life or that you've been back in prison, who knows, you learned a lot of things, but what I knew is that you are a good risk, and you are worth it. And I have never looked back at that decision with anything but a lot of appreciation and affirmations was a good move for both of us. And from there, you know, you were out for a week and went and saw some family and you hung out with my family. And then you got on a plane, and you went to Arizona, and your life is just I mean, it's been like one step after the next each time, you just keep making a more positive move, and you have more and more uncertainty that comes with each part. But it's it seems to me like if it's like if we slow it down, and we look back, it all started back with you making a decision to sit up in your chair, making a decision to put up your head, making a decision to choose your type, making a decision to take the 12 weeks and ask can I take it again, I mean, I really think there's such a benefit to starting on the inside, literally. And starting on the inside of it is because it's like you honestly again, this is not just because it's you but you know you are the first person to go inside. And truly care about the individual that was sitting behind those stripes or that number. You went there and you truly care about what you were doing. You didn't have any ulterior motives YOU DIDN'T YOU and none of that it and you care about us as people and you talk to us like we were people and you were the first and structure I have ever seen in my entire criminal history and do that. A lot of people go in there and teachers because they want a paycheck or because it's a money thing. And it's their job to do it. And it makes life miserable for us that have to sit on the other end in here. But when you walked in and you would teach in your class, you are compassionate and genuine and you are loving and we don't see that family and we see that I was drawn to that like you know I was human. Yeah. And I can really hear you coming into contact with that over and over again in this conversation. Shouldn't you touch that part of you that remembers over and over again, like, I'm human, I'm worth it. And I've seen your Facebook posts, I hear you say this, I heard you at the microphone and you were just remember, and it is. So healing every time we get to bring you back inside that we haven't even gotten to see the impact of that yet. Impact of somebody who has also been labeled institutionalized or a bad guy or con ex con, and that you get to come back and what is the risk response going to be when you are the teachers? That part? I can hardly wait. It's a mixture. It's a mixture of excitement and terror, frankly. When we went to went to San Mateo, I had a motional, I was having emotional problems. Yeah, because I think I was too fresh. And I think it was only out a couple months. And to go through their little, you know, thing about showing us with the jail and how they are in knowing both sides. Yeah, really got me emotional, like my most of the run wild, I was really mad. But, you know, after we talked to the guys, it was, it was great, because like the look on their faces, and how interested they were to hear things. And, you know, I know I'm ready. And I know I can go on there without being emotionally disrupted, as far as anger and animosity and knowing that these guards are full of the wrong way administration wants to sugarcoat stuff. But you know, at the end of the day, I'm not going there for the cards or administration, I'm going to geysers up on the walls, and, and they need that support, just like I needed. And so I would say, I would just interrupt for a second big and say like, I It's not that I I agree with you almost, it's not that I think that you'd you'd come back and you wouldn't ever get triggered or feel angry again, like come on, look at that environment, and look how long you've lived in that, of course, you're going to feel those things. But what I do really trust and see in you is such a groundedness and such a care about you and yourself and a way to self regulate. And that just means that when you feel these emotions coming up, you can remember who you are enough to take a breath and remember to come back instead of being all the way. I mean, like, of course I'm gonna have to feel something. But maybe I should have said a different that I'm not gonna let it get the best I do. And I do know how to get grounded and stay with you. And I know that accepting be okay with you. And, you know, again, what helps me is that knowing that these guys deserve support, in the second chance or third chance, whatever the case may be, it doesn't matter who you are, where you can, which doesn't. Everybody deserves a shot to change, and everybody has that right? To be heard, or to have that support. And I firmly believe that now and i There's no other way that I think about it. Again, it doesn't matter what you've done in your life, if you need support, you need someone to talk to I'm here. And I'm not going to turn my back like I used to or not pay attention to where I think people need that support. You know, no matter what time it is what pays may be, no, it's I love being supportive with people, I love hearing people's stories, I like being there as their, their foundation to lean against it, it feels great to have somebody combining me to hear me out. And we'd be able to guide them in the right direction or point them in the right direction for them. So we have a few more minutes, and then we'll wrap up but we've you know, we you have a role now, Vic, where you're, you're pretty public, like your people know who you are, right? And we get to kind of go tell our stories and, and all this really cool stuff. And we talked about we talked about our trip to Denmark and Finland a couple weeks ago. And I was wondering what that was what was that like traveling to the other side of the world and talking about you know, your your criminal history and and basically having this conversation and in a culture where you've never been before you know when we first got there I guess you could say it was surreal. I didn't like I knew I was there but I didn't know if I was really there. And because I'm The first I've never been out of the country before, you know, my first place was Denmark. It was, like, I still couldn't believe I was there, you know, the life that I lived in have promises of going out of the country and getting a passport was like, no, okay, you know, that was just something that I never put any thought to. But I'm going to Denmark in meeting the people that were there, and just the people that already knew me without me knowing them. It was like, you know, to see the effect that I had or that you had or there Marcus had, I can't, there was no greater feeling like these people really cared to see people cry at most, and because of our stories, and what we're doing now. And it's all because of Enneagram. And it's, and it was I still think about it, like I'm not even back yet. You know, the people that that were there were just, I can't even explain it. They were just so downloaded. They were cool. They were understanding, and they were just as psyched about Enneagram is anybody else that I knew. And these are people that live in society, this isn't people that downtime, this is people that that are out here and civilization, just to see that there is this community that cares deeply about us, for us, and not even know us is it's to me was a lot harder. When when people you know, because a lot of people come chat with us and you know, ask us questions and all that good stuff. What is? What is the most what is the thing that people want to know? The most when people come? They give you a hug, they tell you, thank you for coming. And, you know, that's, I wouldn't call it routine, because it's always really cool. But what's the thing that you think people want to know about the most? Is it okay? If they give me? No. They asked me that. Is it okay? And the answer is yes, by the way, right? Makes a great hunger. I have a hook yet. They put their hand, they put their hand up to me. I don't give handshakes, I give hooks. Yeah, Vic doesn't give you a hug. He doesn't just like hug your body, he hugs your whole life. And, you know, a lot of people want to know, like, how do I deal with I don't want to deal with life today. You know, as I like, before, I was very uncomfortable with just living a simple life and living life on life's terms. And how I do live is accepting that life is going to be okay, no matter how little or how much I have been that I don't need instant gratification in my life. You know, I surround myself with addicts, in a PC, just every, it's a reminder for me every day of where I've come from and what I'm doing today. And being able to be in this environment that I'm in today and helping people is what keeps me going. And that's how I deal with it. I'm very open with people. People want to know my past things that I've done. And I have no problem telling you. I want you to know everything about me. I don't know, there'd be no surprises. Why didn't know you did this? Well, here. Let me go ahead and tell you what I've done. And let me tell you where I've been employment day. And you know, sometimes they asked me for my phone number because they want to hear my life story. And I give them my number and I'm more than or give them a card. And I'm more than happy to tell anybody my love story. Because I want people to be a part of my life as much as I want to be part of theirs. I wish we could talk forever. I really it's we've been talking for an hour now. And I feel like we're just just getting going. So I'm really happy that she joined us this week, Vic and I know we're going to do it again. And you know Susan, I feel like I kind of hugged the whole conversation. I feel like yeah, I was just asking questions all the time. So sorry. I love it. Very, very moving on this and I'm so proud of you, Vic and proud of you clay and proud of us and what we're putting together it feels really like feels like sacred work. Just a mess over here. I'm glad you were talking. Just keep getting all teary and really love you guys. And I love getting to talk about what we're doing and I hope that we just get to do more and more next piece that big week. will tell you more about that next episode. For more information about EPP, please visit Enneagram prison project.org We appreciate your time and attention today. Stay tuned for future episodes of the podcast which you can expect on the first Tuesday of every month as we continue to tell the story of the Enneagram Prison Project