First off, I want to thank all of you so much for all of the incredible support being thrown my way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So here I am back in SHU (solitary) and I’m not sure why. It’s been four days and I haven’t been told yet, but I’m sure I’ll know soon enough…. So now, not only have I been taken away from my community, my loved ones on the outs, but now I have been taken away from the community on the inside, my unit….
I want to be very clear: Prison is incredibly fucked up even at the best of times, but that doesn’t mean people can’t create community within these circumstances. We do.
When I was in my unit I was part of a community. I gave support and received support. I learned from people and I taught. My unit doesn’t have educational opportunities so we created our own. I taught math, reading, and lead a workout group. I was part of something, part of laughter and part of tears; part of a shared experience (not that any of us want to be part of a this). I was a part of growth, part of a community that comes together again and again as our units make up changes.
But I am no longer in that unit, no longer in that community.
So here I am back in the SHU.… my rec yard time is now very limited (the yard isn’t actually outside, it’s fresh air and room to roam). I’ll be real, the lack of space and fresh air is hard. The very little freedoms (you know like, choosing when to take a shower…) are gone.
I think that the hardest part of this is that being in solitary (like all parts of prison) doesn’t just affect the person in solitary, this experience doesn’t just affect me. Being in the SHU you get one phone call a month. One. 1. o-n-e. That affects people. Friends, families… I know this is true for my own. It’s a whole lot harder to ask my parents, family, and friends to trust that I am OK when I can only call them once a month. Prior to the SHU, I would call my parents once a day and a good friend or two once a week…. I could let my loved ones know in real time that I was ok.
Its not ok how much this affects others and I truly believe that is an intentional part of punishment. The prison knows that it hurts us to hurt our loved ones.
But it is not all bad. I’m figuring out ways to stay fit in my cell. I’m learning so much about myself and getting really good at enjoying my own company, and I’m getting more study time.
Oh yeah, everything is bright orange, like, everything! So, that’s pretty rad; like the Destiny’s Child video for Say My Name….
Anywho, knowing this isn’t breaking me, knowing that I’m still laughing, still smiling, makes me feel stronger than ever before.
Keep smiling, keep struggling.
In solidarity and gratitude,
P.S. I can totally get letters, but please continue to be patient with me. Return time may be even longer. Postage has got to stretch a bit further these days.