This letter to Ross Ulbricht was written by Tatiana Moroz
I am fussing around the living room tonight admiring my handiwork. I’ve created pretty much the best birthday card I’ve ever made J It’s a vegetable cake (in case you can’t tell), since I know how much you crave good nutrition in prison. I hope it brightens up your cell and makes you smile.
When I was first asked to write you a letter publicly, I didn’t really like the idea. We have been writing each other for a while now and have become friends, so what do I do? Pick up during our last story and act like no one’s reading along? All I wanted to do was make you the cake picture, not write something to be read by others. It feels strange.
But I thought about it. I decided since I wanted to show support, and considering I have met you and all, I could use this to show people why I took so much time to make you something, and why I put so much of myself into making it. You have been an incredible friend and an inspiration, even though we have only met a few times. So on this 32nd anniversary of your life on this planet, I want to give you something back. Get ready to blush.
I remember the first time I went to the jail. I was so upset and traumatized, it took me a while to get it together. But you were cool as a cucumber, and said it was OK to feel what I was feeling. I asked you what you did when you were sad. You replied that you felt it.
This floored me.
“What do you mean, “You FELT it”!?” And you simply replied that if you were sad, you just went into your cell for a day or so and just felt what you were feeling. Who DOES that?!? I mean, sure you don’t have many places to go to escape, but still. Most people do not allow themselves to feel. In fact, if you think about it, our entire lives are made up to avoid feeling. We (the “free” ones) have built our own prisons around ourselves. What makes you different is that you have used your prison to dare greatly.
About your time there, you have said imprisonment (in general) was slow torture. After seeing it first hand, I can very much agree with you. But you also mentioned how it could be worse, that some prisons have more people sharing a cell, at least you are fed even if the food isn’t healthy at all, and other bizarrely optimistic impressions. You said that even though jail is awful, there is a lot of kindness there too.
This is one of your best qualities, your uncanny ability to see things differently. The approaches you take, and the outlooks and actions you choose are genuine and are of effortless good intention. It’s remarkable. Now, a lot of people say to look at the positive side of things, but it’s just fake. You, on the other hand, seem to truly embody this outlook and it’s hard to ever take things for granted when one knows you. I appreciate life much more, so thank you.
Another thing we’ve talked about is how you teach GED classes at the prison. I like hearing about the guys. I know you really enjoy it and so do they. You must, after all this is your third round of classes. I recently asked you if they were doing well, and upon hearing a weak reply, I suggested perhaps you could motivate them. You said “No, they are grown men and they need to motivate themselves.” You then said that that approach actually works for some of them because they realize it’s up to them to be better and to apply themselves. That sounds harsh, but it really rings true if you think about it. It’s the way that has the most long term results.
Then, the last time I visited, you asked me how I go about convincing someone of my ideas and ideals. I had a pretty decent answer, but yours was much better. In a nutshell, I said I would relate it back to their point of interest and show why their outlook was actually an incomplete view of the picture. You instead would ask them why they thought what they did, would really relate to their thinking, and would bring them to your point of view by helping them figure it out on their own. I have mentioned that to others, and learned it’s the Socratic method, but I didn’t know. I still think of it as your way, and it made me rethink my approach J
When the guard came to bring you back to your cell after our last visit, you asked me what kind act or thing would I do that day, and I said I would call my grandma. This was alright, but I do call her frequently, so it’s not that impressive. I just couldn’t think of a different thing to say on the spot. So I asked you what kind thing you would do today. You were about to reply as you walked away, but were reminded that your cookies were still on the bench. Instead of taking them yourself, you gave them to these little kids next to us, who were visiting their dad. You then went to answer my question saying you would have to think about it and you didn’t know what kind thing you would do that day. I looked at you incredulously and said, “But Ross, you DID just do something kind!” and you just shrugged it off. To me, that really illustrates further what a candidly sweet person you are.
So here you go, I am probably embarrassing you by now. But while I am really talking you up, it’s true! You deserve someone to acknowledge your accomplishments as a developed human being.
One final thing before I send this off. I thought others may get something from this. Some folks reading may not know, but I have had some major voice problems the past couple years and it’s been very difficult to not be able to express myself with music. Now, it’s been getting better, but for a while, I didn’t know if I would ever sing again. You told me (after listening to my letters expressing my devastation): “Remember Tatiana, I don’t want you to worry about your voice, or what happened with me, or with anything really. As long as we’re alive, there is reason to hope.” For someone in your position to say that, and truly mean it, how can I ever cloud my world with hopeless doubt ever again?
For this birthday and all your others Ross, I wish you hope, love and all the good things that you deserve. I hope we the people can rally together to help you make that a reality.
Today, March 27, is Ross Ulbricht’s birthday. Bitcoin.com will be posting letters from members of the Bitcoin community who want to wish Ross a happy birthday, as well as lend their moral support in his unfortunate ordeal. If you would like to help Ross, feel free to donate to his appeal fund at FreeRoss.org.
Images courtesy of Tatiana Moroz.