Life In Prison

A Comeback Story

Portia and Roomies

My Roommates

Portia blogThe way we deal with our struggles might be the most important thing we ever do. If we stand with courage in the face of our challenges we can change our future, and make a powerful impact on the record of the past. Making the right decision, right now means the best is yet to come! Weather it’s a divorce, an addiction, a financial disaster, or isolation and loneliness there is something we can do right now to change everything. We can decide to make our challenge the most important thing we will ever do, we can humble ourselves, admit our mistake, and face the challenge with honor. I’ve been through a few things in life that I thought had me licked. But I found out when I choose my responses in a responsible way my future is mine to decide. It was a powerful moment for me to realize that I could decide my future; that more good awaited me than the bad that was behind me.

One of the tricks to having an amazing future is letting go of the victim story. Being a victim for me meant I was giving someone else power over my past and my future. I finally had to ask myself if I wanted to be a victim more than I wanted to be victorious? I decided that I wanted to leave prison amazing, and have a happy future more than I wanted to be a victim of the past. I want my children to be proud of me, not feel sorry for me, and I want to be a person who’s life testifies that healing is possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. My past doesn’t have power over my future anymore because I want my life to be a story of redemption, not abuse. I decided to choose responsibility for my past and my future, and won’t let my victim story get in the way. When I came to prison I knew this might be the most important thing I would ever do. Think how different your perspective is when you decide the way you deal with the challenge you face is the most important thing you will ever do! Every morning I would say the words: “I know who I am, I am a beloved daughter of God, and I will decide my future! I’m not a victim of circumstance, and I won’t let the little things get in my way!” Now it doesn’t matter if it’s a big thing, or a little thing; I won’t let anything get in my way! In time everything became a little thing, even my victim story! I decided to trade in my victim story for a comeback story:)

Pride is the biggest danger when it comes to becoming amazing. Pride says: “I have to pretend to be amazing, I can’t admit I have weaknesses, or that I’ve made mistakes.” Pride says, “If I put on a good enough show everyone will think I’m amazing.” Pride says, “No one can know what I did, as long as no one knows it will be okay!” Pride says, “I’m doing great, everyone else is messed up.” Some of the mistakes that I made before I came to prison effected my children, and they are things I feel really bad about. Our family lived in a nice big home when Shelby was 14; she came to me and asked for my help, and I handled the situation terribly! She said: “Mom, I’m really struggling right now, I don’t know why I’m so sad but I think I need some help.” I looked right at Shelby and said, “I have nothing to give you, I am so depressed, so empty, and so discouraged I can hardly get up in the mornings. Whatever you want from me I don’t have it to give you; you will have to be strong and deal with it on your own.” That was a terrible time for me! We lived in a nice home, and things looked good from the outside, but I was so unhappy! I was under investigation at the time, and fighting for all the wrong things. When I apologized to Shelby recently she told me: “Mom, all I ever wanted was to be close to you, and I feel closer to you now than I ever have.” Can you imagine! I’m a good mother, and I’m in federal prison! I made a decision to repent, and put my family first, and now miracles are happening. Sadie, who is now 14, emailed me last week and said: “Learning to live without you will be the hardest thing I ever have to do mom, I love you.” She’s 14! How many 14 year olds even like their moms? We can make the right choice now, and it changes everything. It’s never to late! When we heal ourselves, our children heal too.

One of the things I like most about prison is what we call, “Ground Hog Day.” Every day in prison is the same, and it drives some people crazy. I love Ground Hog Day because every day I get the chance to do the same thing over again but not make the same mistakes. I don’t hold onto things like I used to; I know tomorrow is a new day, and that makes it easier to let go when I make a mistake. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just re-do our screw ups the next day? I think we can. My mistakes used to be such a big deal to me. To deal with the pain of my mistakes I tried lots of things: Working harder, buying more things, or taking prescription drugs. Why couldn’t I just say: “I made a mistake, I was wrong, I am sorry.” It would have been so much easier! The guilt I carried around was so much more painful than admitting my mistakes! The mistakes became monsters when I didn’t admit them. Sometimes we have to get help dealing with our mistakes. If that’s the case I suggest going to a support group, I have found them to be life changing! There just isn’t a mistake that is impossible to solve. We can all have a bright future, and our mistakes can become our blessing. I’m sitting in prison right now, and I believe my story is only beginning. There is so much good to look forward to, and I have faith that the best is yet to come. Now I know that happiness comes from victory over self, not pleasure. Thank you for reading my blog, you have become my support group, and give me a reason to fight when things seem impossible. I hope you will make the decision with me that whatever difficulty we are facing could be the most important thing we will ever do. Let’s choose wisely and become amazing!

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