The Lives Of Women Behind Bars (Pt.5): Of Girls & Women

It’s an everyday struggle to try to stay on the right path. A lot of people want to try to take you out of character and bring you down to their level. I personally decided that the day I got here, I would refuse to pick up new habits. I have no plans to make a career out of coming to prison. I came here to do my time, to become a better mother, sister and daughter, but most importantly a better person. There are plenty of opportunities to help us better ourselves and to help us to have a brighter future, but so many women are set in their ways. They come to prison and continue to maintain the lifestyle that they had at home, just in a more confined space.

It honestly hurts me deeply to see so many women (our queens, mothers, sisters, daughters) lost in the system. It motivates me to push to do better for myself. After I had seen some of the things that had happened in here, it changed my outlook on life, and it made me want to strive to make the most out of every day in the most positive way possible.

I recently had a woman come up to me, and she said that I was an inspiration to her. I said thank you, but why? She said, because of the time I have left, I continue to walk around with my head held high and a smile on my face. It makes her realize that she can make it through the next 11 months she has left. She mentioned how I’m always giving compliments and being polite to even the ones who don’t deserve it. She said that the way people try to antagonize me and talk about my case; I don’t entertain it or give them a second thought. She told me I give her hope and she will continue to pray for me.

It actually brought a tear to my eyes because someone noticed that I am not like the rest. I am doing my time the way I want to. I will continue to carry myself with class and self-respect. The last thing that I want is for my kids to hear that I am in here fighting, getting high, and wallowing in a depressive state. I want to show them that I am trying. I want to make them proud to call me their mom even under the circumstances. If that makes me a wimp or scared in the eyes of other inmates, then so be it.

Unfortunately not everyone takes notice of the good. There is a woman in here that has it out for me since my first day in admissions. She says very hateful, mean and vulgar things to me about my case. However, at the end of the day, I do not entertain her because I know she is battling her own problems or past and choosing to take it out on me. So instead I decided to love her until she can learn to love herself.

Time is of the essence. You can either choose to do better or you can continue to float in and out of these “revolving doors” of our prison system. I think reform is something you have to want and is all within yourself. There is nothing COs, Sgt’s, Lt’s, or warden can say or do to fix you. It is something you have to want for yourself, and deciding that, is what sets the women apart from the girls.

Here is a quote that has helped me along my way with understanding people and how their intentions differ:
“Life doesn’t give you the people you want; it gives you the people you need to help you, to love you, to leave you, to hurt you and to help you grow into the person you are meant to be.”

So all the people that have crossed my path, and will continue to come in and out through these next 14 years, will be a lesson to me. Whether it is showing me who I do not want to be or showing me how I could change for the better.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and have a nice day.

Felicia S.
Ohio Reformatory for women

Leave a Reply