The Felonious PhD.

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

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

on February 9, 2015

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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