I knew that I would be cut off from the outside world when I came to prison. I was afraid to be disconnected from my friends and family but also knew I would need to engage in a new chapter of my life and make new friends. Writing isn’t a talent that I freely posses. The pain that I felt after I was sentenced prompted me to reach out to others through writing my blog and sharing on Facebook. In doing so, I have found great strength, hope and healing.
That being said this has been the best week I have had in prison so far. My time here is going to be a blessing in so many ways! As I have said before, our Father in Heaven is all powerful and even the federal government doesn’t hold a candle to his power. The depression that I’ve experienced is dissipating and each day I meet more amazing women! There are over 1400 women at FCI Dublin. If I would have gone to the camp I would be housed with around 300 women. They have more freedom at the camp and there are other benefits such as violent criminals are not housed there. I have become convinced that this is exactly where I should be. They have a great education department here and the staff in education really seem interested in the women’s long term success and safety. I have carried my Book of Mormon everywhere I go this week and anytime that I feel alone or sad I open it up and read. It has made such a difference, I feel so much peace. If you don’t believe me, you should try it, regardless of where you are at in life. I expect the Bible can do the same thing and I will start reading that next. It is amazing to me that it has the very real power to pull me out of darkness, fear and depression. I have read my scriptures every morning for years but haven’t carried them with me and opened them up whenever I am struggling. I told my husband when I was put in jail for my mental evaluation that the Book of Mormon was a shield and protection to me and that it is powerful and can dispel all evil. Yesterday in the kitchen a particularly unkind manager who might be the most unhappy person that I have ever met in my life, snapped at me. I had been released from my duties and another inmate that I know needed some help. I was standing close by so I offered to help her and the manager yelled, ” Mind your own business! Do you want to go to the shu (segregated housing unit)?” She added, “I wasn’t talking to you, who do you think you are? You need to mind your own business! ” Another inmate came up to me afterwards and said, ” You just need to stand up to her and tell her to F*** off, She won’t back down until you do.” I said, “Never in my whole life have I talked to another person that way and I wont start now.” I had already read my scriptures for an hour during my break and was surprised when her comment didn’t even faze me. I turned around and walked away without a word and took a break to read for another 30 minutes. I am amazed at the peace and comfort available through something as simple as reading scriptures.
Prison is very beaurocratic, after all it is run by the federal government 🙂 I hear things all the time like, ” You need to follow the chain of command and It’s a long process.” Getting my garments is more work than shooting ten weddings on the outside:) I am up for the challenge though and will get them because I need the strength and protection. I met with a counselor and was informed that Chad will likely not be able to come visit me the entire time I’m here because of the way the government charged him. I was heart broken for a day and then I decided that I will not give up so easily. He is my husband and I need to be able to see him and I can’t let government beaurocracy get in the way of things that are so important. Surely the government isn’t in the business of denying my religious freedoms or tearing up our family? But they are doing their best!
My last day in the kitchen is Monday and I couldn’t be happier! I now have a job in education and I’m so excited! I will be helping women get their GED’s and help them with resumes. I am beyond excited to teach photography classes and even hope to help women get jobs as photographers on the outside. Photography has been such a confidence builder and also provides a good income:) I am finding my purpose and couldn’t be more excited! There are pros and cons to everything, maybe the reason I needed to be in the kitchen was to really appreciate a job in education. In my free time I have put together a curriculum and lesson plans for a new photography class and It almost feels like I am doing exactly what I was meant to do. I love teaching photography and have built a successful business doing it. I see so much potential here.
When I first got here I was surprised and disappointed by so many things that I saw women engaged in. Everywhere I looked I saw offensive behavior. I know things haven’t changed that much so it must be something inside me that is changing. I see so much more good in people and haven’t noticed the bad. It helps me realize that the Lord does work from the inside out. He has changed my heart. When I first arrived I saw only darkness and I felt so alone and depressed but today I thought, I love this place! I love that we all wear the same kaki clothes, it takes away so much of the foolish pride and in a very small way it reminds me of the temple, we are all the same. Most of these women would do anything for a fellow sister. If someone is sick or needs help they turn to each other. In part because medical care is pretty weak but more importantly there is a sisterhood here that I have felt only in the gospel. All pretense is swept away and we are on equal ground. I miss my family but I know the best thing I can do for them is live a healthy life here and be anxiously engages in a good cause. I am even finding purpose in my past mistakes. I spent years when I was younger inactive in my church, angry and resentful. I have been able to connect to many of the women here in part because I understand them and love them. I am Looking forward to staying in touch with all of you:) If you have written me or commented please know how much I appreciate your kindness. I have been pretty busy here and like I said everything is a long process, even sending a letter!
Thank you for your prayers!
I send all my love to our many friends and family who have shown so much kindness to us.