DSC00058Last week I had to meet with an officer in the Lieutenant’s office.  He told me that I reminded him of Goldie Hawn in a movie called, “Private Benjamin”.

He said, ” If you had blond hair, you would be a dead ringer for Goldie Hawn. You’re oblivious to the fact that you’re in prison. You’re still nice and act like you belong in here, you better toughen up.”

He asked me what I would do if he stole my cup right now? I said, “I would buy a new cup.” He laughed and said, “You have to adapt Louder, you’re in prison now you need to defend yourself.”

I told him that I wake up every day quite certain that I’m in prison. I said, “One of the things I was the most concerned about coming to prison was becoming jaded and losing the good inside of me. Having a few things stolen or someone take advantage of me isn’t a big concern, I just want to leave here happy and healthy.” He laughed and said, “Good luck.”

The next day I had to go to the Lieutenant’s office again.  As I walked out an inmate said, “You gettin’ awfully comfortable in the Lieutenants office”.  “What’s up Red?” I responded. She started in on me about my blog saying, “I been trying to get with you to partner up on your blog for months now and you just blow me off. I have all the dirt on this place and could blow them out of the water.  Instead you’re friendly with the cops and makin’ enemies all over the compound.” I said, ” I’m not too worried about enemies if you’re talking about the Armenian or Mama Dukes.” She said, “You should be worried, you in prison now. The Armenian got a lot of money and she got a long reach, she can get to people on the outside.” I looked at her very seriously and said, “So she threatened my family?” She started whaling, “You done twisted my words, you an undercover cop aint you? I knew it” I smiled at her and winked then walked away. Just another day in paradise:)

There are many women who come to Prison broken and rather than look inward (upward) and try to live the best life they can they turn to relationships, sex and other unhealthy behaviors to fill their emptiness. Today I met a women walking on the track who seemed to have it all. She is educated, attractive and quite well spoken. She is married and her husband comes to visit faithfully every weekend yet she was out on the track hollering to her girlfriend who just beat her up? I believe everything I do good or bad affects my family, so I focus on myself and work hard at living right each day. I have talked to women who feel that they will just live it up while they are in Prison and get healthy when they get home. One woman recently told me, “I planned on getting it together when I thought I would only have to serve 3 months, when I found out I had to do a year I thought, “I’m going to get myself a girlfriend and drink some hooch!” I see it much differently, the only thing I can do for my children right now is live a healthy life. That motivates me to stay on track.

So much of life is spent trying to avoid pain, but pain can be cleansing and walking through it is empowering. We grow when we suffer and we come out happier on the other side. My main focus and purpose in prison is to have a positive influence on my children. In some ways it’s easier to focus on myself than it’s ever been and I know that when I rise above my weaknesses it blesses myself and them.  One of the valuable things that I have learned  here are to slow down! I moved too fast in the free world and didn’t take the time to be still and know my God like I do now. I enjoy the sunrise and sunset in a very spiritual way now. Also, I have learned how important it is to associate with good people, for several reasons. First spiritually, you have to value yourself and your spirit more than anything else. Secondly, legally. There are more people serving a prison sentence for conspiracy than anything else. So many women in here were in the wrong place at the wrong time or associating with the wrong person and got caught up in a legal nightmare. Some of the charges I see in here are outrageous! I find it ironic that the feds (namely prosecutors, lawyers and judges) conspire with each other daily but use the word conspiracy as a way to charge someone without having to prove their guilt. So many of the laws designed to stop organized crime are now used to ensnare the average person and I think it’s an abuse of power. When my charges were read I sounded like the leader of a major crime organization:) Leader Organizer, wire fraud, mail fraud, sophisticated means all work as their weapons of choice.

On a positive note, I am teaching my first Photography class next Saturday! I have worked hard on my curriculum and lesson plans and plan to rock Dublin FCI and inspire my fellow inmates. I’m so excited! I will keep you all posted. I also wanted to reach out and thank so many people for reading and commenting on my blog. It has carried me through a very traumatic first 6 months away from my family. Feeling the connection to you all and your love, has been vital for me. Thank you so much Jan Irwin, your heart felt message came at just the right time. So many people have reached out to us wanting to know how they can help, I have prayed about it and this is what I feel inspired to say. The most powerful thing you can do for us at this time is share our blog and our story with others. It is my hope and prayer that it will reach the right people or person and make a difference in some way. It helps to find purpose in our pain and suffering and it is my hope that rising above some of the injustice we have been through will make a difference not just in our lives but in the lives of others.

Thank you