Life In Prison

My First Fight at Waseca

That title may be misleading.  It wasn’t really my fight, but it was the first that I witnessed here.  I’m working in the career resource center, which is located in the recreation department. One of the things that I like about my job is that it’s in the rec department and when I feel claustrophobic I can quickly go outside.  I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for the peace that I feel when I go outside! The downside to recreation is that many of the fights and inappropriate sexual conduct take place there. A few days ago I walked into a stall in the bathroom at rec and thought I was alone, I looked up and saw two large black girls staring down at me and they seemed very serious. I said, “Hey guys, what’s up?” One of the girls said, “You’re in my favorite stall.” I said, “If you’ll hold on a minute it will be all yours.” The other girl said, “She needs it right now!” I smiled and said, “I was just leaving.” Then I walked around the corner and listened to the girls beat each other up.

Later at lunch I sat down to eat with three other women and told them what had happened. One of the women was a co-worker of mine and asked id I had told the officer on duty what was going on?  I told her that I didn’t because I didn’t want to put myself in any danger. Another girl at the table said that I had done the right thing not to say anything because you have to mind your own business in prison.  She told me, “Those girls needed to fight anyway!” I guess everyone on the compound had already heard about the fight but the girls comment surprised me so I asked her what she meant by it.  She said that you can’t just let someone disrespect you in prison or everyone will think you’re a punk.  I told her that I  would let people disrespect me, all day long because I would avoid fighting at all costs.  The other girl we were eating with said, “So you would just let someone punk you out?” I said, “Absolutely, if someone tried to hit me I would run to the officer and cry like a girl!”  The older woman I work with emphatically added that she would run as well.  Both girls laughed and told my co-worker that no one would beat her up because she’s old.   My co-worker is about 70 years old, but she’s sharp as a tack.  She responded that that was great news to know that she wouldn’t be fighting and then suggested that maybe I should get my hair colored grey,  I hear cosmetology is going to be dying hair soon you could use a little twinkle up there which made me laugh. Mostly because I fight hard to pluck the grays now! (There are only a couple!:) The two women fighting have already been taken to the SHU.  It was impressive to see how quickly staff members took care of the incident. Truthfully, I feel safe here, this is a great prison as far as prisons go. Sometimes I feel like I’ve come to prison paradise, the staff are respectful, it’s clean, beautiful, and the environment is much better than I’m used to. But many of the women in prison have been raised to think that it takes courage to get into a fight.

This week has been harder than usual for me, I miss my family so much! I can’t even describe the ache I have inside my heart right now. I know my family is loved and protected and that gives me a lot of comfort but I just want to be home with them right now.  My legal case seems to drag on and it can get discouraging at times. Looking back I have so many regrets! I was always so busy with photography, real estate, fighting my legal case, and any other emergency that came along. I’m grateful for the experiences I’m having in prison but being separated from my family is so painful! I’m studying a book by Steven Covey called “The 7 habits of highly effective people” and I’ve found it to be very helpful. I’m also reading a biography on the virtues of Abraham Lincoln that I really like. Both books talk about having a center or foundation based on principles, In truth I spent a lot of my life worrying about what other people thought rather than what was really going on inside of me. I’m working on changing that and grateful to have the time to study and learn right now.

It seems harder to find political leaders who’s actions I admire these days. I’m removed from the outside world right now, but when I catch a piece of the news it saddens me because the political affairs in our country are disappointing.  I try not to focus on it because I can’t change it, instead I’m working on living a principle centered life in prison. I had a cool experience last Sunday. As I left the kitchen after dinner a Lieutenant said, “Hey Louder, come over here.” I was nervous that the Lieutenant knew my name, I have tried really hard to stay under the radar at this prison. Unfortunately, being under the radar has never been my strong suite. I asked the Lieutenant how he knew my name and he smiled and said, “I just do.” Then he said, “Just wanted you to know that I’m LDS too, and if there’s anything you need help with please let me know.” I can’t tell you what it meant to me to find out I’m not alone as a member of the Church. The next day when I saw the Lieutenant I asked him if he could help me get some LDS volunteers to come into the prison. He told me he would be glad to help and I found out it’s already in the works. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass! I wish I had something more inspirational to share today, but right now my heart just aches for my family. I’m getting through prison one day at a time. My leg seems to be completely healed, I’m so grateful for your prayers! My lawyer told me to expect to hear from the judge within a month and I’m trying to stay positive. If I have to appeal his decision it could take a year, which is discouraging.
Take care my friends, I miss you all and look forward to a day that I will be blogging from home not Federal prison:)

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