Monthly Archives: September 2015

Wasting time

So far, I`ve put in approximately 35 calls to the visiting room at the prison. I`m trying to make an appointment to see my husband. It shouldn`t be this difficult and time consuming(read: time wasting), but it is. “You have reached the visiting desk. If you want to make an appointment, please call back between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Do NOT leave a message as we do not return calls”. Okay. So, if no one answers, what do you do? You call 35 times. Then you call 35 more. You call and call and call and call. You have wasted so many minutes calling, listening to anxious rings, hoping someone will pick up, and then the answering machine picks up. This will drive a person to damn near throw their phone at the wall. But I don’t throw my phone. I take an insanely deep breath and I persist. I waste time, but……Is it really time wasted when you’re trying to get to your other half? Is it ever really time wasted? This is life and nothing is ever easy. Ever. Call 36 just took place. Nothing. I am on a calling schedule. I am not on a calling schedule. I call back to back to back and then not at all for an hour, while wondering if I should be calling.

I think I had been almost spoiled by the other prisons Jeremy was at. See, prisons in rural areas here in Nevada are less likely to get crowds of visitors and that was fine by me. It made seeing my husband easier. Sure, there was waiting, but there wasn’t 35(sorry, 36) phone calls just to try to get someone on the line to schedule a visit. You don`t just show up. You schedule a visit or you do not get in. Simple.As.That. There are times when I am tired of calling, frustrated, because I know the calling isn’t the issue. The root of the issue is the time I am spending, the energy I am exerting, just to TRY to see my husband. There is no giving up. You just go and go and go..and then. …I don`t know.

You call 35,36, 108 times then you have a visit scheduled. You reach the prison, hoping for a quick check in, and you wait. Surprise. You wait. You waste, or not waste(depending on your mood that day) time trying to see your husband or your boyfriend or your father or someone close to you, or not close to you. Anyway. I`m frustrated today, so let’s go with the thought that this is wasting time. You get to the prison and there is a line and it moves slow. Not just slow, but painfully slow. There are 15 people ahead of you. You rushed to the doors of the prison, through that stupid large parking lot, for this. You fidget( well, I do), and you wait. The guard is looking through files for each person, handwriting(seriously? What year is this?), and you wait. Next, next, next. Only, not that quick. You are next in line and the person in front of you seems to have every fucking problem with their scheduled visit known to the heavens and you wait some more.

Finally, it is your turn. You fill out your paperwork quickly. I scribble my signature, practically Frisbee my I.D. through the little slot and fidget more. Hurry up, please. Hand gets stamped, I.D. is returned, I am okay to go through. Don`t be in such a hurry, honey, there is another line. What is this line? Oh, you have to get through the metal detector. More waiting, more fidgeting. My turn. Slide your clear plastic bag of quarters across the table on the right or left and walk through. Hope you don`t beep. I don’t usually beep. Through a metal electronic door(if they have electronic doors, why don`t they have a computer at the front at check in?). Oh hey, look, there is yet another line. What is this line? Oh, it’s the line to get searched in a tiny room. There are three rooms, one guard, and you wait. You waste more time. Fuck. Stay calm. You aren’t sure if people are in line or just hanging out until someone snaps at you. You say “sorry. I didn`t know you were in line” in a bitchy tone and try to keep your cool. It’s your turn. You are told to go into one of these tiny rooms. You go in. You wait. More waiting. If you haven’t cultivated patience at this point, you are screwed. Call 37. No answer. This becomes like a game. Only definitely not a fun one.

The guard comes in, finally, and pats you down, her gloved fingers brush your hair but the latex pulls your strands. You lift your shirt right to the band of your bra and you shake. Your breasts are all out of place now. Thanks for that, guard. Shoes are checked and the guard asks if you’re wearing underwear. Umm, yes, last time I checked. Okay, you’re done. You fix your breasts and your shoes and take a deep breath. So close, so close. You walk out, the guard behind the glass pushes a button, which activates a door and you walk through. I am outside, but inside, but outside. I am on prison ground now. Official prison ground. I know where to go so I walk up this incline sidewalk to visiting. Walk, walk, walk, little bit of jogging actually. I am sick of wasting time and I am breaking  into a bit of a sprint. I wonder if they will see this as threatening and shoot me. Jogging stops. Walking fast commences. I`m at the door to the visiting room. I pull it to alert the guard to open the fucking door. He doesn’t notice. I jerk the door again, and knock on the window. “Let me in”, my head says. Then I think “who says that at a prison?”. My inner dialogue is way too much for even me at times.

I`m in but I don`t look at the sea of prison blues right away. I go straight to the desk to “check-in”. Even though I`ve checked in like 8 times already before. I tell him/her/whoever who I am and who I am there to see. The guard is scanning the list and I am on it(obviously). They tell me what table my husband is at but I don`t really even need them to tell me. I see my husband. I walk over and we embrace and I am tired. I was energized before 56,78, 476 calls and all the time wasting but I am tired now and my husband understands. I need a moment, I need a coffee, I need a breath.

That was call 40. No answer. I need a nap.

trashtime

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Vulnerability

One of my friends/coworkers told me today that they could never open themselves up to the world the way I do. They described my blog as “peeling back the layers”. These words made me feel incredibly confident in my journey, in being a voice, not just for anyone who has a loved one in prison, but for fellow human beings who wade the waters of happiness and sadness, sometimes simultaneously.
Vulnerability. We are taught that it is dangerous and to be avoided. I avoided it for a long time and I’m honestly, to this day, not sure when I ultimately threw caution to the wind. I think it was when I realized that life with my husband wasn’t going to give me an easy way out. No easy button. Help? Yes. Easy? Never. It was going to be a climb and I had to go all in or not go at all. Out of that climb, I created my own world, my own dance, my own way of wading my waters.
I use this blog as a tool to cope with the stress of being married to Jeremy. It’s the least destructive and most creative way that I can think of to carry on when there isn’t anything left. When I am empty, when I’m at my most vulnerable, magic happens in the form of words and sharing.
In the past, before I loved this human who lives in a prison, I dealt with vulnerability like something that could be sent away if I drank enough or made enough red lines on my skin. I was not comfortable confronting fear or the messiness that life brings. I loved to put things on the back burner and deal with things “later”. “Later” meant putting off that messiness indefinitely.
Even just two years ago, I wasn’t comfortable coming face to face with what life was giving me and the realities of incarceration and soul crushing love. I used alcohol to forget, cutting to reset, and I sought solace in the arms of people who didn’t love me but could provide instant gratification.
True gratification and becoming comfortable with vulnerability is not instant. I finally realized that I shouldn’t be weary of vulnerability, but of anything instant and that lasts just a brief moment before throwing me back into the ring of life. I needed steady sustenance and I was going to have to create it myself.
Queue this whole vulnerability business, this being so transparent that there truly no longer was anything to hide. Ready, set, pull the bandaid off all at once. Confusion, hurt, stillness.
For me, the only way to continue on in my life with Jeremy is to be honest. Does the honesty destroy me at times? Yes. Absolutely. It destroys me and my relationship and then it rebuilds it. There is room for error but there is no room for giving honesty or vulnerability a backseat in my life. So, I’ll continue to peel back all my layers. That is where the place of peace exists and I am free.
Love-and-vulnerability