Self Inflicted Lock-Up ~ Tryst Journal

Self Inflicted Lock-Up
A Free Write ~ Tryst Journal
We spend our whole lives, trying to figure out the meaning to life. Waking up, each day, putting one step in front of the other, constantly moving forward. Each moment, consciously aware that we are alive. What is my purpose? What is the meaning of my existence? Why am I here? Where am I going?
Questions like this circulate constantly in my mind, every single day. When I was younger, I was very conscious of these wonderings, these thoughts, but my mind was still very young. My mind was very unexperienced to the ways of the world. I was trying to grow, and fit in, not only to the world and its social elements, but also trying to fit into my mind… my spirit. What did my spirit want? What felt right? What brought me happiness, or sadness? Also, at that young age, I was thinking about growing up, and what I wanted to, and could do, to be an adult. How was I going to take care of myself.
It’s such a paradox, that we want so badly to grow up and have the freedoms of an adult. Then, when we reach adulthood, we do what we need to do to survive, but in the process, every year that passes by, the questions still remain, very much alive and unanswered… what is the meaning of my life? Who am I really? What am I supposed to do?
I find myself in moments of unhappiness. I know I feel the unhappiness. I know what I want to make me happy. So, why am I even fighting it? If I know the answer to something, where is the action towards obtaining it?
I lose hope because what I want is not something that I can just go out and get. I can’t buy it in one second and begin enjoying it the next minute. Things aren’t always obtainable like that. Things aren’t always in arms reach.
I think that when I feel the most defeated and render myself stuck, in life, at a standstill, pondering the sadness, the unsatisfactory, picking apart the continuing questions, I get a real sense of hopelessness. I feel overwhelmed. I am standing there, looking at the whole picture, saying I want this and this and that, and I have none of that at all right now. I find myself saying that I’ll never get there, or be able to have all those things.
Starting at square one is a start. But it is a step that must be taken. Like growing up. Growing up doesn’t happen in one day. It is a process, a gradual, day by day, sequence of time that we never get a break from. Time never stops. So, when I feel like I’m standing at a wall, going nowhere, the whole world is still going on and moving around me. So why, how even, am I so stuck?
My life doesn’t get to stop while everyone else keeps going. Yet, there are ways to paralyze yourself. There are ways that I have stopped my life. And when I define these moments, it’s what I call a waste of time.
Wasting time is when I find myself, moving, but not moving forward. This is my genre of depression. The depression that I have invited into my life is just this: the feelings of overwhelming doubt put me into a conscious state of living paralysis. I somehow, lock myself up behind self-inflicted bars that aren’t really there. I cry feeling the sadness of being stuck, but I am feeling this way because I have allowed my life to invite this reality. I allowed it. I have a choice not to be stuck.
So, why am I so stuck?
J. Lefever
This free write was written in the space of the last few days… or so… just some babble, I thought I’d post in my Tryst Journal…
©Think. Speak. Tryst. Publication

The City

The City

A Piece from the Inside



Tryin’ to walk on water

Becoming that much stronger

The streets are destroying my mind…

Visions of bad wishes,

Is all that I find…


Take my hand

I will set you free

So the blackness says to me


Shaken in the bridge that I stand upon

Fear is the reality that I run from

Ghetto metropolis, I ask in need

Like the stranger on the bus, who

Has nothing to eat

Stand with your hand out and see

If the city feeds you


City has nothing for me


~~ J. Lefever ~~



I haven’t written a piece for the Heroin Journals in a while.

This piece is not something I wrote today, however, but it is one of my favorites.

I wrote this from the inside. About a year ago…



 ©Think. Speak. Tryst. Publication

Moment of Choice




Moment of Choice


The day you decide

The moment you make the choice

You put into action

And you suddenly have a voice

 See I was not

Taken seriously

I did not represent

The real me

I could say this

And I could say that

But nothing was tangible

While I was on smack

So, once I chose

To sing a different song

Is when my voice

Finally felt it belong

I want the ‘Me’ back

I want to make shit mine

I have survived it all

I have even served some time

I was so blind

To the fact I had a choice

It took the loss of everything

For me to find my own voice


~~ J. Lefever ~~







All of us stand divided

Yet we stand as one

Hope to walk united

At war until it’s done

Many of us have fire

We are strapped & armed with steel

Our strength takes us higher

But to be true, now that shit is real


– J Lefever

(Incarcerated in 2012)

Laced with Faith


Laced with Faith


And in a moment

My heart felt content

My eyes were open

My past I repent

I can face it now

With arms open wide

Facing my fears

I no longer hide

I went through my past

Not believing in you

I thought I was alone

But I had you too

I feel your presence

Building strength in my mistakes

And now I’m a spirit

That is laced with faith

Incredible you

How you have shown me

I’ve never been alone

And I’ve always been free


~ J. Lefever


 I wrote this piece and was inspired to write more on faith.

I sat down and wrote Fallen From Grace

I read ‘Fallen’ to some of the others on the inside with me. ‘Fallen from

Grace’ was one of my most requested pieces to read.

Serving Life in My Mind



I thought I was dead

And forgotten and blind

A shadow in the world

Lost in my own mind

I’d carry about

I’d push on through

I thought I was cleaver

And that no one knew

That I was broken

I was numb inside

I was dying a prisoner

Of my own wicked mind

How and when did I

Become like this

Memories of a life

Of me that I miss

Only to stop looking

In the mirror

Reflection of all

That I now see clearer

A vision of me

Not lost anymore

A vision outside

My wicked mind’s door

I’m always and forever serving life in my mind

But pure and strong I will never rewind.


~ J. Lefever


Free For The Moment




It’s as blue as you can imagine

If you close your eyes and think of the sea…

The sky that is…

I stand alone at a window

Looking through bars of steel

I almost feel alive,

Almost real…

I think of all of them

Running from their own shadows

Inside the prison of their very own lives…

And in a prison I sit

But I’m so free for the moment.

Finally I can think,

And the words start to flow,

Like the busy of the traffic on that far off road…

And I am free at last,

Tossed my sins to the depths

of the deepest sea,

I got a reason today…

To be me…

At a window, behind bars,

Yet I’m still free…


~ J. Lefever


Breaking the Chains


When I found myself stripped of all my possessions, my freedom, even my identity, it was a very humbling experience. In a nut-shell, I have had a very good life. I have had a very fortunate life, extra-ordinary some might say. But I am also a recovering addict. My addiction finally got the best of me and brought me to my ‘rock-bottom’, as they say, in a quick six to eight months. Yes, I somehow was a functioning addict for about a decade where I worked, graduated college, travelled, was featured as an extra in three films, studied dance & Ballet, yoga and snowboarding, as well as writing for mostly my whole life. I had all of these things going on in life, I was actually alive, and living my life, seeking out new things, yet, all the while my addiction visited me on the side. My addiction was never my number one priority, until a combination of divorce/trauma/opiates entered my life all at the same time. Before this equation my life was also legally undisturbed.

When I was a functioning addict, I hated the fact that I had this ‘dual’ lifestyle. During the day, when I was working, or out with friends, or in class at the University of Utah, or doing things that I love/enjoy doing, I was a normal citizen just like everyone else. On my college campus, I went to class, drank cappuccino and pounded away on my laptop in the student center or cafe. On the outside, I was just fine. But with the ‘duel’ lifestyle comes the darkness that we face, feel and fear on the inside. And in that darkness, is where my addiction has lived for many many years. In all my years of studying and learning about the disease of addiction, I can comfortably say that all addicts have this darkness, whether it’s a little bit or a whole lot, darkness comes with addiction. The darkness is the part that I didn’t want anyone to see. It was my weakness. My inability to have self-control. It was my inner critic, my inner bully and my inner enemy. It was the other side of the ‘happy-functioning-woman’ that was me in the light of day, it was my dark-soul’s sadness that fought this addiction, that hated myself for having the addiction, that hated the addiction, but in the same day, would turn around and feed that addiction. I hated this part of me…

In the midst of my downward spiral, the darkness in my soul took over me. It became more of me than any sort of light that I had left. And in this time and space, I was a prisoner of my own mind. When things got really bad and I reached a point where I stole to support my habit, after the loss of my job, I was so blinded by this darkness that I had lost all sense of hope and of happiness. Those things were a figment of my imagination. I felt completely helpless and I had no idea how to pull myself back up, out of this dark place. I had no clue where I was ever going to find the strength to be me again. After about six months of living this way, I felt like I had completely forgotten who I was. I had lost myself in the dark abyss of addiction.

As a result of my actions and very bad choices, I woke up in prison. I was given a short sentence, compared to some, but it felt like an eternity to me… someone who has always been free to do what I want. There I was. Stripped of my identity, I had nothing left. I had nowhere to go. It was in those moments when I found my clarity, my strength, I began to find myself again. Instead of making excuses, I told the truth. And in those truths, the freedom came. I began to break the chains that I had carelessly placed on my soul, the chains that kept me down in the dark for so long, the chains that were heavy and painful, the chains that I hated. I began, inside of that prison, to feel free again for the first time in almost a year… a very long and painful year… the year that was the conclusion to the divorce/trauma, any of the reasons that I used to justify why I was feeding an addiction that I hated, and killing myself each and every day.

imagesCAVFA3CM …why was I giving all my strength to something in which I wanted to be free from?

Inside those walls, behind the gates and barb-wire fences, I began to give my strength to myself. I was cleansing myself of the toxins and the poisons in which I carelessly put in, and I was healing. You could see my eyes again, they were clear and bright. My soul was waking up after a long time being lost in the darkness.

imagesCA1I708Q Forgiveness starts from within…

I guess my point here is this, even in the most terrible of circumstances, like losing everything and rendering yourself in prison, you can still find things to be grateful for. Like me, I was grateful for another chance, an opportunity to ‘correct’ myself. A place to find myself again and start back on the path that I once was on… Living my life. I was humbled more than I can try to explain. I learned the meaning of self-love again, and I felt the concequences of not loving my own soul. I understood the meaning of having nothing. This was one of the greatest lessons I learned, among many others. Forgiveness had to take place in order for me to ‘feel free’ inside that place. Forgiveness was the key ingredient in breaking the chains on my soul. Today is the first day of the rest of my life… let’s see where it will take me…

That’s all for now…

~ Jen

lonely soul

imagesCAFU8RPO  lonely soul…

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.

j   when my mind was truly free…

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.

59954238760080174_Vpdq3yRW_b   yes, it really is…

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 🙂


images0  Illusions…

Sometimes the things we think we are seeing are just illusions playing with our minds. Like the act of being happy all the time, or a smile that is covering up what we are really feeling. Illusions. They are all around us. Have you ever been told that you are only hearing what you want to hear? Sometimes my mind can pick out only the things in a conversation that I want to hear, making the situation go my way, or exaggerating the emotional feelings that are present in the conversation.

What is an illusion really?…

The belief that everything is what it appears to be is just that, a belief. Illusions are a deceptive appearance or impression, something that deceives by producing a false perception or belief, or a misleading impression of reality.

Illusions play tricks on our perception and our sensations. Inside all living things, there are cells called sensory receptors. They can detect light, sound, temperature, pressure, odor, taste, pain, pressure, balance, etc. Most of these receptors are on or near the surface of the body such as our eyes, ears, tongue, etc., but some are internal. Thus, we sometimes experience a sense of pain with a toothache, headache, stomach-ache, etc.

imagesCAI4QATF  Each sensory receptor detects its own form of energy and transmits a signal to the brain. The reception of the signal in the brain represents sensation. How the brain interprets these signals and makes them meaningful is called perception. Sometimes the interpretation of the energy received is consistent, but other times our interpretation is incorrect. Scientifically speaking, these misinterpretations are called illusions. When we witness an illusion, we perceive something that does not correspond to what is actually there… to what really exists in the real world. Illusions fool us. They convince us of things that are not true.

Illusions are different from both hallucinations and delusions. Illusions are misperceptions that are perceived by most people, and are based on a specific stimulus received under certain conditions. Hallucinations are usually seen by only one individual. Hallucinations are false perceptions that occur in the absence of appropriate external stimuli, whereas illusions are misinterpretations of external stimuli that are, in fact, present. Delusions are different from both illusions and hallucinations. They are beliefs, not perceptions. A person may have delusions of grandeur (believing that he or she is a very important or famous person) or delusions of persecution (believing someone or something is out to harm them) when the facts clearly do not support these beliefs. Hallucinations and delusions are most commonly found in those who are mentally ill, or under the influence of mind altering substances… drugs.

So if we are fooled by an illusion, if we are being convinced of things that are not true, how do we find the reality and truth when we are swimming in this state of sensory perception that is determined to deceive..? The interesting thing is that we often seem to enjoy being fooled in this way! Can this be true? So if illusions are only in our minds, and we know this, why do we keep allowing ourselves be fooled by them when it comes to matters of the heart? Or matters of great importance to us? Why are we ‘allowing’ ourselves to be mind-tricked, or fooled, knowing the falseness will only devastate, complicate, or heart-break?

imagesCAU7FGNW   Illusions of the heart…

I know why I have allowed myself to be fooled by these illusions of love… I was given a heart that is full of love. Which makes me fragile, gullible, sensitive and easily fooled because I like to believe that people are all good and honest, and sadly, the world is not made up of many people like that. In my life, I have had a very hard turning my back on someone who has done me wrong, because I don’t like to walk away with the lasting impression that they had a black heart. This reality is hard for me to grasp, but some people are just not good for others. Some hearts just don’t mesh well together. So, for the ones that I have found that have true and honest hearts, I value and honor them! For so many others, I have been fooled by their illusions and with the scars that they left behind, I am here to remember not to get burned twice, to learn from what I have been through concerning matters of the heart, and that not all things, or people, are what they appear to be, or are what they feel like at first. In matters of the heart, take time to get to know the people you choose to be in your life, because the heart can be fooled by these illusions very easily. And when your heart has been hurt, it can take a lot to heal it and make it strong again.

~ Jen

(In my experience, when I have healed from a heart that has been bruised, I have always come out on the other side that much stronger, and my heart and all its strength, is very grateful for its many lessons so far…)