When I came to prison I was scared that I would lose the good I had left inside of me; but I didn’t know how much good I would find in prison? A few days ago a woman asked me if I would meet with her to help her figure out how to have more meaningful conversations with her children. She said: “I overheard you talking to your family, I’m not trying to be weird, but I liked the way you communicated with them and was hoping you could help me?” I agreed to meet with her, and when we got together I asked her if she would write down 10 things that she liked about herself. It took her about a half hour, but she came up with 10 things she liked. Afterward I told her that I would like to tell her 10 things that I like about her, and when we got done she said: “Thank you, this really helped me. I feel a lot better about calling my son, maybe I could even do something like this with him?” I told her that was a great idea. Then she asked me if she could tell me 10 things she liked about me. I told her ok, and she said: “I like how honest and transparent you are, and how determined you are to find solutions to your problems. I like that you are goal oriented, and have the courage to speak out. I like that you are a good communicator, and connect really well to a crowd. I like that you are good at reading a group of people, and knowing what they need to hear. I like that you are a fighter; but you don’t fight with fear you fight with opportunity.” I was so touched that someone I don’t know very well had such nice things to say to about me? I thanked her for her kindness, and after our meeting I thought: “I’m sure I benefited more from our meeting than she did; that was an awesome experience!”

There are so many things I like about prison. I don’t know where else I would get to experience so much diversity, or have the opportunity to meet people from so many different cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds? I’ve met women in prison who were raised in the projects by parents or parent teaching them how to deal drugs before they were 8 years old. I’ve met women who were used and sold as prostitutes before they were age of 12! I’ve met women in prison who work everyday in a sewing factory for less that 150 dollars a month, and still give what they have extra to those who are less fortunate than they are. I’ve met women in prison who lived on the streets and ate out of trash cans when they were only 5 years old? I’ve met women who gave their children up for adoption hoping they would have a better life than they did, and hope that one day they will find them so they know they have the life they wanted for them. Some of these women are my friends, and they comfort me when I am struggling. There is so much strength in prison!

If I wouldn’t have come to prison I may not have known that my spiritual connection to my family is stronger than any material or earthly connection, and maybe I wouldn’t have know how much Chad loves me? This separation has connected our hearts in a way that is indescribable! Before I came to prison I didn’t know what a good upbringing I had, my life experience was just too narrow? I’m learning a lot about myself in prison. Now I know that I love to write, and I’m excited by the possibility of making my experience in prison more meaningful through writing and speaking out in the future. In prison I found out that I have a gift of connecting with others in a spiritual way, and that I am able to communicate their worth in a way that enables them to see their own potential. In treatment I’m learning that my thoughts are powerful, and when I look at a situation objectively I can made better decisions. I’m learning that I have the power to re-evaluate and change my perspective, and see myself and the people around me differently. You are my friends and I wanted to share some of the things I’m learning while I’m in prison with all of you. I love you, and appreciate your support, thank you all for following along:)