Confessions of a Toothpaste Craftsman

Robert Woldhuis
Mar 15, 2024By Robert Woldhuis

Confessions of a Toothpaste Craftsman

Hey there, it's Robert coming at you with another episode of "Letters From Lockdown" where I share my personal reflections and experiences from my time in solitary confinement. 

In this episode, I want to take you through a letter I wrote back on December 6th, 2011, during the early days of my solitary confinement. It was a time of self-discovery and navigating the intricate politics of prison life.

Seattle Public Library
Letter from Dec. 6, 2011

As I reflected on my journey, I shared the challenges of dealing with probation discharge orders and the weight of unresolved financial obligations. It was a period of personal growth and the realization of the importance of having family support as I looked ahead to life after prison.

Finding Faith and Creativity Behind Bars

Blue glass beads rosary isolated on the dark background

Amidst the monotony of confinement, I found solace in faith and creativity. Decorating my cell with a plastic cross necklace and crafting a shelf using toothpaste showcased the resilience and resourcefulness that can bloom even in the harshest environments.

I delved into the nuances of prison life, from making a “car” out of cardboard and string to talk to others nearby,  to the necessity of routines for maintaining sanity. Physical exercise became a cornerstone of my daily life, offering a semblance of normalcy amidst the constraints of confinement.

Communication and Routine in Solitary Confinement

Seeking connection, I reached out to my dad, aiming to bridge past tensions and understand the differences in our respective prison experiences. Him working for the Department of Corrections and me being a resident there.

prison backyard

Building a routine and focusing on controllable aspects of my environment became essential for mental fortitude.

Reading "The Odyssey" and engaging in educational pursuits provided a challenge for my brain and a means of escape from the confines of my cell. Reconnecting with figures from my past, like Pete Dykema, the disciplinarian from my High School, allowed for introspection and growth as I contemplated the actions that got me expelled my senior year and how I could clean up my side of the street. 

The importance of apology and forgiveness intertwined with excerpts from Hebrews 12, emphasizing the transformative power of discipline and faith. Embracing personal responsibility and seeking reconciliation became pillars of my journey towards redemption.

text, letter

Reflecting on past mistakes and the journey towards recovery, I emphasized the healing power of forgiveness and self-reflection. Apologizing and seeking closure, both internally and externally, proved crucial for personal growth and healing.

Finding Strength in Faith During Hard Times

As I close another episode of Letters From Lockdown, I highlight the introspective nature of isolation and the potential for growth it offers. Through sharing my experiences, I aim to inspire hope and resilience in others facing challenging circumstances.

In wrapping up, I am grateful for the support and engagement from everyone as I stepped out on this storytelling journey. The overwhelming response reinforced my commitment to sharing stories of resilience and redemption, offering hope in the darkest of times.

I invite you to join me on this continued journey through "Letters From Lockdown" as we navigate the complexities of confinement, seek moments of inspiration, and embrace the power of storytelling in the face of adversity.

Be blessed, and be a blessing wherever you are at.