I always go to rec first thing in the morning, It’s the perfect way to start my day. Earlier this week it opened an hour late and it threw me off my game.  I was standing outside waiting for an officer to open it when one of my co-workers approached me and started talking to me. I like all my co-workers, they are older than me, and I appreciate their wisdom. She commented on what a beautiful morning it was, and I agreed that it was perfect! I told her, “I need to start living my life without getting anxious when my schedule gets messed up.  I know it wont be this structured when I get home.  It helped me to have the structure, but I won’t be able to sit under a tree all day in the free world. I need to get used to finding peace in any situation.” With a smile she said, “Yes, that’s true, you need to be prepared to go home, and that could be any day.”  I told my co-worker, “When I came to prison I was dealing with some pretty serious trauma issues.” I said, “I was held down by male officers, and my clothes were ripped off of me; then I was put in a cell where male inmates could see me naked. I begged for help, but the officers just laughed. I think the structure makes me feel safe, it’s something I can count on.” She was quiet for a minute, then said, “Let me ask you a question Portia.  Do you think you have put that experience behind you?” Do you think you can trust others again?” I thought about it for a minute, and said,” I would like to think I have.”  She said, Maybe you could recognize it for what it was. Although that experience showed you your weaknesses, and vulnerabilities, it also showed you your incredible strength!”  I was surprised at how emotional I became, and felt uncomfortable with the tears that started flowing.

She reached over and gave me a hug, then said, “Portia, I feel inspired to tell you that you were never alone. You have loved ones from the other side who stood in a prayer circle with you, they are still with you. You are so loved!” I was very emotional after she shared those words with me, they were significant! She could see that I was emotional, and said, “Look at these flowers.” She pointed at a planter near by, and said, “Aren’t these flowers beautiful?” You know they have to die each year in order to be re-born. I think you could do a lot of good for others, you could tech people how they can go through their own re-birth, if you can put this behind you.” She told me, “Prison has been good for you, you have become a good writer, and you now have the opportunity to reach others in a very unique way. You are in a good place, embrace that!” I thanked her for her words, and went on my way. As I walked outside, I thought about what she said. I really thought I had made peace with what happened to me, but the emotional pain was deep, and I wasn’t sure why.” I walked to my grove of trees, and let the tears flow freely. Then I offered a prayer to my Heavenly Father. I said, “I don’t want to suffer anymore, please help me let this go.” I asked Him to take my broken heart, and mend it through the healing power of Jesus Christ. I said, “I really want to move on, but I don’t know how to do it.” I felt peace, and had the impression that I should remove the video footage of the county jail from my blog. I want to move forward! I want my blog to be a place where people will be inspired by the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity. A place where people can learn about women in prison; those who suffer, and earn their way to freedom. I want to share the story of redemption, not abuse! I don’t want to be a victim, I want to be free!

A few days later I was sitting in commissary and remembered an experience I had while I was at a detention center. After spending 10 days at Weber county jail, the US Marshals picked me up. It was their job to transport me to the facility that was designated to do my mental evaluation. Ironically, I had been driven insane in the county jail waiting to be evaluated? The Marshals took me to a detention center in Nevada, where I was held in their medical unit for about a week. Due to my severely compromised mental state, I was on constant watch while I was at the detention center. Reports say I was screaming for my children, and kept saying, “Please help me, I think I’m dead! I can hear my children’s voices, and I can’t find them.” The officer that stayed with me in the medical unit was a kind black woman, who kept trying to reassure me that I would be ok. As I sat in commissary, I vividly remembered the dream I was having at the detention center, and was surprised it was so clear. I remembered each one of my children coming into my cell; one by one they said, “Come on mom, let’s go!” I could hear Shelby coaxing the kids, she kept telling them to go back into the cell, to keep trying to get me to come out. She said, “Send CJ in, I know mom will leave if CJ goes in.” I didn’t understand the dream when I had it, but I could see now that my children were trying help me. They wanted me to leave the cell, but I wouldn’t go? I started to cry. This time the dream was different, this time little CJ came into the cell and grabbed my hand, and we walked out together. She was giggling, which is my favorite sound in the whole world! She said, “Come on mom, let’s go to the park.” My little girl and I walked out of that cell hand in hand, and we walked to the park! I felt like a child again, innocent and pure, and I knew it was over! Our Savior Jesus Christ is the great Healer, I am free!