The Felonious PhD.

White Collar Female PhD. Felon, Prison Camp, Re-Entry, Criminal Justice Reform. Women, Lesbian

I Am Soaring…..

“I AM SOARING”

I want Free
free
free
That is what I desire
That is what I need

Trapped in a perception of
less than and inferior
held captive
when those in charge
are without
intellect, concrete thinking
math skills
forced to adhere to
illogical, nonsensical, irreverent
absurd and never
ending
extreme
stupidity
no room
for dignity
or compassion

I want Free
free
free
That is what I desire
That is what I need

Wondering how? why?
what for? and what next?
moving through this space with an
open mind
mindlessly moving
forward to
another space in my head
to get to where
I want
I need and
still being true
to where I am
stuck in
someone else’s
DREAM

I want Free
free
free
That is what I desire
That is what I need

Intrinsically knowing
always open for
new
answers
to new questions
and still remaining
loving in the
absence of a
clear premise for where
who and when the love
is needed wanted
or desired
I AM WOMAN
my heart
screams and the world
yells back vehemently
SO WHAT!!

I want Free
free
free
That is what I desire
That is what I need

No more searching
or questioning
a sense of belonging
giving only what I
feel like giving
and absolutely
no more
moving through this
process with
all of me
with
soul
truth and
complete dignity
I WONT BE DENIED!

I want Free
free
free
That is what I desire
That is what I need

Forever the optimist
not because of others
only depending on
my own heart desires
and knowledge of
my own
consciousness of truth
interconnected
tethered and
bred in
a systemic
country that
has countrywomen/men
who make
the wrong damn rules
that blind our
perceptions of
what this all is
and gives
way to our
innate ability to
hate instead
of love

I am FREE
FREE
FREE
That is what I AM
That is all I will ever BE!

Felonious PhD 2/2015 Black History Month

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My Life of Absurdity Part 2……..Trying to Make Sense of a Senseless Job…”To Infinity and Beyond!”

Over the past 5 years I have witnessed and been involved in several interactions with those employed by the Criminal Justice System.  Nearly 100% of those interactions have left me questioning, “WHAT IN THE HELL IS MY WONDERFUL COUNTRY THINKING?!”  and also I want to know, “DOES ANYONE IN CHARGE TRULY KNOW THIS IS HAPPENING?!”  I have many questions, but those are the two that I was confronted with today.

Daily, if we(inmates) want to watch the t.v. we must carry our assigned green plastic chair to the t.v. room from our bunks.  Often if there is a good show or any type of special show on television the women will place their chairs in the t.v. room to secure a decent spot.   (keep in mind there are two small t.v. rooms for over 135 women!) I typically stay away from the crowds and hustle and bustle about the t.v. I could care less to be honest.  So most days I will go sit in the news and sports room where there is no crowd and catch up on what is going on in the world or in the play world of sports.  This evening as I walked by the news t.v. room there was a show on CNN about Malcolm X.  I decided to go in and sit in an empty chair and proceeded to watch the show.  (bad idea!!!, lol)  As the show was heading into a commercial the Officer in Charge (OIC) lets call him Mr. Buzz Lightyear!  came in and sat down in one of the empty chairs.   It was unusual but I thought nothing of it.  He often bounces around trying to keep himself busy and in the mix.   I got up and headed to the bathroom before the commercial ended and the show came back on and this is what occurred afterwards:

(Loudspeaker Announcement)  LITTLE! LITTLE! Please come to the OIC office!

(I head to the OIC office and run into the OIC as I was on my way)

ME:  Mr. Lightyear did you call me?

MR lightyears:  Yes, Little, I need you to wash some windows!

ME: (looking a bit perplexed)  O    K    A    Y!!!– Why?!!

Mr. Lightyear: (looking baffled that I asked) Because you left your chair in the t.v. room!!

ME: (getting pissed and annoyed-also fresh from watching Malcolm X, lol) ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!   Mr. Lightyear are you really that bored?

Mr. Lightyear:  (turning red and stuttering) Would you like to talk to Ms. Counselor and tell her you make the rules?

ME: ( looking real lost right now!! lol) Huh?! Are you putting words in my mouth?

(then it hits me!  I was standing outside in some ugly ass crocs, men socks a too big grey t-shirt and men shorts down below my knees. I reminded myself that I am the inmate!)  OKAY! Mr. Lightyear what do you want me to do?  I never bother anyone, I mind my business, just want to get through my time peacefully.  What do you want me to do?!!!

Mr. Lightyear: (looking confused but now also trapped in this ridiculous convo) Come to the OIC office tomorrow and just wash a couple of windows.

ME: OKAY! no problem!  ( as I walked off saying every curse word I could think of and some made up ones in my head)

I immediately headed towards my bunk to get my pen and pencil.  I had to write this craziness down to get it out of my system.  As I explained the incident to a few of the other women they offered their own perceptions of what occurred.  I did not view it as a racial issue, I did not view it as a misogynistic issue, I did not see it as a you think you are better but I will show you issue.  I saw it then and I clearly see it now as an issue of a human being trying to make sense(purpose) out of his senseless(purposeless) job.  These types of interactions validate my initial thoughts that it is just as difficult for the keeper of ignorance to remain close to some element of dignity and internal control as it is for the inmate to adhere to the ridiculousness.

I reminded myself that I am the inmate and needed to acquiesce as I did in court to the absurdity of this process and in doing so at that moment I was empowered to take care of me.  It was also completely and profoundly clear to me who was and will remain “IMPRISONED” by this system as long as he/she is dependent on it for its survival(basic needs).  My stay is temporary!!!!!!!!

I am thankful that I encompass the ability to first check myself(ego) without giving anyone the power to kill my spirit and soul.  I am extremely grateful that I was born and raise to be who and where I am at any given moment.  If you are unfortunately involved with the Criminal Justice System and feel complete enslaved by the process I will once again tell you to “FREE YOURSELF”.  At this moment and time they(the system) can control your actions but they(system) can never control your mind!!

Be Strong and Love Yourself!

Felonious Ph.D. 2/2015…………………………..The Journey continues!

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Paper Roses, Microwave Chocolates and Kool-Aid…………Valentines Day in Prison Camp

Yesterday was the nationally designated day of LOVE. Well needless to say, as I sit here at the Federal Prison Camp, it was a bit of a challenge for me to truly embrace the full meaning of the day. Also, I am not one who feels that one day is sufficient to tell those who are tethered to you that they are loved, to me that is a daily necessity.

The incredible thing about being around 100-plus women in a small area at this time is that I am afforded the opportunity to witness how truly incredible and resilient the woman spirit is no matter what the circumstances are at any given moment. Throughout the unit you could find small gatherings of women either making a variety of microwave chocolates, various colored paper roses or beautifully hand crafted Valentine cards to celebrate the day.

Being that we are in prison or let me clarify the prison camp, everyday is about us being subjected to deprivation, disenfranchisement and isolation from those we love, instead of enjoying our sweet treats with a nice crisp, fruity smelling wine, we are privy to partake in a nice cold plastic filled container of grape kool-aid. Yes, I said grape kool-aid and I have a big smile on my face! Life is good!(lol).

This is a period in my life that I will never ever forget. And I will always remind myself how important it is to love myself and tell others that they should practice self- love too. I will also remain cognizant of how incredibly creative, strong and powerful the woman spirit is no matter what is going on in my life. Being here I am forced to rely on my own strength and sense of self to wake up peaceful, sane and loving.

If you happen on this space and you are enduring a life-changing experience, are alone, isolated and feeling down, I am encouraging you to go buy yourself some Grape Kool-Aid and love on yourself. That is my plan for the day. I am thankful as always that, “I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any and every given moment”.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Happy Valentines Day!!!!!!

Felonious PhD. 2/2015

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Diary of an Imprisoned Soul Part 2…….The Soundtrack of My Present Life

When I was in the first 6 months of this crowded, loud, chaotic and often disorganized setting called a Federal Prison Camp, I often found myself debilitated by the ongoing chatter, loud speaker announcements and daily noise from being in a small space with over 150 women of all ages.   The constant noise, complete lack of silence (ever), and little to no time alone was far from normal to me.

As a youth growing up with a challenging childhood, I have always found ways to cope and maneuver through chaos and confusion.  As I grew older I always found time and space for quiet and peace.   Now as I sit here in the Federal Prison Camp in Victorville, California nearly every waking moment is filled with some sort of noise.  I honestly feel as though I have grown some super human powers, because often in this environment all of my senses seem to be heightened and on overload.  As a Counselor, Foster Parent, and a mother I have spent my entire life actively listening to others.  So I am used to the constant conversations.   Now as I am involuntarily trapped within this warehouse space where there is no where to go for solitude, I find myself silently screaming, “PLEASE BE QUIET”.  Whew! Women sure can talk, talk and talk, lol!

Instead of chancing a nervous breakdown or needing to take myself to the “pill line,” I decided, after the first 6 months here, that I must get passed my stubborn resistance to buying any of the FBOP endorsed products.  I had to purchase one of the OVERPRICED MP3 players and download some music.  For me music, sports, and the written word has always provided me a sense of peace, inspiration, and joy.  What I now realize is that I should not have waited so long to make that critical purchase.

Once I downloaded some of my favorite songs and a group of meditation songs and loaded the OVERPRICED MUSIC on my MP3 I felt an immediate shift in my mood, body and my soul.  My daily mindful walks became my therapy and I began feeling a certain level of connectedness with my experience.  I have always relied on words in all forms to assist with providing me clarity, a sense of self and a way to exude the passion I have for life.  So after purchasing my MP3 and music I got my groove back quickly.

Over the past 16 months I have downloaded many OVERPRICED songs onto my MP3 player, each song signifying something deep and meaningful to me.   I refuse to move through this process pretending that it is normal for me.  I am not capable of resisting or pretending that it does not encompass many of the structurally oppressive means I have despised and endured my entire life.  But my music is providing me a balance and a means to remain connected to the CORE of me.  The isolation and loneliness I am experiencing is often neutralized by my being attentive to the written word and music.  The music gives me the connection that I crave, to all that was, all that is present, and gives me the soulful energy move happily towards my tomorrow.

Daily I listen to artist such as, Tracy Chapman who reminds me that, “I Am Born to Fight”.  And as I fight through this process I can and must “Dream of a World”, that is worthy of my fight.  Then I transition into India.Arie who encourages me that, no matter what, every day I wake up is a “Beautiful Day”.  Her words hug me as she whispers, so soulfully, that “This too Shall Pass”.  While all I need to do is tap into my, “Strength, Courage and Wisdom” and always remain cognizant that no matter what, “There’s Hope.”  As I wind down my evening with my after dinner walk on the “track of tears” and hit the first corner of the track, Mary J. Blige belts out through the darkness that “I Can See in Color” and passionately share with my soul that like her I am “Living Proof” that a loving, caring, soulful, woman, mother can and will endure anything and be her Super Woman self.  Going into my last lap as I visually witness the beautiful sunset and the bright, translucent Moon shine, I blast and I mean I blast in my ear, Pharrell’s song “Happy.”   Whew, Life is worth living!

I am not in control of much in my life at this moment.  Being acutely aware of that, tears at my soul every moment of every day.  But I can control most of the noise that goes into my brain, touches my heart, and directly hugs my soul. That is exactly what my music and MP3 provides for me daily.  Once again words soothe, nurture and put me right in the middle of my happy place.  I will never take words for granted.

If you are unfortunately interfacing with the Federal Criminal “Justice” System or any major life changing crisis, I am telling you right now to create a “Soundtrack for your Life!”  And if you are unfortunately going to be incarcerated and have the ability to purchase the OVERPRICED FBOP MP3 player and download music, please do it!   It is just as important for you to write down a list of 50 songs and artist names as it is to create a list of addresses and phone numbers of the people who you will need to contact once you are incarcerated.  Create those lists and mail them to yourself two or three days prior to your self-surrender date or leave the lists with someone you can depend on to send them to you later.   I am telling you that you will need them.  The music will be your life saver, on the days you are out of phone minutes, cannot contact anyone, computers are down, you are depressed and sad, you are feeling alone, your soundtrack will sustain, nurture and empower to move forward soulfully and also keep your heart full.

I am thankful for the “Soundtrack of my Life”.  Once again the power of words is keeping me alive, sane and whole.

Felonious Ph.D. 2/2015

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Diary of an Imprisoned Soul Pt. 1……………..Shout out to Marissa Alexander (Super Woman)!

This weekend I was fortunate to watch my favorite news anchor, MSNBC-Melissa Harris Perry’s interview with Marissa Alexander. Marissa Alexander is  black, a woman, and a mother who was the victim of domestic violence in Florida and later became a victim of the Federal Criminal Justice System as well. At least once a month I can count on Melissa Harris Perry doing a segment on Mass Incarceration and the challenges that our communities across the country have with the Criminal Justice System. I often find myself craving any form of dialogue surrounding the subject with hope that most of the conversations would lead into some critical analysis of how we need to seriously look at the formation of the Judicial System in America and proceed expeditiously to make some formidable and courageous changes.

Melissa Harris Perry’s interview with Marissa Alexander was just what this incarcerated, black, woman, mother needed. Marissa spoke with passion about her challenges with the Federal Criminal Justice system and the effects is has had on her life as well as her children’s lives. Her story just validated my core beliefs that it is not anger and bitterness that will free us from our internal pains and challenges, even when we feel we have been treated unfairly and without any regard to the truth, it is truly love and love of self that will set us forever free. When asked what she was going to do next, Marissa did not skip a beat when she stated with confidence, love and joy that her first priority was to reintegrate into the lives of her children who she has been separated from for 2 years. Even though she will continue to deal with her legal battles, she will be afforded the opportunity to do so from home as the Federal Criminal Justice system, instead of correcting its wrong, AMENDED her sentence by providing her the opportunity to do the duration of her next two years on home confinement. There is a lot more to that statement but it does not matter at this moment! What helped me as I listened to Marissa’s story, a mother who should not have been incarcerated, was that she is not focusing on anything other than assisting her children who were now teenagers and need her more than anything at this period of their lives.

As I sat there and looked at the television I saw myself, a woman, a black woman, a black woman mother who was now labeled a felon who was saving her own life so that she could be there for her children, I felt proud. I was also proud to hear and see that our stories can be told and received through the media.

Throughout my 50 years of life I have witnessed first hand how women are often placed in positions where they have to literally fight physically, emotionally and spiritually to stay soulfully alive. After overcoming being a welfare offspring, to spending more than half my life in the profession of Child Welfare and now enduring nearly 5 years with the Federal Criminal justice System I can honestly say with some conviction that I am a “SUPER WOMAN”. It takes someone special and soulful to overcome an experience like this, and that is the truth!

I am thankful that Marissa Alexander is sharing her story. I hope she knows that she too is a “SUPER WOMAN” and I am so happy she is home with her children which is where we all should be! I hope more women who have unfortunately interfaced with the Criminal Justice System share their stories. We truly are the only ones who can save ourselves!!

Felonious Ph.D. 2/2015

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