The Felonious PhD.

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

Diary of an Imprisoned Soul Part 7…………. The Authentic Manifestation of my Woman Self

on May 18, 2015

Nearly 12 months ago I happened upon old VHS recordings of several black writers, one being James Baldwin, which I watch religiously on a weekly basis. Another one that I completely love watching is the story of a Black writer named, Chester Himes. I had never heard of him before watching the video, but the video explained that he was the author and screenwriter for the well known black film I love called “Cotton Comes to Harlem.” Mr. Himes story resonates with me for several reasons, but mainly because he was a famous Black writer, an intellectual thinker, a soulful being, and he was imprisoned for 8 years in an Ohio prison. There is much about his story that keeps me watching it over and over and over again, but I am particularly taken by how he and many other black writers and artists, wrote and spoke about their struggle with the identity of their black-self in relation to being accepted as credible voices in our American Society. That ongoing battle is so hauntingly synonymous with many writers and artists that I love. I find these voices so very powerful not only as I sit in the Federal Prison Camp but also because of our current social climate. It is as though our present is once again just as our past.  As I crawl through this American Criminal Justice System process without any control over many of my liberties, I am often faced with formulating daily plans and rituals to get me through. I have chosen to participate within this structure as an active spectator, one who really wants to understand its purpose or lack of purpose and develop anecdotal narratives to assist those behind me with transitioning through this oppressive environment whole and sane. The idealist and motivator within me often implores me to speak in an inspiring tone in regards to my experience. The imprisoned soul inside of me, forces me to speak from a real authentic “consciousness of truth” and give voice to how incredibly hard this has been for me as a human, a woman and a mother soul.
To keep my wits about me, I rush to those videos and books and I urgently embrace how they (other artist and imprisoned souls) managed to endure, survive, and excel past their circumstances and existence in our often challenging society. What I have learned is that nothing that I am questioning or enduring is new. Others have survived worse and emerged as incredible writers, leaders, advocates and so on. In knowing that, I have decided I must continue to add to the narratives that have been told about our (human soul’s) experiences, no matter if they are bitter or sweet, so that anyone who may encounter the same or similar struggles that I have during this process, will be able to say as I do, “I am not alone!”. That is going to be my ongoing journey from here on. To tell my story from my perspective as a caring, soulful, loving being who only wants to live life peaceful, without fear and doubt.

Mr. Himes made a very profound statement regarding his life of imprisonment that resonates very deeply with me. He said, “I think it (being imprisoned) has partially convinced me, or I tried to convince myself that it has convinced me, that I could never be hurt as much as I have already been hurt.” Lately I have found myself rewinding that loud VHS over and over again to hear that statement repeated over and over again, (no I am not going crazy, lol) but I want to seek clarity in his statement and clearly understand its lasting effects on his being. Without sounding a bit esoteric, I don’t think that Mr. Himes was simply speaking of being hurt by an individual, speaking of a global pain that stems from not truly feeling connected to, or loved by our Country (United States of America). Mr. Himes like many other American writers and artists, lived and died in another country. Lately, I have paid a lot attention to how any and every level of disenfranchisement can harden or discourage the human soul. After a life of 51 years of striving for the American Dream I completely understand the desire to just want to live in peace, without questioning your worth or sense of belonging. In 1984 Mr. Chester Himes died at HOME in Spain.

Yes, I tend to over think many things, but I completely connect with how many imprisoned souls and artists may feel unwanted and unloved by their own Country. As a Ex-Licensed Clinical Social Worker, ex-Counselor, ex-licensed Foster mom (lol, I write that and laugh to myself, a real inside joke!) and an inspiring writer, I am acutely aware of my internal struggles with wanting to remain an active participant in my liberation as I leave this space. I am acutely aware of how my voice will be subjected to scrutiny and be disregarded by some because I am now a FELON. I have always encompassed a level of self expression that would place me at odds with the status quo. Now, because of my experience as an imprisoned soul, the manifestation of me, has progressed to a level of empowerment and freedom that has allowed me to clearly define my own voice. In addition, I have enhanced my hearing and completely opened my heart which has provided me with the opportunity to grow into the entirety of ME!!!!. I am truly ready for whatever!

I am so grateful and thankful for those old VHS tapes and that the Government is so archaic and still have VHS tvs, lol! I despise this environment and the Criminal Justice System for how it has completely ruined some very good, productive human souls lives, but I am thankful that while I am here there are historical therapeutic, tangible means for me to become a better me. Mr. Himes and many other writers have provided me with a roadmap that allows me to empower myself without doubt and fear. I am not finished yet, but I am over this place!!!!!!! To anyone who is unfortunately about to enter the Federal Criminal Justice System and the Federal Prison Camp environment, I must tell you and your family that it is very, very safe. No one will physically harm you, but you must come prepared emotionally because as you sit in this space of “nothingness” you can become a better or a worse version of yourself, so come prepared to leave GREAT!!!!!
The journey continues……………………………………………………..felonious phd. 5/2015

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