Monthly Archives: July 2013

Open wounds

 

Today is a weird day. It started with anger, tumbled through confusion, and has evolved into a good, long cry that I desperately needed. I rarely allow myself the extremely cathartic experience of crying for so many reasons. If I let go of the control I have over my emotions, I don`t know if I`ll ever be able to get them contained again. So much of my time is spent dealing with this heaviness in my chest, this wound that I continue to scratch, that my life with Jeremy continues to scratch. Every time I think things are going well, somehow there is another obstacle put in our way.

I had a tattoo appointment today and I let every bone in my body relax as I drifted somewhere far, far away in my head as the needle took on the burden of a small portion of the craziness I`m feeling. I needed that time for myself. I needed that alternate form of pain for my sanity. Getting tattooed has been a process I`ve clung to since I`ve moved out here to be with Jeremy, and it has been especially helpful in managing the distress I`ve been in since losing most of my contact with my husband 7 months ago. There is allowing the pain to wash over my skin, the soothing ache afterwards, and the healing. It is the physical manifestation of the emotional scab in my life, that is constantly ripped off, and it allows me to put everything back in its place again. Then the cycle starts again.

Today I watched an episode of Locked up Abroad about a woman who got caught smuggling drugs out of Thailand. She spent 9 years in a Thai jail and did not speak to the man she loved for those 9 years, but constantly thought of him. She was embarrassed to write him because he had warned her beforehand not to go through with the smuggling. So, when she got back to the states she called him and they talked through the night, he flew from the East coast to the West to be with her, and now they are married. That episode allowed me put a band-aid on my own open wound for now and reminds me that there is hope.Image

Advertisements

Dressing the part

One of the most frustrating parts of visiting, besides the small detail of being inside of a prison, is having to abide by dress rules. I`m 28 years ago and all I want to do is look cute when I see my husband, or at least be comfortable which would make me feel a lot more secure. That rarely happens for a number of reasons. 1. I dress conservatively to avoid any hassle or delay in seeing my husband. 2. After visiting Jeremy for ten years, I`ve gotten used to the routine of pants, shoes, top. On the rare occasion I do want to step out of my tomboy comfort zone, I have to worry about material, length, fit, color, and whether or not the prison will let me in with what I`m wearing. I`ve always got back up clothes close at hand just in case. I was caught off guard once, wearing a skirt that was a bit “too short”(with stockings on, mind you) and was denied my visit for the day. Of course, the denial of a visit depends on what time it is, the type of mood the correctional officer is in, who is working, the phase of the moon, whether or not I ate pancakes for breakfast. Basically, it is all on a whim, rules are broken and rebuilt as the day wears on. So I play it safe, but that doesn`t mean it frustrates me any less.

Half the clothes in my closet I wouldn`t really wear on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Some clothes are just there to serve their purposes as “prison choices” for me if I`m feeling tired of wearing the same thing visit after visit. I try not to feel too bad about the whole “wearing the same outfit” deal because, let’s face it, my husband wears the same thing each time and that is just fine by me. It is just a couple of days before I see my husband and I`ll be traveling far to visit him so I make sure I pack “safe”. What’s not allowed? Shorts, Skirts/Dresses more than 2 inches above the knee, tank tops/sleeveless tops, the color blue, anything sheer, open toed shoes, hoods, anything tight or low cut, heels over 2 inches, sweat pants, anything with a logo, and whatever else the correctional officer that day may deem inappropriate. So, for the last few years I`ve worn pants, and a sleeved shirt with sneakers usually. Safe, safe, safe, because I don`t have the time or the patience to be turned around either out to my car to fetch a change of clothing, or sent home because I have no extra clothing.

Today I stood in my bedroom, among a pile of dresses, pants, leggings, and shoes. I was trying all of them on, seeing what I might bring this time, and in the end I just decided I would bring pants and a sleeved top. There is a part of me that doesn’t care about the way I look in a prison, to other prisoners, to the cement and the barbed wire, then there is the woman in me who wants to feel comfortable, pretty, at ease with the fabric she moves in. Each time I go through this process, there is a part of me that cringes with some deep seated insecurity, not only making me think of the clothes I have to wear to visiting, but a deeper nerve is struck. It seems everything is out of my control, even the way I am supposed to look. I`m not sure if this is experienced by anyone else, but I feel it. I feel a loss of control and comfort when all I want to do is wear my blue jeans and hoodie.  I feel a loss of freedom when I have to stop and think when shopping for clothing, “Can I wear this to see my husband?”. The answer is usually no and I move on. The wife part of me wants desperately to just have a bit of normalcy, even if it’s just having the absolute choice of the clothing I put on my body when I see my husband.

Image


Teetering

Am I happy? Am I sad? Do I have hope? Is this the end of the road? I can never quite tell. This marriage has tested my emotions in ways I never thought possible. I find myself going from enraged to elated to frustrated to desperate all in one breath. Sure, the emotional highs and lows can be exciting and provide some relief from an otherwise routine existence, but when do you step back and reclaim your sanity? Better question: When do I step back and reclaim MY sanity?

I`ve found myself on an emotional roller coaster, I feel I cannot get off of, since my husband was transferred across the state. I can deal with prison, and I can deal with the disciplinary time he has received if we were close in distance, had our phone calls, and could at least count on a date when we would be able to reunite like a normal prison couple again. Instead, I find myself flip flopping between being bitter and angry at the situation, and therefore lashing out at pretty much everyone around me, and remaining calm, focused, and otherwise stoic in moments where I want to scream. The conflicting emotions that this separation has placed on my head and heart are extreme and I feel like I`ve not only tired myself out mentally from everything happening, but I`m really feeling more lost than ever.

Jeremy and I are still waiting to hear what his second level appeal response will be to his disciplinary sentence. That should be revealed in the next two months and in the meantime I get to think about all the what ifs. What if they don`t reduce his “hole” time? What if we have to do this one phone call, one visit a month behind glass for another year? What if I emotionally break? What if?

Any dedicated wife of an inmate will tell you that living this life is almost like being a prisoner yourself. You willingly put your life on hold, abide by rules that any free person would consider silly, and you wait. A lot. Days blend into weeks and weeks into months and you suddenly think to yourself “This feels familiar and uncomfortable and I cannot let go. This is my life”.

I`m having a moment, or several right now. I believe in Jeremy. I believe in our marriage more than I`ve ever believed in anything in my entire life. Right now we are at the bottom. You’d think that being in prison would be punishment enough without all the internal system bullshit that happens behind those walls. I guess they just want to make it that much harder. I really feel like the Department of Corrections in Nevada thrives on breaking spirits, on enforcing distress that any person would cringe at, and mostly on separating families. I know what some people are thinking: “Who cares? They deserve it”. What if they don`t deserve it? What if the families don`t deserve to ride some sick and twisted existence of ups and downs? What if an inmate’s fate rests in the hands of someone that would soon destroy rather than rehabilitate?

I`m clawing my way back to a hopeful state and hitting every possibly speed bump along the way. I know I cannot change anything right this second but I can control the way I handle it all.

Image


Holidays

It’s the 4th of July and once again I find myself hundreds of miles away from my family, in an unfamiliar place that I`ve somehow made familiar over time. The last six months have been rough without daily communication from my husband. We missed Christmas together, New Years, my birthday, Valentine’s day, the beginning of two seasons, and here we are midway through the year and I`m trying hard to stay connected to my husband in a disconnected situation. Letters, letters, letters, one phone call a month for 15 minutes, and one visit a month. Oh it’s 6 whole hours of visiting behind glass? Thank you for that, because 6 hours a month is enough to really maintain a marriage.

I know he’s thinking of me, and I`m certainly thinking of him, wishing we could have at least our daily, or even weekly phone calls back. Standing strong and remaining calm in the face of everyone else’s celebration is a bit challenging at times.  It seems like all around me people have someone near and dear to spend time with, while I`m on the other side of the glass looking in. Don`t get me wrong: I have friends, I am invited places, but it isn`t the same. Not having the comfort of “home”, especially during the holidays can get a bit overwhelming. It starts to make me think, REALLY think, about what I`m missing right now.

I`m tired, I desperately need some peace of mind, and my patience is wearing thin without my husband. Today we are supposed to have our one call for the month, and that’ll only happen if he can actually get a guard to give him the phone as he requested. In prison requests are ignored, delayed, put on the back burner until they are found at a later date after the damage has already been done and has had time to sink in. I hope that I can talk to my husband today, on this holiday, not because it is a holiday I celebrate in force but because I want to feel like I have some normal communication with my significant other for just a few minutes on a holiday just like everyone else does.

Image