When I was first sentenced to prison, I remember feeling as though if given the chance I would have abandoned myself. I was feeling like there was no way I could do that amount of time. It was probably the first time I could remember feeling lonely and actually being uncomfortable with it. I remember turning around to get escorted out of the court room and seeing most of my family crying and mourning as if they were at a funeral. My first reaction was to try and let them know I would be all right, that I’m still here. So as I passed by them, I said, “Why the tears? You don’t have to do any of this time.” On the inside I was sick and still have stretch marks from losing weight so fast because I was unable to eat for a couple of weeks after getting sentenced.
At the time I had honestly felt that it was going to affect only me when I was sentenced. I didn’t realize that my family would be doing time as well. My mother had a fear of driving and didn’t learn to drive until I came to prison. She would come up just about every other weekend. Everyone in the visiting room started calling her moms.
I think about my grandma and the shame she felt when she had to take off her wig in order to come see me. Then on holidays, because we can have only five visitors at a time, how my family comes up in shifts.
I must admit there are times when I still get that feeling of being alone because these wires, walls and bars are doing their job of camouflaging all the people who are with me. I will be the first to admit that I probably couldn’t have made it this far alone, and I am thankful that I didn’t have to try.