Samantha, 35

Samantha, 35

Meet Samantha…

“I feel I am labeled as inmate 3306. Underneath all of the stigma I am a person. I am a fighter and I have strength. I have made mistakes, however I am taking the proper steps to make changes to my life.”

Samantha, 35

Incarcerated: 2.5 years

Housed: Wyoming Women’s Center, Lusk

I believe that I have been through life with a struggle. Right now I feel I am labeled as inmate 3306. Underneath all of the stigma I am a person. I am a fighter and I have strength. I have made mistakes, however I am taking the proper steps to make changes to my life. I am searching for clarity and supportive people who will help me on my journey. I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree and I am hoping to do it in social work. I truly believe that every human on this earth does deserve a second chance for change. I am on a journey and I am eager to spread my wings and fly. I hope I can find positive people who will help me with my fight.

 

Morgan, 33

Morgan, 33

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Meet Morgan…

Prison has been a roller coaster of self exploration and a chance to see the world around me with a clear mind.

Morgan, 33
Incarcerated: 2.5 years
Housed: Wyoming Women’s Center, Lusk, WY

I never felt good enough for a good guy because of my abusive past relationships. I had little to no self-worth. I’m trying to break the patterns now and it’s deeper than my relationships with others, it’s finding out who I am and what good I can put back into the world. It seems like my first experience with loss and heartache threw me into a dangerous self-destructive whirlwind and I’ve never quite been able to reel myself back in. It was like only other broken people magnetized to me and I guess that’s part of the law of attraction. Love has changed so much over the years.

When I was young it was new, bright, and airy. Love now feels like an achy, empty dark hole in my heart. I am a broken person, but I’m not going to waste the time I am here, leaving the pieces on the ground. I am doing my best to piece it back together into a beautiful mosaic of different chapters of my life. I’ve been through some crazy stuff since being incarcerated… Finding out I was pregnant, realizing my family and I could not raise her, choosing an adopted family, going through the heartache of not keeping my child after birth, being handed down a life altering sentence, and finding myself again. It has been a roller coaster of self exploration and a chance to see the world around me with a clear mind. I’ve realized most of my so-called friends were not going to be by my side, and I’ve learned to be okay alone. I’m in a different state where I don’t have one familiar face, but I’m alive and I know I will come out better on the other side. Thank you for letting me share. And to you, our Humans of SQ audience – thank you for being here.

Brittany, 28

Brittany, 28

Meet Brittany…

Love is kind, patient, love is with pure intention. Love never gives up, it is our only hope for peace and it should be our mission in life.

Brittany, 28
Incarcerated: 3 years
Housed: Wyoming Women’s Center, Lusk

How do I see love? 

It took my desire to love and to be loved to reach a point of explosion. I decided to stop being that door mat, the person everyone could use and abuse however they pleased. Love was as strange to me as a foreign language. Love meant my parents fed us so we could focus on something other than survival. The circumstances of my unfortunate beginnings instilled in me a sense of low self-worth and created an ideal space for us to beg for every ounce of affection. It wasn’t long before I was an adult by law, but a struggling and scared child at heart. Having spent my entire life focused on the well being of my siblings and myself, I was convinced love was just a fairytale. What stood between me and my dream of being loved was the idea that I wasn’t worthy of such things. I have seen examples of love and have formed my own opinion on how people should be loved. I learned it doesn’t hurt, it is something we can and should give freely. Love is kind, patient, love is with pure intention. Love never gives up, it is our only hope for peace and it should be our mission in life. When judged, scorned, forgotten and abandoned, choose love. Love because you can, not because it’s beneficial or expected. This is how I see love.

Shawnda, 43

Shawnda, 43

Meet Shawnda…

I became addicted because it made me comfortable in my own skin.

Shawnda, 43
Incarcerated: 2 years
Housed: Wyoming Women’s Center, Lusk
It didn’t help that my mother died when I was 10, she was shot by my step dad, then he shot himself. I saw the aftermath and it traumatized me for life. I grew up institutionalized, in group homes, juvenile detention centers and foster homes. I never belonged anywhere. I was shown how to alter my mind with many different chemicals. I became addicted because it made me comfortable in my own skin. I had my first baby at 17, and still knew nothing about God. The moment I realized there was a God, I was fasting with the Arapaho people and a pipe. My son’s father prepared me and told me to “pray through that pipe.” For three days I fasted and prayed. I thought “Why can’t I just pray to God myself, why do I have to go through the pipe?” That night it was raining, and I got rained on in that teepee. I remember covering my head and crying. I asked God why I was raised so poor, and to help me get ahead for the sake of my kids. Then lightning struck right outside my teepee. My vow was fulfilled. I got a nice apartment and my children their home, but I messed it up with alcohol. I was the driver of the car wreck where my two babies passed away. I passed out at the wheel under the influence and in the heat. I went to prison. Then their father tragically overdosed and died. I got out of prison, tried to go to college, built a family, and lived a straight life. Yet again, I allowed alcohol to destroy everything. No one ever says: when you give your life to Christ it’s going to be easy, but why has it been such a rollercoaster for me? I’m so tired of the ups and downs. I’m doing a 15 year sentence for aggravated robbery under the influence. I violated rich peoples’ homes because I was envious. I stole a vehicle with a gun and jewelry in a bag. Getting money to shoot up dope was all that was on my mind. The family I made is very unforgiving to me, it breaks my heart everyday and it’s been two years. I know He’s a forgiving God. The question is: will I ever forgive myself?

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