GOING HARD AGAINST THE GRAIN
By Edwin Rubis
Currently serving a 40-year federal sentence for a nonviolent marijuana conspiracy offense
There are many ways to describe what going hard means: from an athletic viewpoint, from a profession or vocation, to a goal you’ve set for yourself, or from just merely wanting to be your best physically, mentally, or spiritually.
But for those who are in confinement – like myself – trying to regain physical freedom from an unjust prison sentence, going hard can mean the difference between life and death, between leading a life of depressive hopelessness and a life of optimism believing that your situation can change in the blink of an eye – if you decide not give up in the process.
When I first entered federal prison more than 23 years ago, I was disillusioned, angry, and bitter. I couldn’t mentally process the fact that I was to serve 40 years merely because others had said I sold marijuana with them.
Yet in spite of all the negative emotions (and the psychological torture I was to endure for years to come), I chose not only to go hard but hard against the grain.
I chose to work a prison job that paid cents on the dollar until I earned my two-year dental apprenticeship; I chose to do without with the little money I received from my family so I could buy college books to obtain my first two college degrees; I chose to write two books (which aren’t published yet) believing they’ll eventually help others; I chose to file appeal after legal appeal without encountering success; I chose to write over 400 letters to prison reform organizations asking for help without receiving one single response; I chose to have my family write 1000 letters to members of congress only to be told to hire an attorney; I chose to keep going even when my wife left me and I lost my children; I chose to keep on praying and praying until God healed me when I was dying from a medical ailment.
For you see, I have no choice in the matter. I have to continue to go hard against the grain in order to keep my hope and faith alive; with a tireless resilience and determination and courage to fight back against the emotional turmoil and psychological torture I endure on a daily basis.
For my freedom depends on it.
I have to keep on moving forward against all odds, refusing to accept I’m just another number lost in the belly of the beast.
For I firmly believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel, a good ending to my life story. Even when every single effort to obtain my freedom is proving fruitless, even when friends have jumped ship, even when the ones I thought cared have let me down, even when no one believes in my efforts to be a better human being.
I refuse to be a victim. I rather choose to be a warrior in the face of adversity and pain.
And since this is the card I’ve been dealt, I shall continue on knocking on heaven’s door for a miracle. I shall continue facing every denial, every setback, every failure, as a life challenge to be more resilient in what I’m trying to accomplish. Which is my physical freedom. I shall continue on, going hard against the grain, until my redemption finds its day.
With this being said, what about you? What makes you resilient? What makes you go hard against the grain? What makes you swim up the river?
Edwin Rubis is serving a 40-year sentence for a non-violent marijuana offense. You can help advocate for his release by sharing this story on social media, by writing your legislators, tweeting President Biden, and using the hashtag #freeedwinrubis
If you’d like to write to Edwin:
Edwin Rubis # 79282-079
Talladega, AL 35160