Webster’s definition: The quality or state of being physically strong; the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force. Synonyms: energy, horsepower, potence. Antonyms: weakness, powerlessness.
Determined: not weak or uncertain; having a strong feeling that you are going to do something and that you will not allow anyone or anything to stop you.
Effective; producing a result that is wanted starting at a particular time.
Being incarcerated tends to change things. Some of those things even being the definition of a word.
I didn’t wake up one day and decide “I’m going to prison just to prove that I can do it” but by circumstances this is where I am. And strength is not what I would’ve used to define what I left in those moments of being sentenced and everything that has since followed that moment.
Continuance after continuance, court date after court date, dead ends with attorney after attorney. Determined or effective are not words I would’ve used to express what I was feeling. I remember feeling beaten, neglected, hurt, helpless and hopeless.
The repetitive days of no answered calls home, no mail from anyone that I believed cared about me. Waking up day in and day out knowing that my kids are sitting in a foster home with another family they don’t know. Then comes the knowledge that my spouse isn’t able to make ends meet without me. Hearing that the rent wasn’t paid, then off goes the electric and so on. As there’s only so much to sell and pawn in my home before I had to face the facts. I am losing everything, life as I’ve known it, as each day passes that I am locked up.
While trying to find acceptance and assist my family and spouse from behind bars, I learn from family that the man I dedicated over half my life to, has begun to move on with someone else. And I haven’t even been sentenced yet. None of us knew what the outcome was going to be, and yet here I was, already being disposed of.
With all this happening, my attorney brings me a life changing plea deal that rocks my world off its axis: 17 years or go to trial facing life in prison. An out date versus no out date with 3 minor children, waiting for mommy to get back home.
Why go on? What does tomorrow have in store for me? Pain, hurt, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety or more bad news. And I dig deep within myself to find that one percent of motivation to allow my feet to hit the floor when tomorrow arrives.
Only having to realize that each day, week, month and year has its own problems. Taking one day at a time. Different devils for different levels.
My oldest daughter (14) being bounced from place to place, family member to family member. No stability. No true love for her. When these guardians look at my daughter they only see a paycheck, a burden or a headache. Not the beautiful princess that I’d give my last breath to save. And yet my feet hit the floor, TOMORROW.
Me being my mother’s oldest child. Best friend once upon a time. No communication, no visits, no letters, no pictures, no help financially, mentally or emotionally. 3 years and counting and yet my feet continue to hit the floor TOMORROW.
The mental abuse that’s cast over me day in and day out behind these walls: “Child molester” “Cho-mo” “Pedophile” “Rapist” “You deserve to die”; “People are only your friend because you work at commissary or because of the food in your bag”; “You deserve to be buried under the prison”. My belongings stolen on a regular basis, the out cast, underdog. One of the most hated. Alone in a prison of 2400 women. And yet my feet always hit the floor TOMORROW.
No soap, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry soap. Clothes with holes in them. Some too small some too big, dingy or old. Shoes either falling apart or so old they smell as if they belong in the trash. Watching everyone around me receiving love and support from family and friends: commissary, food and sundry packages, shoes regularly. While me on the other hand sitting with the constant unknown of where my next necessity will come from. Having my hand forced to use rusty razors, stretched out old loofahs, holey towels and washcloths, amongst many other things like stretched out bras, panties that the waist band is partially ripped off. And yet my feet hit the floor. Tomorrow.
Finding love in such a dark hateful place, finding the will to fall in love after the betrayal, abandonment and hurt I have endured through my time. My heart no longer belongs to me but safely tucked away with my new love. Being cold at night, yearning for my loves touch, kiss, comfort, presence. Crying, wishing my love was here to catch my tears before they hit my pillow. Continuing to love and believe in my relationship with 12 years of time and distance between us. Unknowing of what will come and if my love will be waiting on the other side when my release day comes. Yet my feet still hit the floor tomorrow.
It was never a goal to come to prison and beat it. To get to the other side. The things that weren’t mentioned in the courtroom, were that no matter what happens, who leaves, who dies, who hurts, what tomorrow brings, I have to keep going, learn from it, feel it, and take the steps to reassure this is over. That I never come back.
Being strong isn’t a choice in prison. It’s the only choice. Each and every one of us is strong, if we just allow our feet to hit the floor tomorrow.
Felicia Sullivan 103547 (ORW) (OH)
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