Saturday, April 30, 2011

Emotional Roller Coaster

I sometimes feel envy. I sometimes get angry.  I sometimes feel guilty. And I sometimes feel lost in this world. Being the girlfriend of an inmate, I go through a roller coaster of emotions pretty much every day. And I can’t understand it other than the fact that no one around me understands.
I am envious of those who have their husbands at home and have the audacity to gripe to me that “He left his clothes on the floor again.” Or “He didn’t get me what I wanted for my birthday.” I wish I had those problems. I wish I could complain about something like that. I wish that I could just be able to touch him when I wanted to. And then I get angry.
I get angry at those who don’t understand and ask me “Why are you still with him?” or they try to tell me why I should leave or all of my man’s faults. I get angry because of those who so seldom appreciate these little insignificant things that I don’t get. I want to scream and yell at them to suck it up! “At least you have your husband” I want to grab them and shake them and say “WAKE UP! You have everything!” But I don’t. I empathize with their imagined trials and fume silently. And then the guilt sinks in.
Guilt is a funny thing. I feel guilty for these feelings I have towards women who honestly just don’t understand and probably never will. It’s like a child who asks an impolite question out loud in public because they just don’t know better. But I feel guilty about more than just that. I feel guilty when my kids are dying to do something and I just can’t afford to do it. 
Lost and wandering in an abyss of nameless faceless enemies all wanting a piece of me. I feel pulled in 15 different directions. I feel lost with no one who understands my situation or my problems. And I fall on my knees and cry to the heavens asking God “Why me?” I never have gotten an answer. But that’s okay. Because there are more people out there like me. And I can reach out to them. And I can help them. I can lend my heart or just be a friendly shoulder to cry on. And when they ask “Why me?”, I may not have the answer. But I will understand and love them because they are my sisters.


I just came across an old card.  Just wanted to post what I had written it in.  Strangely enough, this is one of the few things I recovered from the office.  It was dated May 9th, 2010. This was before I discovered everything else, and only knew the basics.
 "I love you. I will always love you. And as much as I love you, I cannot sit back and watch you destroy yourself. You have a choice. Me and your family, or the dope. If you go back to using again, I will leave you for the last time. You will not see me. You will not see my kids. You are my best friend and it kills me to tell you this. You are without a doubt the love of my life, but I will not sit back and watch you destroy yourself. I will not help you destroy yourself. You are too smart and too talented to waste your life. Whatever it takes, I will be here to catch you. I will be by your side to help you get better. I will be there to hold your hand when it's hard and I will cheer for you when you succeed, but I will not watch you do this. I know you can't see the man you once were, but I can. He's the man I fell in love with and the man I want to grow old with and right now, you are not that man. But he is in there somewhere. I am your girlfriend and it is my job to tell you when you are screwing up. Well guess what? You are screwing up. I cannot physically, mentally, or emotionally do this anymore. So you have one hell of a decision to make."
I left this letter sealed with his secretary. He came home to me less than an hour later, in tears begging me not to leave him... that he would do whatever it took to be with me. And he has. And he has stumbled. And he will pick himself back up again. It will not always be perfect. It may take time to heal old hurts. But it will be done. And time will tell the rest.  Now comes the waiting patiently part...something I've never been good at.

Living Life

No one person sets out and says, “I am going to marry an inmate”. It is not something you plan for. There is no insurance or savings plan for your spouse going to jail.
So when you are in that situation, you feel lost and confused. Forget trying to find anyone who actually understands. You are in a labyrinth of emotions and drowning in debt.
Aside from the confusion and money matters, what hinders you the most? Do you know that it is you? WHAT!!?? Yes. You will hinder yourself from achieving goals and dreams. You will hinder yourself from living life and you won’t even realize it till it’s gone and you can’t get it back.
You see, what I finally realized is that life doesn’t wait for you. You wait for life. Life doesn't just happen. You make it happen. Sure, there are things that are beyond your control. However, if you wait for someday, it may never come. And life is way too short to live with regrets.
Don’t mistake what I am saying, I am not saying leave your husband behind and go on with your life, but don’t stop living it either. Dane is my biggest fan. He wants to see me succeed. And he knows that it doesn’t mean that I do not love him any less, but that these are things I need to do for me. Not anyone else, but me.
So, even if it’s just something simple, like taking a photography class or a yoga class, then DO IT! Don’t make excuses. Find a way. Live life and you will not have regrets and you will not end up resenting your husband/boyfriend because he “held you back”. The only thing stopping you is YOU.  Don't let that take control of things!  

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tonight it hit me.  I was sitting alone, in my car in the driveway, CRYING!  Pretty ridiculous if you ask me...but it seems to be the norm lately.  

My world has crashed down around me. I was hoping to at least get a letter today, or something to pick me up a bit, but it didn't happen.

In one way it doesn't seem like it has been that long.  Only roughly 4 months. But when I think of all he has missed it seems like he has been gone forever.

Things have changed quite a bit in the past couple of months. I've moved out of our beautiful home, and into my own... I've sold just about everything we owned outright, and it's been a nightmare since he left.  I switched the boys schools, I no longer frequent the same bars and hangouts because I just simply can't put myself through the misery of listening to every single person asking me questions, prying for information (only to turn around and run their mouths), and just making me a wreck.  

Not a day goes by that we don't think or talk about him.  We laugh, we joke, we reminisce, and we cry happy tears and sad tears... sometimes all at once.  I wish I could be the rock for my kids... the one that is keeping them together... but truth is, I can't even do that for myself!  Dane was always the strong one.  I never have been.  

As for me, there's been a lot of change since he's been gone.  I've battled back and forth with myself about waiting on him.  Some days there is no doubt in my mind that I want him and only him, but other days... when the resentment and anger hits, let me tell ya!!  I went down to 115 lbs, back up to 130, and now back down at barely 120.  I'm a friggin' mess to put it lightly.  I don't eat, sleep, or do anything I used to do regularly.  Some days the only thing that gets me out of bed is my kids begging me to do something with them.  And even then, my mom or best friend have to call me and beat me up until I finally agree to go about my daily life.  It's pathetic, it's sad, and it's sickening.  No doubt.  But I've made myself a promise and I've made my man a promise.  And that promise is that I will not put my life on hold!  I will do the things I WANT to do, and I will do the things I NEED to do.  I'm going back to school!  Yep, you heard me.  Anesthesiology, baby!  

There are times though that I still expect to see him playing video games with the kids when I get home from work, or see him outside throwing the football with them before dinner, chasing them around and making them scream, smack him for pinching my ass, or for calling me "boobzilla", or hear him make a smart ass comment when I'm watching a crazy-stupid reality TV show. Even sometimes when I'm asleep I feel his arms around me and wake up only to realize that he is gone and it's going to be a long time till he comes back.  That's when the emotions kick in hardcore, and the tears just never come to an end.  

I remember February 11, 2011 like it was just yesterday.  My youngest son's 3rd birthday.  One that none of us will ever forget for years to come, unfortunately.  And not for the right reasons.  :-(

Sometimes it's so hard to wrap my head around the fact that he's gone.  Gone for a very, very, very long time.  It pains me to even write this as tears swell up in my eyes.  As I always say... I saw this day coming -- I just never imagined it to be so soon.

If it wasn't for pictures, and the memories and everyday comments my boys make... I think our relationship would now feel like it was all just a dream.  

Six Million & Counting

People will never understand why I stay by him (but families are standing by men and women who have done worse I'm sure) but truth is... I have never cared what people have thought about me!  And I'm not about to start.

Sixteen million & counting. We are everywhere.

Think about it, for those who forget that the incarcerated humans in this country are indeed just that - HUMAN - I would like you to think on this the next time you talk about "inmates, criminals, convicts, etc...". These humans have families and those who love them despite whatever they did. Look around you and wonder, because this is who we are... 

We take care of your children and grandchildren in nursery schools, we give them shots in the doctor's office, we are dental assistants, we are school teachers and Sunday school teachers, we stand behind you in the grocery store, we prepare your medicine in the drug store, we work in banks, we approve your loans, we service your insurance claims, we work for newspapers, TV stations and radio stations, we read your electric meters and water meters, we are your landlords, your neighbors, we take care of your elderly parents in nursing homes, we are nurses, lab technicians, X-ray technicians, we own beauty shops, flower shops, printing shops, we are welders, plumbers, tree trimmers, we work for the IRS, the State Dept., in the courthouse, schools, churches, drug stores and toy stores, we are legal secretaries, lawyers, school board members, we are bus drivers, we prepare meals for your kids in school, we are city council members, bank tellers, we process your checking account, your saving account, we work at your Social Security office, your insurance company, we take care of your IRA, stocks, bonds, we sell your kids bikes, school supplies, clothes, shoes, eyeglasses, we repair your cars, we are real estate agents, car dealers, college professors, psychologists, administrative assistants, safety engineers and ranchers. We work at King Soopers, Albertsons, Trader Joe's, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Macy's, Nordstrom and Saks 5th Avenue. We sell Arbonne, Mary Kay and Tupperware. We are not all "on welfare", no matter what the government would like you to think...

There are two million people in prison in America and twice that many on parole and probation. Add in mothers, fathers, children, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends and about sixteen million people are personally affected by the prison system in the United States...

We are tired of letting ourselves feel humiliated or embarrassed because our loved one is in prison. WE did nothing wrong, and they are paying for their crime!

We are tired of fearing the loss of our jobs or evictions from our homes should anyone find out we have a loved one in prison.

We are tired of being made to feel inferior or unwelcome in churches, clubs, organizations or society in general simply because we refuse to abandon our loved ones.

We are ready to unite, to come out of hiding and openly support each other and our loved ones. It's a new day, America and we're here to prove it!

We are ready to speak out against the "they deserve what they get" attitude we hear you talk about in stores, theaters and restaurants.

We number in the millions, we are everywhere, every state, county, city and town. We may even live next door to you.

Sixteen million & counting. We are everywhere.


For people who didn't know around the time of my Dane's arrest, when they find out that my man is in prison (usually co-workers, who haven't worked there long will see me writing on my break or hear me talking about going to see him)...That one answer: "my boyfriend is in prison" brings out a whole slew of comments, or complete avoidance... I honestly don't mind the avoidance, but I am very happy to say that most people that I have come into contact with are cool with it. Like I always say... it is what it is.

I do think the funniest thing is when people are like "you don't seem like a prison wife"... I'm not exactly sure what a 'prison wife' is suppose to be like. I'm fairly civil, I'm blunt and brutally honest but I try to be nice and kind to everyone. I don't want any more bad karma in my life. I don't have a real record, some traffic offenses and a domestic violence case for spitting. Yeah, you heard me right.  Haha.  And for some reason people want to know about tattoos... I only have one on the back of my neck.  Odd questions I tell ya.

Another favorite... "Oh so I guess we are paying all your bills"...Um excuse me, but no. I work, and pay taxes out of my paychecks... and I make way too much to get anything anyways.  Haha!  My mom watches my kids while I am at work, so I don't have to pay for daycare, another thing I'm eternally grateful for.  So just because my man is in prison doesn't mean you are paying for my bills... but just let me know if you want to!  Lmao.

I usually have to ask them... so if your husband/wife makes a mistake or is in the wrong place at the wrong time, or pisses off the wrong person and ends up in prison... then do your vows and/or commitment mean nothing to you?  I don't know about them but I'm pretty fucking loyal.  And I hate myself for it.  ;-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Here Comes My Frustration

We do this funny thing in America where instead of locking up our most dangerous criminals as punishment for committing heinous crimes, we kill them, thus helping them circumvent the misery of a life in a maximum security prison. I say it's a funny thing for lack of a better word, and because we are one of very few developed countries around the world that uses capital punishment. It is all but abolished across Europe, Canada, Australia, most of South America... hell, even Mexico doesn't use capital punishment! In fact, depending on your definition of what a developed nation is, I'd go so far as to say we are one of three developed countries to use capital punishment, the other two being Japan and China.

But why do we bother executing these criminals? Most of them aren't afraid to die, they've lead a life surrounded by death and murder, what difference does living make to them? I'm sure they'd much rather die than suffer the rest of their lives in a cell waiting for the sweet release of death.

They're not a danger to society either. They're locked safely away in maximum security prisons where there are guards armed with sniper rifles and all sorts of gadgets to make sure the prisoners know that escaping will be an extremely unpleasant process, one that will most likely end up in severe pain and/or death.

And life in a maximum-security prison isn't exactly the good life. The food sucks, the living conditions are shitty, you have no privacy, and you have to deal with prison yard fights and getting raped. Oh, for all you foreigners, maximum security has nothing to do with the security of the prisoners themselves (though I'm sure theoretically it's supposed to), just the security of the rest of America. No chance of escaping, and if the prisoner does manage to somehow make it outside the first of many obstacles, they'll probably be shot.

There's a lot of built up frustration and anger here for me.  Not towards Dane, but towards the fucked up judicial system.  Once they have their hooks in you, you never make it out completely.  I don't get it.  I don't get how someone who committed white collar crimes can be incarcerated for as long as murderers, and even LONGER.  I just don't understand one fucking piece of that.  Yeah, Dane fucked up.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  He took money.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars... he extorted more money and monetary items from people than I can ever wrap my head around.

That's not my point.  My point is the fact that in the United States today, there is no standard when it comes to punishment and sentencing. This area of the criminal justice system is one that is in constant flux.  Sentencing practices and goals are always under scrutiny. From "getting tough on crime" to more rehabilitative approaches, the views and goals of sentencing are ever-changing.  Of course it seems obvious that similar offenders who commit similar crimes should be treated similarly. However, that is rare and hard to come by.  Depending on the jurors, prosecutor and the judge, the case is coldly calculated.

Today there are many things the criminal justice system aims to do by imposing punishments and sentences. Goals of punishment have moved from satisfying the victim, as in early days, to more of a broad scale. There are theories on how punishment and sentencing may serve to reduce crime as a whole. General and specific deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and reformation are just some of these goals.  I respect all of that, but I still think it's fucked up.  I just think it's absolutely ridiculous that a person can be punished for misdemeanors (and felonies) the same way a murderer or rapist is punished, and reading news articles and stories just reiterates where I stand on this matter.  Money can be replaced.  Easily.  A life cannot!