Tag Archives: heart

Headphones for the heart

“If we can make it through another day
With you believing in my innocence
And we can make it through another year
‘Cause we both need it to forget this fear” – White Lie by The Lumineers

Listening to music through headphones changes the music. It changes how you feel about the music, the lyrics. It changes the story, the intensity. Mild fascination with words sung become a life line, a soundtrack to your deepest emotional crevices. The songs become your heartbeat. The music becomes you and you become the music. At least, that’s what happens to me. It must be said that I am absolutely a person who depends on music for survival.

I’ve recently become smitten with the Lumineers and although I heard their first popular song, “Ho Hey”, some time ago, I didn’t pay the band much attention. I actually heard “Ho Hey” initially on a road trip out to visit Jeremy, when visiting was an entire trip away. I remember thinking to myself how appropriate the line “I’ve been trying to do it right. I’ve been living a lonely life” was on my solo journey out into the desert to hold hands with a man I have never brushed skin with outside in the sunshine. Those lyrics stuck with me. The loneliness of that line stuck with me and I found myself singing it over and over again on that car ride.

I recently got hooked on The Lumineers and have even persuaded Jeremy to download some of their songs on his MP3 player. Yes, sometimes prisoners get MP3 players, though definitely not for free. I apply parts of each song I hear  to my life with Jeremy. I read an article about the band recently, where the lead singer referred to his brother(another band member), Jeremy, as “Jer” and it made me raise an eyebrow and laugh and sort of cry at the same time because we call my Jeremy, “Jer”. It’s funny how common things become magic when you allow them to.

I believe in unseen life connections. I often have trouble having faith in those connections because the patterns are woven in such a delicate manner that they are tough to see on especially dark nights. I get so frustrated with the kingdom of love that we have built because it is so unbelievably beautiful and vulnerable and it feels, fragile even though it’s strong.  On the surface we are two kids in love who happened to stumble upon each other, maybe by a happy accident, maybe by divine intervention. What do I know? I know that I love someone who lives in a prison in Nevada who came to know, and eventually marry, through a single letter I sent so long ago. I know that what we have is the truest life experience I have ever known. I know that I need to start fucking believing in this path I chose to walk on again. I am going to listen to life with my headphones on from here on out. The situation isn’t ideal, obviously, but I often feel like I’m taking “the music” for granted. I feel like I stopped looking at this adventure with Jer in an exciting light. I replaced “adventure” with “fear” and “hurt” and “the end”.

I’m going to dig deep, open my ears and my heart. I’m going into this next area of the path with the feeling that this is the beginning. This IS where the magic happens. It’s like when you’re listening to an especially long intro to a song. You’re waiting for the intro to “break”. You’re waiting, waiting, waiting, and when the lyrics begin and beat changes, you realize there can be no song without the intro.

“It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference”- Stubborn Love by The Lumineers

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The land of lonely

Hi my name is Desiree and I’m an introvert. That’s a good part of why I’ve been able to survive my relationship, my marriage with Jeremy all these years. It’s the reason people have joked that this relationship is perfect for me.

Jokes on me, I guess.

I’m an introvert by nature and I enjoy space, downtime, pockets of hours with my thoughts with no one else around. I don’t necessarily need to have the constant knowledge that someone is right there. I was born this way, which makes me feel that I was born to love in this space right now….

But loneliness. That’s a hell of a feeling sometimes. Loneliness, not in general, but loneliness for your person in life will drive you mad.

Hi my name is Desiree and I’ve been driven mad lately. I’m lonely for my person, I loathe prison visiting, I’m committed to someone who is out of reach more often than he is when I need him and it seems normal and horrible and normal and then horrible again.

It’s rare that someone asks me how the loneliness affects me or asks me how I’m doing, how I’m REALLY doing, navigating the waters or prison wifedom. People don’t ask because I seem so together, comfortable in my introverted nature, but even introverts get so lost in the land of lonely that it’s hard to find a way back sometimes.

The truth? That sometimes this situation absolutely sucks the life out of me and just sucks in general. That is putting it mildly. Sometimes going for a coffee just for human interaction doesn’t cut it because I am alone in a city that is not home, that I do not like, where I don’t really know anyone and there is no quelling the loneliness at times and my person is here but not here and it is a feeling of helplessness, of desperation, and there are days, like today, that I want to run. Some days feel like kicking for the surface with cinderblocks tied to my ankles.

Usually at the end of my posts, I provide some inspirational transition from misery to miracle of emotion or something positive but some days just don’t go as planned and some days you’re lonely and lost and no one is coming to find you. Today is one of those days and trying to find a way out of the lonely is a journey.

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I`m your huckleberry

Did you ever see that movie? Tombstone. It’s one of my favorite movies and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday is my undoing in life. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday as some fantastic gun slinging, fearless gambler. I often think about the masks we wear, the names we give others, and the names others give us. Are you someone’s huckleberry and are they yours? Is that all a lie? Did you tell yourself you were something you’re not or does the world not see you for who you really are?

If you’ve ever had a connection with prison culture, you know that nicknames and “handles” run wild and everyone has a name that tells a story….whether that story is the truth or a lie or doesn’t make any sense.  I used to laugh when my husband would refer to someone by their handle, but now I just ask “What’s his real name?” and it’s usually an unexpectedly normal name, unassuming in the way the letters weave together.

Do you know how many Pee-wees I’ve heard of since I met Jeremy? Dozens. Ghost (a guy that sounded like Mickey Mouse). Shorty (multiple; sometimes not because of their height). City (Soft spoken and had a cool way about him).*Insert city where the person is from here*. Jeremy used to know this guy named Boston a long time ago. You guessed it. He was from Boston. Sometimes it’s their middle names they prefer, or their last names. When I hear an actual first name straight away, I ask “but what’s his nickname?”. Sometimes the nickname is all I know and I become confused when someone is referred to by their actual name. “Oh, that’s Ghost. You know him.” Yeah…I do know him. Or does anyone really? I never did find out why that was his nickname. Usually a story follows the reveal of someone’s handle, but not Ghost. Maybe Jeremy didn`t know either. Who knows.

Smiley is the guy I’ve never seen smile. “That’s Restless” my husband says. “Wrestle? What? What does that mean” I ask. “No, restless. You know, like you’re restless..”. Interesting. Shaky. No idea why. He doesn’t shake. It makes me think of Shakey’s Pizza. Did you ever go to Shakey’s Pizza? Yeah. Anyway, Shaky. Shakey? Shakee? I don`t know.

“What’s your nickname here?” I ask my husband. He hasn’t really had a solid one over the years and he is definitely no Pee-wee or Shaky or Smiley or any other misplaced prison nickname. “Doc”. I want to laugh and I think I actually did. He knows I love Tombstone and he knows I am his huckleberry and he is mine.

Every nickname has a story.

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I love you and I hate prison

This is a statement I make so often that it almost comes out automatically, thoughtlessly, sometimes even as a filler in conversations during difficult times.
“I know, baby. I know”. He says this every time, but not automatically or thoughtlessly or as a filler. He just knows and then he is quiet, thinking of the next string of words to step on, hoping they aren’t a land mine. Sometimes success, sometimes a lost foot. You can’t argue with facts, but you can chock life up to something more.
“I love you and I hate prison”. Not BUT I hate prison; AND I hate prison. I don’t know why I choose to say it that way. Maybe because I don’t like to say I love someone but, because but means conditional and I hate conditions. Too much of my life is spent in a conditional state, under conditions.
Quite often I wonder how we got here to this loving the human but hating the prison place. Not you, the reader, and I, but Jeremy and I. I’m a poser of questions there are no easy answers to, but I ask them anyway. Somehow the you in “I love you and I hate prison” always has the answers for me. What’s my favorite answer to my question about why we came to be? Why did we come down this path? Why did the pieces arrange this way and why have we clung to each other for dear life all these years?
That fate exists. That sometimes souls come together because they were meant to be and not randomly. Is this a designed path? Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? I don’t know, Freddie Mercury. Prison feels a bit like both sometimes.
“Whhhyyyyyyyyy???” I ask and whine or I ask and then laugh and then whine.
“I have loved you since before you were born. I have always loved you.” He says.
How can you argue with that?
Prison or not.
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Outside looking in

Do you ever think to yourself, “my life seems so strange”, compared to others in the snow globe of life. I think this a lot. Usually I’m quite okay, if not satisfied, to have a very different, very real story about what and who I`ve dedicated my life to, but then there are days, like yesterday, where I feel the intense separation of my reality vs. what others are doing and experiencing. I wonder what life without prison as a third wheel in a marriage, in my marriage, would be like. I get lost in this wondering and wondering turns to desire and frustration. I wonder what it’s like in that snow globe, if I could live there and love there and be happy.
Someone I used to date briefly,  but have known since elementary school, got married this last weekend and it left an unexpected hole in my being. Something inside me shifted and has left me feeling bereft. I had been thinking about this person’s wedding quite frequently leading up to the date, oscillating between a sense of happiness and also a deep sense of loss on some level. I was hell bent on not resisting what I was feeling and trying to cultivate a genuine feeling of congratulatory delight. But. Emotions are tricky and seem even trickier when you’re trying to figure out exactly what it is you’re feeling. What the fuck am I feeling?
Trying to explain this to Jeremy was a bit difficult because there are, at times, no words to describe how lost I feel, how empty and jealous and desperate I feel. So…..I cry and stay silent and get angry all at once and I need this cycle but my goodness does everything hurt in the face of a chosen, yet tough, reality. It’s a nice fresh slap in the face when you haven’t fully recovered from the last slap yet. I find myself, as I often do in intense moments, just “toughing it out” by smiling and saying positive things even though I want to have a complete meltdown. Jeremy knows, though. He always knows. He knows that I’m wounded but able, that I’m spinning out but trying to hold on, that I want to leave in moments of madness but that I stay.
Although I enjoy being outside the globe, looking in, I also want the opportunity to be in that space and I want to be shaken and I want magic and maybe magic means normal and maybe I want a small slice of that stupid normal dream. What do you do, though? I guess you have to believe in your own dream, your own reality, and still allow yourself to be happy for those who have found theirs on a different plane. Maybe everyone is really just in their own snow globe and maybe it’s a trap, but maybe it’s freedom. Are we all just outside looking in, wondering where the grass is greenest? Yeah, I know. The grass is greenest where you water it, but getting my heart and head to agree on that is a daily battle.
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“What people think is not what they know”

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Comfort in the unknown

There is no guarantee in the information provided by the prison. Ever. I have learned over the years to accept that I will never really know exactly what is happening, deadlines are not set in stone, what may have been said one day is completely obsolete the next. My marriage to Jeremy has taught me patience. It has taught me while I kicked, and screamed, and was left dumbfounded by the amount of disorganization and corruption that makes up the Nevada Department of Corrections.

I spoke with my husband for our brief monthly phone call yesterday morning and while he is working his ass of trying to get off this disciplinary sentence and get back to me, his caseworker told him that it is a 9 month waiting list to get back to Lovelock(the prison closer to me). I felt my heart drop in my chest. If I start to calculate dates and times in my head and I hold onto those figures, I am usually disappointed. I should know better than to start planning when I`ll be able to reconnect with my husband. I felt a piece of my hope die a little when I heard that. Everything is precarious in a very uncomfortable way.

I started to panic, first thinking of my husband being so far for another 9-12 months, and then the reality of the situation set in. The reality of everything set in. I have burned almost half of my yearly vacation time seeing him already because visits are not on weekends for his unit. Instead they are on Mondays and Tuesdays. Well, I have work, so I have had to use up my vacation days, and if he isn`t back to Lovelock soon, I`ll have to start using whatever sick time I may have. That combined with the fact that we will still be on limited contact, potentially, for another year had my head spinning.

I`m settled now because what other choice is there? I have to quiet my anxieties, hope for the best, thrust myself into the unknown and live it every single day. There is no solid foundation on which I live but there is a solid foundation on which I love. It’s funny how I went from fighting against the unknown to wrapping it around myself like a blanket. I won’t know what is happening with my husband during this time on a daily basis. Mostly I can only take refuge in the thought of his face, hear his voice in my head, and hope that the unknown will reveal something more than struggle.

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