Category Archives: Life

Visiting vicissitudes

Having the ability to put on a mask when things are bothering you is a gift. Or is it a curse? Or is it both? All I know is that my gift of sublimation has somehow melted into a puddle of retreat and inability to cope externally. The pause on life is definitely on right now.

Prison will do that to you, and me, and many people. Sometimes you just stop caring and sublimating and having your proverbial shit together and you just ..hide. Only it isn’t really hiding so much as it is self preservation and recharging and just being. Also, eating chips and reading, but those activities are a given when you decide to hermit. If they aren’t for you, you’re  hermiting wrong.
That’s where I have been, inside my head and inside the comfort of my little domicile, where it’s ok to not want to see or talk to anyone, where it’s ok to breathe in the biggest, deepest, most exhausting breath and let out a blood curdling scream into a pillow. My cat doesn’t care. She is used to my moments of insanity dubbed as an “awakening”. So, me in my little bubble of avoiding the outside world and the heat and any plans, but then comes visiting. I want to go and I don’t want to go. I go. I always go. I’m always happy I go but also not so secretly despise my time at the prison.
While waiting to enter the prison for visiting last week, I think my layered exterior, that I spent nearly 15 years building, started to crumble a bit, or peel. It was peeling, like old wall paint and what lies beneath is starting to come to the surface, visible to the naked eye. Or ….was it less crumble and peel and more I don’t give a damn anymore about being contained? You can decide.
Being out in the morning Summer Las Vegas heat while waiting in a line full of people to get into another line to be physically searched to get into a prison visiting room will do things to a person. 1. The first part will make you sweat. It is God awful hot in the Summer here and I loathe it with all that I am. I have always hated the heat, just ask my mom. 2. You will be irate, or at least I will be because sometimes the excitement of visiting is no match for the utter pain it is to get into visit sometimes. I grit my teeth, literally, and sometimes go into a meditative trance to separate my mind from my body.
Sometimes while waiting in line, I see these young girls, full of hope about seeing their man and I think about how if they stay, that feeling won’t last forever. Not that they will stop loving their inmate or that they will stop being excited to some degree, but this shit sucks and it’s hard and to do it for years and years wears you down. It’s nice to see the beginning, though, the naivete that maybe I had once when I first started to visit Jeremy shortly after my 18th birthday. I watch these girls with curiosity and misplaced jealousy because I want to be excited too. I want to exist in a place of hope, but the honeymoon of anything new does not last forever and I want to take these girls by the shoulders and shake them. I want to shake them and hug them and tell them to run. It’s human to feel conflicting emotions and to want to act in conflicting ways and prison shines a light on those human pushes and pulls.
Anyway, it must have been the heat and the unsuspecting future struggle I was seeing all around me, but I found myself talking to some of the regular women I usually pass the time chatting with and I just blurted out “I’m sick of this shit!”. My ridiculous outburst was met with laughter and head nods rooted in understanding and the dreaded question, “How long does he have left?”. I respond with “I don’t know” because I am too tired and surprised by my own blatant proclamation to craft a good answer. But it’s true, I don’t know. For some reason I add that I’ve been doing this for nearly 15 years, the visiting thing, and I feel heads whip around and eyes are on me. One lady looks at me like I’m some sort of freak(and maybe I am) or maybe she is surprised because I look relatively young still(this is me trying to make myself feel better). One lady just says “Wow” and another “What!”, not really a question but an exclamation of disbelief.
It dies down quickly as we move ahead in the line, but internally I’m reeling from what just happened and I start to panic(this is what happens when you have anxiety). The rest of my visit feels weird and off. I’m agitated and luckily I’m married to someone who knows when to press me for answers, but not too hard. Jeremy knows this situation is tough and we strategize to navigate the choppy waters together. I tell him about my outburst and he laughs because while he is sympathetic to my discomfort and suffering, he knows that laughing makes my heavy heart light again and his laugh invariably makes me smile. I am grateful for this and that he lets me spin out in my head while I stare off into space and he eats a bag of Doritos. During the spacing out and chip eating mini marathon, we keep one hand free to hold onto the other, an anchor of a sort in a situation that can sweep you under and away at any given moment. Sometimes land is too fucking far away and you need to learn how to swim in the waters you are in. Holding hands means we are together, we are swimming with one another.
I was doing a health assessment for my insurance recently and it is divided into sections about your history, diet, exercise, preventative health, and emotional health. I scored not so well on my emotional health section(because I was honest when checking those stupid little bubbles) and at the end it said next to my emotional health section, “needs work” with a sad face and a cloud over it. I literally burst out laughing at this ridiculous “measure” and scoring system. How do you measure the emotional health of someone whose spouse lives in a prison and all the work and baggage and madness that comes with that? I want to write to the evaluation people and ask them to include a section that will not paint my emotional health as “needs work”, but rather “Hey, kid, you’re doing the best you can. Hang on and hang in there”.

Choices and Chances

Being alone, for the most part, has been both my strength and downfall in life. I can be surrounded by 100 people and still feel alone and it’s in those moments that I realize that I can have all the friends I want, it will not compare to having someone special, someone to love, someone to be close to. People have asked me if I actively date other people and the answer is no. I don`t seek out people to fill in for my husband, I don`t troll dating sites or feel like I have to have someone with me to complete my life, but there have been a couple of people the last year or so who have confused my feelings about my life in both good and bad ways.

These people came into my life by chance and I would never take back anything that I`ve said or experienced. While I don`t believe in seeking affection or having feelings for someone, in the romantic sense, outside of a marriage, I also realize that my marriage is very different. It is different because of the circumstances, the lack of contact(especially the last 1.5 years) and it is also different because my husband is amazing. While he has had his fear that I would leave him for someone else, he has also been incredibly supportive. I can be an open book, I can be a 29 year old woman with wild feelings and a need to branch out at times. He understands and he harbors no ill feelings towards my choices. If he didn`t want me to open my heart and feelings to others, I wouldn’t and that would be the end of the story, but the fact that he is confident in our marriage enough to allow me my freedom of choice strengthens our bond in unspoken ways.

I don`t regret anything I`ve ever done. I wouldn`t take back any feelings for other people that I`ve put out into the world. I believe in every decision I`ve ever made and I also believe in chance encounters enriching us as human beings, no matter where we may be anchored in our lives. These two people, while very different, have taught me things about myself and things about people in general. They have made me realize where I`m messing up in my life and where I`m excelling and I am thankful every day for any situation that allows me to grow. My feelings are never wasted if they can go towards positive realizations and succeeding in being more secure with myself.

I no longer speak to either of these two people; one has been gone months and one has been “let go” more recently. Both were difficult to let go of in different ways. One of these people I actually miss dearly, as I feel they were a positive influence in my life and I just couldn`t wrap my head around anything a few months ago and I am sorry for that. I sabotaged a wonderful friendship because of my own demons. People make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are unable to be taken back or repaired but I miss this person. I think about this person all the time and I`ve shared this sentiment with my husband as a way of trying to cope with the loss. It’s amazing when your husband is also your best friend and your therapist. The other person, that I`ve recently parted ways with, was toxic but enticing. Isn’t that the way it always goes? I tend to want to hold on tight to what I know isn`t good for me but I finally let go. So, here we are again. I`ve come full circle from wanting no one but my husband to rethinking my entire life to realizing, once again, that I am where I need to be. I don`t know if the circle will ever take me back around again and I hope it doesn’t to avoid heartache but what is life without learning experiences?

I know that I am grateful for my husband. I am grateful for his patience, his devotion, his understanding, and mostly I`m grateful that he truly loves me and would sacrifice his own happiness for my own. This is not a typical, “conventional” marriage arrangement and we’ve both learned the ability to bend so we don`t break. It makes me nervous to write these words and to put them out there for the world to read but this is my story and I believe in honesty at any cost.


Taking on an entire system

I started this entry in my head on my drive back to work after lunch today. I pulled into the parking lot and wondered how in the hell I got back to my job. I spend way too much time daydreaming while behind the wheel. I’ve never been in an accident, though, so rest assured fellow drivers.

I was thinking about how I should go about putting together my second entry. It is customary to start from the beginning and work your way to the present day so there is a solid timeline of events but nothing in my life is customary so I abandoned that idea pretty quickly. I started to really focus on what prompted me to give this blog a real jump start and that is the current situation my husband and I find ourselves in. I call this our “situation within a situation” and it is decidedly not fun, but a definite challenge for both of us. I believe that challenges that make us stronger people, so I can only hope that we’ll both be able to bench press a Buick by the end of all of this.

If you didn`t already know, my husband is in prison. I`m not sure if the title of my blog or my first post alluded to that fact or not. Hah. The hubs spends his days in the “care” of the Nevada Department of Corrections. “He works for the state”, I`ve told people in the past. I don`t  have any experience with prisons in other states but I have read, and have spoken with many people who have stated that being incarcerated in Nevada is one of the worst states you can be locked up in. Thought all prisons were the same? Hardly. The level of corruption and the lengths that both the “correctional” officers and officials will go to for the sake of being purely malicious is mind blowing. Thought conspiracies were only in the movies? Think again.

In December of last year, about a week before Christmas(nice timing, right?), I got a call from my husband, first and foremost letting me know he was okay, then to give me the run down on what was happening. We were used to talking daily and I hadn’t heard from him in a few days at this point, but I thought “Eh, it’s a lock down.”.  Turns out it wasn’t the standard lock down I had grown accustomed to, but that another inmate had attacked my husband in the chow hall, my husband had attempted to defend himself, and when all was said and done the inmate who attacked my husband claimed he was attacked with a pencil by my husband. Whoa! This could all be cleared up right? It is one inmate’s word against anothers. Not so simple, especially when some of the correctional officers(C/Os for short) feel it is their personal mission in life to hate on inmates and to pass judgment when they don’t know the difference between their asshole and a hole in the ground. Forget about knowing the whole story, as a correctional officer you should remain impartial. I guess they didn`t cover that in “Becoming a Correctional Officer 101”. One C/O in particular, who shall remain nameless for now (keywords: for now), lied on her report and backed the attacker’s story and a pencil was planted at the scene that had my husband’s initials carved in. First of all, what inmate attacks another inmate with a pencil with their initials carved in it? Second, my husband has had one write up in his entire 15+ years in prison, and that was not for attacking anyone or starting a fight. Coincidentally, the inmate who attacked my husband is a repeat offender, a gang banger, and is in this time for assault with a deadly weapon. Hmmm. Well played, prison, well played.

Let’s jump ahead to a few days after the incident. My husband’s hearing was expedited by a Lieutenant (who shall also remain nameless for now), who is a known hater of my husband and has messed with him before. The hearing took place, they did not let my husband present his case, and found him guilty on assault and battery charges and sentenced him to two years in disciplinary segregation. This was clearly a set up to get my husband in trouble because he is not liked by certain employees of the NDOC. We appealed(I use “we” because I feel that it is him and I in everything having to do with our lives) and he did have a hearing where he was actually able to present his case, and got the reporting C/O to contradict herself on tape, but they charged and sentenced him the same. Impartiality has been thrown out in favor of lies.

This wouldn’t be a huge deal, and we could deal with this, except this affects my communication with my husband. We have gone from daily phone calls, to one call a week that is an entire 30 minutes. Once a week visits in the visiting room, where we are able to build on holding hands and eating chips together, has now been replaced with once a month visits behind, glass that I have to schedule for “permission” each time. Letters are delayed  and go “missing” a lot. I’m certain the C/Os, officials, and investigators are delaying, or simply throwing away mail both ways to make our lives more difficult.

To top it all off, they have recently moved him from the medium security prison, an hour away from me, to the maximum security prison that is nearly 6 hours driving time from me. We are still pursuing the  appeal process to try to get this mess figured out, but in the meantime, these C/Os, this lieutenant, the “investigator”, and who ever else is involved are getting away with falsifying reports, blatant lying, and general criminal conspiracy. I don’t care how much backing from your co-workers you have, this is pure illegal behavior and deserves a bit of spotlight. At this prison they all seem to cover for each other, and the C/Os  that are actually decent people, do not want to speak up out of fear, even though they know what happens behind those walls.

Luckily, my husband and his very supportive family(including myself) do not go down without a fight and we are really trying to bring attention to these issues, that the personnel at the prison, think will simply be swept under the rug. Departmental responsibility needs to be taken and those involved need to be held accountable. It is not legal to throw away mail, falsify reports and legal documents, or simply jeopardize someone’s life because you don’t like them. As correctional officers, they are held to a public standard and I’m ready to hold them to it. I support my husband 100% in pursuing every legal avenue to ensure that this nonsense is exposed, the guilty parties lose their jobs, and that this lessens the occurrence of them doing this to another inmate, who may not have such a strong support system.

That may have all been very boring, or all very thrilling, but it is ultimately, all very true. I used to think that anyone with a badge, or any type of authority was decent, helpful, and professional. Thank you to the Nevada Department of Corrections for proving me wrong. I would especially like to thank the staff at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada  for being so unprofessional, unethical, and just plain wrong. I am ready to see this through with my husband. Even a person whose name is followed by a series of numbers has rights.

(Below is an aerial view of where my husband current is. TOO far from me right now.)

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They say the eye of the storm is calm

I`m starting this blog in the middle of a mess and I think it might help me to cope. I`m a prison wife. I never thought I would label myself that way. Unique, independent, silly? Perhaps. But a prison wife? Who comes right out and says that? I do. I`ve spent much too long lying about where my husband is and feeling somewhat awkward in trying to explain my relationship to outsiders. I`ve been with my husband long enough to stop caring what other people think and actually have come to feel proud and inspired by my own life. This isn`t a new road for me. I`ve been with my husband for ten years and we have been married for nearly four. Once upon a time I was a very strange and curious teenage girl who wanted to write people in prison. Little did I know that I would fall head over heels in love with one in particular and be where I`m at today. The label “prison wife” may warrant some negative attention because a lot of people are ignorant to the fact that not all of us women who stand by our incarcerated men are desperate, or delusional. We love. Plain and simple. I`m a normal woman. I like wine, I have a cat, I drive a Toyota, I work and am a functioning part of society. Well, mostly 🙂 My newly found freedom of actually telling people my husband in prison has gotten me some interesting responses. “Oh, I`m so sorry”, “And you still love him?”, “Are you stupid?”. More questions than comments, I suppose. I used to get bent out of shape about people’s words and seemingly insensitive questions, but I know they don`t live in my world, couldn`t handle what I consider “everyday”, and mostly don`t want to understand anything other than what is conventional.

What is this blog about? What do I hope to get out of this?

I hope to become even more comfortable with talking about my life and my marriage publicly. My husband’s case was very public and I have struggled with putting myself out there and talking about it but I realize that talking about it raises awareness and gives people insight into a world they know nothing about. I also hope to make the public aware of the flaws in our justice system, the corruption that exists within prisons and express the changes I wish to see.

Why? Why do we need changes? These criminals are scum and why do we owe them any sort of mercy?

Those are common questions I get from people I talk to about the justice system. They think all prisoners are the same, they believe in every stereotype that is fed to them by the media and they think that is all there is. So many prisoners were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, some made earnest mistakes, and some aren’t guilty at all. That is how faulty our justice system is. We have put people to death who are innocent. I always strive to ask people what they would do if they were in my shoes, my husband’s shoes, or any prisoner’s shoes. Would you feel the same if you were faced with the same fate?

So that is what this blog is/will be about. A lot about my life, my struggles and joy as a prison wife, exposing corruption in the Nevada justice system in hopes of raising some attention and awareness, and mostly just venting. I am content with venting to my trusted friends, but I believe the world would benefit in knowing a little bit about a lifestyle they can only assume things about.