I can think of times when nothing seemed to matter. Times when I didn’t care at all. Moments when I had run out of hope, or answers, and there was nothing, nothing left to give or tell myself. I can think of times in my life where all I wanted to do was run, and I can name a few times when I actually did just that. There have been moments when I couldn’t even put it in to words what I was feeling, there was nothing there. Certain times in my life when I truly felt defeated, times when I had a very lonely soul. Coming from me, a woman who at most times cares way too much, who is more optimistic than pessimistic, these feelings are very strange. This last year has been very hard, to say the least. Let me rephrase; this last year has been the most difficult year of my entire life.
I believe that everyone in life is recovering from something. I think about all the people I see on a daily basis, the people I interact with everyday at work, co-workers & customers. I think about the people I already know, and the ones whom I have yet to cross paths with and meet. I remember thinking these things when I was in prison, serving a short 6 month sentence for a probation violation. In that prison, so many women asked me, ‘So, what’s your story?’. And as I chose my words very carefully, what to share and what to keep to myself, I thought about how each person in that prison has a story. How many walks of life did just the inside of that women’s prison see? Hundreds of thousands over the years. And mine? Mine was just one. Just one life story. And for all of the things that I have been through, just me, it makes me realize that when I feel like whatever I’m going through is so huge, so monumental, so bad that it can’t possibly be fixed, that I’m also just one soul in a world with over 6 billion souls, all going through something, all recovering from something.
When my soul was at its loneliest, I had to look myself in the eye and ask myself why. I was the only one who knew the answer. Ultimately, I was the only reason it was there, in that lonely place. Sure, there are outside influences, but the most beautiful gift we are all given, yes, all of us, is free will. The ability to choose, the right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. And when I came to be truthful with the choices I have made, only then did I get the answers I was looking for. Only then could I tell myself, this is why your soul is lonely today. Self-realization can be a very scary thing. For me personally, in the times when I knew, when I truly knew deep down, no arguments, if’s, and’s, or but’s, that I was not living the right way, those were the most hard of times. The times when I struggled the most, and in those struggles, I would cry a little and ask myself, ‘why can’t I find happiness today,’ but I always knew the answer. I was not being honest with myself. Denial has made quite the example of me. Denial was one of my biggest falls, but, denial lead me to places that I never thought I’d ever see! I grew up well. Very lucky, had great parents and family, I’m educated, college graduate and I’ve done some very cool things with my life. But life doesn’t discriminate. I was never too good for the inside of a prison, my denial taught me that, as it welcomed me through the door. I could be negative about all of this, but I think that prison saved my life.
For the first time, in a really long time, I was given the time to think. Everyday, the blinding whiteness of the cinderblock walls would tell me, ‘this is not where you belong, but it’s where you need to wake up.’ I learned daily survival, and not letting anyone treat me like a door mat. Everything I thought about, wrote about, and the things I chose to speak about with others had meaning. And slowly, even in the inside of a level 5, maximum security prison, I began to wake up. I began to feel alive again. I started to nourish my tender, lonely soul, who I had been the most destructive, the most abusive to… me.
No matter what I was going through, my mind was always free. This is something I told myself everyday. The hardest thing that I came to realize, was the wonderful life that I took for granted, the things I have always had. From the inside, you would give anything, anything just to go back to the life you had! I remember feeling so ‘not-my-self’ anymore, and this was on the outside. The lesson came from on the inside and that was how badly I wanted to get back to the very life I had. Those 6 months flew by but I will never, ever, forget the things I learned inside those gates. I will never forget the hard days, the up’s and the down’s, the beating myself up, and breaking myself down, all to come out a ‘corrected’ person, who could appreciate the gifts and virtues that I have been given in my life. Of course, there was the one thing that I probably will never understand. And that is why my brother was taken from me, just two weeks from the day I was free… this is something I battle with everyday. There has to be a reason, why I was there when my brother was killed. There must be a reason beyond my understanding, because I do not understand it at all. I suffered the greatest loss of my life from inside that prison. That day haunts my mind, my dreams, my everyday life. The very moment I heard the words, the moment I collapsed and fell to the floor, to when my tears ran dry, as I had cried them all. Why this had to happen, I seek this lesson, and I always will until the day comes when I know.
I have written about hero’s, and how perfection is unrealistic. I have written about controversy and complications of the world. But through all of this, I look at the world and I see things that are so beautiful, I can’t put my appreciation in to words. I have learned to appreciate my lonely soul. When ever I feel it’s presence, I step into my spirit, and seek to find what it is that my soul is trying to tell me. I soak up the elements around me, because the air, the sky, the clouds and the stars are all placed in front of me, in the moments that they are, and I am meant to see…
Where ever you are, that is exactly where you are supposed to be. Nothing stays the same forever. Everyone’s path, everyone’s life is so very special to them, and different from yours, cherish that. You have a life, a path and a purpose. Fate can lead us, and karma can shape us, but ultimately, you are where you are for a reason, what can you see for yourself today? These are just my beliefs. These are some of the things that I have learned and through them, I am a much wiser woman today. Thanks to my entire past, thanks to prison, and thanks to my sometimes lonely soul. As for my brother, I know that I will get to see him again someday… just not today… my time here is not yet finished.
~ Jen 🙂