How are you, sis? I am happy to hear about the news about your receiving a new trial. I imagine your children are excited that their mommy might be coming home. I also imagine that with that same enthusiasm on their end comes your hesitance to allow yourself to become too excited because of the uncertainties of real justice in this justice system. I imagine that those apprehensions stem from your disdain, surprise, heartache, and other ominous feelings of unfairness that you are in prison in the first place; that some of those sentiments come from your disgust that a Black woman has been punished for finally standing up for herself against normalized dominance of women from the hands of men; that your children have been vicariously punished by the justice system because their mom was protecting them from harm; that maintaining a sense of reality means that you cannot get your hopes up inside of that place because on the other end of not being released means explaining and re-explaining to yourself that you will survive in that hell hole; that not being release means managing the emotions of your children who might not be able to cope as well as you may; that not being released means you have to deal with the everyday possibilities of harm by COs and prison administrators; that not being released will strike a blow in your psyche that might lead you to question if it is a woman’s place to protect herself and her family from male oppression and harm; that not being released means more everyday battles for sanity and a sense of self-esteem that is so shrewdly designed to recreate feelings of nothingness, helplessness, and hopelessness.
Marissa, sis, I come from that place of incarceration, spending 10 years, two months, and seven days of my life there. I spent my entire 20’s in cages of insanity. I battled and battled and battled everyday against to maintain my sense of esteem and sanity. And, I won. Winning is possible. It’s like a personal mantra I had to remind of myself everyday. Sis, it was hard as hell, no chaser. If it wasn’t for my ability to write to myself everyday and the support of family and friends I do not know how WE would have won that battle. I say, we, because there was a community of folks that were fighting that fight with me everyday. That community sustained me, gave me life, energy, a sense of rightness, importance, and relevance. We won as a community. And just like that community that helped me win I am sharing that same community of comrades that will fight with you. We will sustain and provide comfort for you. We believe in you and applaud your regal strength. We are here for you and your children. Marissa, we are our sister’s keeper, and I am thankful to share the everyday victories of sanity that we will sustain together.
Love you and in Peace,