This week in Federal prison has been really hard for me. First, a woman I didn’t recognize come up to me on Monday and asked me if I remembered who she was. She said, “Do you remember me? I was with you on the plane to Las Vegas and the bus ride to the Nevada detention center.” I told her I didn’t remember her and asked her if she just got into the prison. She said, “No, I remember you from a couple of years ago. I was on a plane coming from Montana and we stopped in Utah to pick up some inmates, you were one of them.” When I realized she was talking about my mental evaluation I told her that I don’t remember much of that flight or the bus trip. The woman told me, “When I first saw you here I told one of my friends that you were completely crazy, that she should stay away from you.” She said, “When they put you on the plane in Utah you were drugged up or something, you were completely out of it! You kept talking to someone that wasn’t there and had a weird dazed look in your eyes.” She told me it really scared her to see someone so messed up. She said, “When we got to Las Vegas the US Marshals put you on the bus with the rest of the inmates and you started screaming for Chad. The men were in the back of the bus and they all started laughing. They told you Chad was back there with them, they told you to take your clothes off and you stood up and tried to unzip the white suit they had you in. A couple of us tried to help you but you were too far gone, you kept standing up and saying I think my name is Portia Louder can you please help me!” I have no memory of the things this woman told me, and hearing about them took me back to a time that I really struggle thinking about. The woman said, “I would never have believed you could be a normal person after the way I saw you?” I know she was trying to be helpful, and she even offered to testify on my behalf if I ever needed her to but it was painful to hear what happened. It’s easy for me to get angry when I think back to what I went through, it certainly reminds me why I’m fighting the validity of my guilty plea.

I finally got a copy of the governments response to my motion this week, I could only read about half of it before I ended up in tears. Sitting in a courtroom and listening to the prosecutor argue how unstable I was while I was being abused in a county jail and then using my instability as a reason to keep me in jail was so upsetting. Reading their version of those events in their motion is still very frustrating. My first response to the governments answer was anger. I thought, “How can they expect others to take accountability for their actions when they won’t take accountability for anything they’re responsible for?” I could go on and on about the things the government said that I disagree with, but I have had to change my thinking in order to find some peace. It’s the change of thinking that I want to focus on because it’s the only thing I can control. First of all, I don’t want to be angry any more. I’m praying to let go of the anger and resentment I have, to forgive the government for the abuse I suffered. As I prayed to let go of my pain and anger I came to a very important realization. That the only thing I can control is the way I treat others, and the way I respond to the way others treat me. As I meditated upon those thoughts I had a desire to take responsibility for my actions, to not worry about what the government has done or might do.

My first thought was that I’m very sorry I’ve been so prideful throughout this process. It’s a weakness I struggle with in a big way and I know it’s played a major part in the way my legal problems have unfolded. I’m quite certain things would have been different if I had humbled myself a long time ago. Second of all, I know I made so many mistakes! I regret getting involved in real estate, and I regret staying involved in real estate when my heart told me not to! I only have myself to blame for the mistakes I made. I had a great family, we lived in a great community, Chad had a good job, and I had a thriving photography business when I got involved in real estate. There were many reasons why I thought real estate was a good idea. A few of which were, the market was moving so fast and I didn’t want to be left behind, I worked very hard taking pictures and I could make more money faster by investing in real estate, I wanted to pay off our house and I guess I just wanted more. At my sentencing the judge told me he could only assume that it was greed that got me involved in real estate because we had a good life before this mess. I guess in a way he was right, I certainly didn’t think I was being greedy at the time, and I didn’t think I was breaking the law nor did I have any intention of breaking the law. But I wanted more than I had, and sadly I had everything that really mattered already. Being in prison has taught me how unimportant money is, actually how detrimental money can be if used improperly. I realize it will be a battle with the government to withdraw my plea. I know they think I’m guilty and I guess that justifies whatever they have to do to keep me in jail, I guess they believe the ends justify the means? But the only thing I can control in all of this is my part, to have peace I need to clean my side of the street. That’s what I’m working on doing.

My final struggle this week has been a health issue. My right leg has been hurting so bad that I can hardly walk on it.  Walking is a big part of my routine so it’s been especially discouraging as I’m trying to settle in with a new routine.  At first I thought I had a pulled muscle, but as the week progressed my leg started to swell and I’m thinking that I may have a blood clot in my leg.  Three weeks in the SHU at Dublin and then traveling to different jails puts me in a high risk category for such issues. I talked to a woman here who had blood clots in her leg shortly after she arrived over 3 years ago and according to her,  my options aren’t very good.  She told me that I would have to go to medical for a preliminary evaluation then possibly to a taken to a hospital nearby that would do an ultrasound.  If I do have a blood clot and have to be on blood thinners they would likely ship me to Carswell, Texas.  Carswell is a medical prison where many of the women are seriously ill or terminal (Mental and Physical).  I’ve also heard Carswell has a big prescription drug problem on the compound and is considered a pretty rough prison.  I really like this prison and I just got settled in, the thought of having to leave is awful! The woman that I talked to went to Carswell for 2 years because this prison can’t treat a person who needs blood thinners. She finally got off the blood thinners and came back and believes that Waseca is so much nicer.  She recommends doing whatever I can to stay.   The problem has me discouraged, so I decided to fast today in hopes that the health issue will resolve itself.  Currently I’m taking aspirin as a blood thinner and hoping for the best. Of course if things get worse or I have any signs or feelings that I need to go to medical I will, but I’m going to hope for the best.  So far I’ve had very good health in prison, an invaluable blessing! A t Dublin I would be able to get a priesthood blessing and I had a great support network built up for times of discouragement, but I’m new here and still getting my bearings:)

I want you all to know that it gives me so much comfort to be able to reach out to friends old and new through my blog.  Please know how much it means to me that you all take time out of your busy schedules to read my blog and comment. Your support in so meaningful! On my worst day this week I got a letter from a friend in Highland and a letter from one of my uncles, It was a much needed blessing. I love and appreciate you all so much! I also want to extend a special thanks to my sister Kira for her love and support of our family. Kira, you are such an amazing person, thank you sweet sister! I can’t thank you all personally, but please know that your love for our family, your kind words and prayers make such a difference in our lives. We live around the most amazing people in the world! I have friends from France to Dublin to Highland and on my travels here several of the women I had met from other facilities had heard about a blogger from Dublin and they all wished me well. I feel very loved and cared for and I have all of you to thank for that, God bless you all…..