Angel, 42

Meet Angel…

…My time here is coming to an end. I’ve survived it all, and now freedom is within reach. I feel as though this is all I’ve ever known. I wonder if it will ever be out of my system. I’ve refused to let prison make me or shape me, I’ve stayed un-institutionalized.

Incarcerated: 22 years
Housed: Fluvanna Correctional Facility, Troy, Virginia

Survivors

Once we’re born, we struggle to survive in many different ways. We start by scooting in order to move around, and then we start to crawl. Before too long we’re off running. Sometimes we run to nowhere, sometimes everywhere, but other times we run for our life. We run to get away. We all perceive things differently, so often we don’t see or comprehend what the situation is teaching us. We just think the world is out to get us. Some stay on top of the water, scared to get wet, while others will get in, but then doggy paddle through. Few of us venture into the water’s depth to see what’s really there.

We are all united by pain and love. They don’t differentiate between races or cultures. They speak the same language. We were created by God to live, to learn and to enjoy life, but most of us continued to take everything for granted. Yes, most of us have known the hands or words of hatred, bigotry, racism or abuse of some kind.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a God or that He doesn’t care. God gave us all free will, and with evil roaming the earth, it, unfortunately, corrupts people’s minds, but God gives us the strength to survive, not to be anyone’s victims.

We are survivors who couldn’t be broken so we can share our stories and save the life of someone else who’s unable to see the light through the darkness. We all feel alone sometimes, but we’re not just reaching out a hand. Someone is there. So spread your wings and fly. It’s ok.

You are a survivor.

Grief and Pain, I’d like to let people know that there are people here who do understand. That there is a light in the darkness. I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to submit work.

Freedom

Freedom is such a simple word, yet it stands for so much more. People fight wars for freedom. People escape countries for it. As for myself, I didn’t realize the special gift it was until I got locked up. I was in a prison cell at the age 20, when I realized I’d been in prison all my life. I’d suffered abuse at the hands of the ones who were meant to love and protect me. I didn’t realize the shackles my mind wore from it all. I didn’t like the person I saw in the mirror. I learned the hard way that no one could love me if I didn’t love myself first. I also quickly saw that I didn’t respect myself or know my worth. I hadn’t been taught any principles or values that parents are supposed to teach you.

I started a long journey of fixing and repairing broken pieces, trying to break free. My time here is coming to an end. I’ve survived it all, and now freedom is within reach. I feel as though this is all I’ve ever known. I wonder if it will ever be out of my system. I’ve refused to let prison make me or shape me, I’ve stayed un-institutionalized. I look forward to being really free, but everyone takes things for granted. To me, freedom means so much, but actually being free from even the chains of my mind will be a taste of heaven I’ve never known.

My first day out, I want real food, a nice shower to wash the prison away, to walk around without shackles or an officer, to watch the stars as they come out and breathe in the fresh air of freedom. I stand strong and healthy knowing I’m wonderfully made by God, who loves me and who I now know intimately. I will walk out these gates as a woman of God, a woman of worth and a survivor, I walk into freedom.

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