A Little Honesty
I first want to apologize for not writing anyone in a long, long time. The reason I haven’t is because I’ve been feeling down for the last couple of months. I know some of my past stories may have seemed lighthearted or even comical, but I figured I would tell the truth to what really happens in here and my feelings about this experience.
When I first came to prison 16 months ago, everything was new. Everyday I was encountering new people, policies and adjusting to being an inmate in prison. Now that all the “training” and newness has worn off, I have begun to see the layers of this onion peel away, exposing the ugliness of prison. Now I encounter the same people, food, views, smells, (there are not many pleasant smells) and routine day in and day out. Sure we have the occasional shakes, lockdowns and daily dramas, but it is just the same ‘ol things, just a different day. These things are constant reminders that I am in prison and this is my home for the next 4 ½ years.
The longer you are here; you start to really see people’s true selves. There is that old saying, “one bad apple spoils the bunch”, or should I say for prison standards that “hundreds of bad apples ruin it for the decent apples”. I see the coming and going of the same women who just won’t or cannot escape the system.
It angers and saddens me to see women come in only to turn around and return multiple times. Most of these women don’t even have an 8th grade education, let alone a GED or higher. They usually do not try to educate themselves while they are incarcerated and when all they have here is time. I wonder how are they going to survive without even a GED?
Just recently a woman returned to the yard, she had been out of prison for a few months. She openly bragged about selling and doing “dope” as soon as she was released! To make matters worse she did not even seem upset to be back here and her old friends welcomed her back with open arms!? I have seen this same situation many times and I am still dumbfounded and perplexed each and every time I see it.
The reason I have been feeling down lately is that I feel so alone in this place. I know it probably sounds strange to say I feel alone when I in fact am NEVER alone. I share a cell with someone, work with others, share my meals with others and usually when I am on the phone there are four other people standing next to me or waiting in line behind me. I find it very hard to find someone here that has common interests or similar background as I have. I feel so disconnected from who these other women are and where they came from.
When I first arrived here, I had so much compassion and understanding and wanted to help other women, but after experiencing so much deceit and ugliness from so many, it is hard to have faith in anyone anymore.
This is not the way I want to feel. I want to help these women, however it is a double edged sword. If I don’t help them then I will never know whether or not I could have made a difference in their life and helped them better themselves for their future. The opposite scenario is that I try to help and they end up being deceitful and use me. This has already been the case in a few situations with me as well as my family. This tends to leave you feeling hurt and discouraged.
Many of you might be saying, “how can she be lonely and sad, she has more support and love than any women in there”. That’s the thing; I talk to my parents daily, but for only 15 minutes on an outside payphone sometimes standing in 115 degrees and direct sun and only if we are not locked down at that time. Sure, I get visits every weekend but we sit surrounded by lots of others, it is loud, kids screaming and we sit on hard plastic chairs. We eat vending machine food, but I am grateful for that, it is much better than what we are served here at the prison. I cherish every call, visit and every piece of mail I receive. But, it’s still not easy.
I want to be able to call my mom at a moments notice just to tell her I love her or if I need to talk. I want to lounge on the couch with my family and dogs watching TV in our pajamas. I want to choose what I want to eat and when I want to eat it. I want to go to the store and pick something off of the shelf and instead of filling out a form and waiting a week to get it, if they even have it in stock. I want to take a shower in a clean bathroom and have hot water. Brush my teeth with a regular sized toothbrush and to get dressed without the fear of someone walking by my window. I want to wake up feeling rested and not achy from the terribly thin mattress I sleep on. But mainly I want to be able to hug someone when I want without the fear of getting into trouble for touching another human.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. I don’t want pity, I just want you to know how it feels after all you take for granted is taken from you. This place is not a cake walk, but it is not as bad as some prisons.
I know I will get through this a much stronger and grateful person.
I want to thank everyone who has continued to love and support me through this journey, without you this place would be….hell.
Rember please don't drink and drive...you don't want to live here
Hugs to all of you,