The Greatest Journey of My Life

I woke up today and looked out a window through metal bars, and saw a fence with razor wire around it. I am grateful that my bed is next to a window and close to a heater that keeps me cozy and warm. It’s cold outside now, the leaves on the trees have changed, and my heart has changed with them.

I spent the Summer walking around the track, and loved the feeling of the sun on my face. I went to the kitchen for lunch today, and on my way out I heard a woman say: “There goes that white lady. She’s the one did it!” In treatment, we hold each other accountable for our actions. Sometimes people aren’t receptive to that, and it can create resentments. I have decided to do it anyway because my integrity is important to me, and I want the growth and internal strength that comes when I am honest with myself and others.

I think growth is the biggest benefit of being in treatment. One of the other benefits is that we have a microwave to cook with. Women in prison are very creative, and cooking is a big deal! I have perfected the prison cake, and have been teaching the woman in my unit how to cook it.

The other day there were several women trying to make my recipe, and when I walked by the microwave I heard a woman say: “You guys ain’t got nothin’ on Ms. Louder’s cakes. She makes it happen every time. I dare any of you to go up against Ms. Louder!” Women in prison are very competitive:)

I was at rec recently when a woman I used to intimidate me said: “We are family, Ms. Louder. Not like road dogs or friends on the street. I respect you, you’re different, you’re a real friend.” I am honored to have so many friends in prison, and I haven’t had to compromise my values to have them. I think that may be why they are my friends. well and my cooking too 🙂

I was reading a book yesterday called “Elite Minds,” by Stan Beecham, and came across this passage:

“The few who pursue greatness will tell themselves the truth even though it burns down to the bone. They will tell you the truth too even though it hurts.”

Holding other people accountable for their actions in prison is hard. Taking responsibility for my past choices and actions have been painful. My excuses and victim story ran deep, but the truth is setting me free! I am responsible for my thoughts, and actions and my future is mine to decide! I sat in a process group a few days ago and felt a deep sense of gratitude as I listened to a woman share how she feels just starting treatment. I thought:

“I was alone and scared when I came to prison, and I will leave brave, courageous, and free!”

This has been the greatest journey of my life, and the best is yet to come! I thank you all for following along:)