The Felonious PhD.

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

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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An Unplanned Journey……..Part 1

Over the past three months I have spent a good amount of my time reading memoirs, and several books that are somewhat synonymous with my own  journey. Most of the books that I have chosen are non-fiction genre explicitly tell the story of women who have overcome, excelled and lived to tell about their journeys through the written word.

One of my favorites, of course, is “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. Her journey, by far, most closely resembles mine.  Not only because she was a black woman, writer, and mother, but also because her journey,like mine, and many others was “unplanned”. There was no road map, no safety net, no financial security, or guarantee of anything. Maya’s journey, like mine, was purely based on stepping out on faith and pure resilience and love.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is the most prolific self help book that I could ever read as a black woman . Its prose is filled with words of empowerment, courage and fearlessness. It just signifies for me the importance of giving truth to our realities so that those behind us will have an authentic testimony of all of the experiences we may encounter as women. This is why I am determined to present this journey and write, share and speak the truth of my journey for others who may find themselves in circumstances that truly question all that you are and forces you to look deep inside yourself for strength and realize that it is there.

As I sit here imprisoned and shackled, not physically but intrinsically, I can not help but feel compelled to fight for my own liberation, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In doing so I hope to provide a written means for anyone in need to find peace in my words and let my story serve as a mirror to their own journey. This part of my legal journey has forced me to question my ability and passion for wanting to live a life where I can love all unconditionally and forgive without question. The “unplanned journey” is one that has shaken my soul and at times brought me to tears. At the same time, as I sit in the stillness and silence of this library filled with the smell of stale books, I think to myself, “I could never plan this isolation, solitude and silence.” I think out loud that I have to do something with this “disgusting gift,” the gift of time filled with nothingness and void of responsibility.

Then I read the LA Times and in the Calendar section there is a story on the movies coming to theaters soon. One of the movies is called “Wild” a movie from the Memoir of Cheryl Straub. I read the book and connected, not particularly with the planned part of her journey which entailed hiking the Pacific Coast trail, no way, but I connected with all of the unplanned experiences that occurred to her throughout her planned trip. Seeing that article validated my feelings that I must find a way to tell my story, give a clear picture of my complete journey, not just my incarceration. I was not afforded the opportunity to plan a journey that would provide me a foundation for my transformation, exploration of self, and liberation. I am imprisoned in this visceral and dehumanizing Federal Prison Camp setting for another 11 months. But! I do have complete access to a pen and paper and determination as well as the will of a bull to overcome, overachieve and excel beyond my dreams.

My resiliency is affording me the opportunity to think beyond making lemonade out of lemons. I am encouraged to move myself and others from an imprisoned self to a felon self to “FREE SELF”. My “unplanned journey” will be my liberation from imprisonment of all forms. I will write myself FREE!

I am thankful for the brave, courageous and resilient women who have told their stories. I am equally thankful for the organizations, publishers, agents and editors that gave them the chance to share their truths. Now I have to find someone willing to assist me with “SHARING MINE!”. It must be told.
Felonious Ph.D. 12/2014

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Missing My Son……..Not a Moment Goes By

I honestly have no powerful words to clearly express how deeply my heart and soul are impacted by being separated from my son. Once again, I must say I understand how we, Americans, feel compelled to stand by our laws, regulations, policies. And I understand how we feel we must stand by those who we have chosen to oversee those laws and policies accordingly, to maintain some form of order and control. I get it!! But what I have a distinct problem with is how some individuals or corporations are privy to the flexibility and empathy of OUR laws, policies and regulations and others like myself are NOT.

I miss my son.  I feel that there is no greater job or responsibility in the world than that of a parent or mother. I have always taken my role seriously. I don’t just miss presence, I miss advising him, nagging him, hugging him, encouraging him, laughing with him, and imploring him to be the best him possible in academics and athletics. I just miss him.

As I sit here at the Federal Camp and witness on the news and in the newspapers as ALL of the Banks and Wall Street forces have been literally excused from all of their indiscretion by simply paying out monies and not having to admit to any wrong doing, I began to seriously question OUR fair system. How did my erroneous billing of $82, 000 cause such a danger to my community and encourage those in charge to basically destroy my career, tarnish my credibility, and most of all separate me from my son for 33 months.

I am not saying I was perfect and assume no accountability for billing mistakes, but what I do want to know is why was INCARCERATION of a NON-VIOLENT, LOW-LEVEL, FIRST TIME OFFENDER, WOMAN, MOTHER, the 1st and only option that was chosen for me. Am I NOT an American who has just as much value to OUR Systemic wealth and well-being as the Wall Street professionals and the Banks? That is essentially the question.

I miss my son, I miss him every moment. Not one goes by that I don’t think about him as I sit here in this empty space doing nothing and stuck in a process that literally has nothing to offer me. I never dreamed I would be here and still I am adamant that I do not belong here. BUT! here is where I am and all I can continue to do is remind my son that I love him. I will also be persistent with telling him that this experience does not define me as a woman, professional, mother, or as a loving, caring and giving HUMAN BEING!

I am thankful and grateful that my son is who he is because, like me, he wont let this period deter him from being successful in the future. I love you Son-Keep being you.

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Womanly Smile

WOMANLY SMILE

 

For years and for centuries we have hidden our pain

Tortured, abused, raped and misused

Our strength transcends and our power transforms

A womanly smile tells all……

 

An invisible force within a society minus us, has no foundation

Now imprisoned, in a misogynist storm

Disgraced, dehumanized, defeminized in a structurally oppressive–industry

Daily encouraging, empowering and acknowledging each other with

A womanly smile that connects us all….

 

Our truths, our stories and struggles to maintain our picture perfect lives

Gives strength to our power and passion to look towards our tomorrow

Sitting on pause, existing soulfully and intrinsically on energy of love

Wake up in the morning with nothing to offer, to give, to share but my-

Womanly smile that has the power to heal…….

 

the felonious phd.

August 2014

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Unemployment in the United States….

As I sit in the t.v. room, here at the camp, watching the news and listening to the correspondents speak about President Obama’s plans for solving the unemployment issues in our country, I am silently saying to myself, “Who is going to hire me?”  I know that I am a minuscule part of this  huge crisis we have in our country today.  But because I am no labelled a felon, charged with health care fraud and money laundering, I am going to face a huge challenge when it comes to securing employment.  I have always put myself in a position that makes it difficult for an agency or organization to say “no” to me.  I made sure I had sufficient education, unshakable work ethic, and honed interpersonal skills.  Barriers were there for me to overcome.

Now in the present, I feel like public enemy #1.  I am an African-American woman and now a FELON!  Whew!  My loved ones feel confident that i will find a way to reinvent myself.  Actually, at the end of my sentencing hearing even the judge made reference to my resiliency, personality, professional skills, and education by trying to assure me that I will find a way to have a productive life after this travesty!

Although in my heart I know I will find a way, because I have the will, I sure want to say I am nearly 50 years old, worked in the same profession for 27 years, built myself from scratch, and I should not have to start over!  I took my grandfather’s words to heart when he said, “To pull yourself up by your boot straps, a feller has to own a pair of boots.”  I worked hard for my boots!

A lot has been taken from me.  And to my grandpa I will say, “Grandpa, I will have my boots.”  So I guess I will have to start there!  If you have a job opportunity for me, I will be knocking on your door in the next 18 months!

I am thankful for my strength, love for life, and my family history!

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No More Tears…

I have been here at the Victorville Federal Prison Camp for 90 days and a day.  I want everyone who has the opportunity to read my blog to know that…… I MISS MY FAMILY!  I miss my sisters!

I miss calling my sister Mooneyes daily and hearing her calm, silent, strong, passionate voice.  I miss her telling me what the full moon tells us this month.  I miss having her reassurance that everything, in the end, will be okay.  Actually, she reminds me of my ability to shine even in darkness and promises me that like the sun, I will rise again and this time brighter than ever.  I miss her gentle yet strong spirit and sharing a glass of sake with her as I eat a chunk of meat and she munches on something natural and healthy.

I miss my loud sister Tonya.  I miss her calling me 10 to 15 times a day asking me what I am doing. I always quickly responded by saying, “The same thing i was doing five minutes ago, crazy.”  I miss her yelling at her kids, grown kids, as she talks to me on the phone.  i miss her!  I miss her fly-by visits.  Her running through the door to say “Hi” and then in the blink of an eye she’s screeching out of the driveway.  I miss her!  I even miss yelling at her every time she asks me for “spare change.”  “What in the hell?” I would say.  I miss her.

I miss my chocolate, dimpled sister Beatrice.  Like me, she has no fear and will do what she has to do.  I miss her!  I miss hearing her cheerful voice and loud laugh which can quickly switch to a soft marshmellow side.  I miss her.  I miss hearing her stories about her adventures in Atlanta, her crazy job, and how the girls are doing.  I miss them.  i miss telling her to take her butt to school and hering her tell me some story about why she has not done so yet!  I miss her!

I miss my baby sister Carita!  I miss doing her laundry and cooking for her as she cared for her baby.  I miss our laugh sessions and t.v. watching on the big screen. ( I miss that t.v. lol)  I miss our discussions about change and moving forward.  The possibilities of tomorrow.  I miss her.  I miss planning her next move with her, because I know that she will retreat to the safety of her nest.  I miss her.  I miss talking about the kids and laughing about my crazy nephew Aidan’s, antics, Kaity’s growing up and Jacob’s ability to handle everyone’s personalities without cracking.  I miss them and her.  I miss holding baby Viv as Carita ran to Wal Mart quickly wishing she would hurry back as Viv, then 2-3 months old, would scream her head off for her mama.  I miss her and them.

I miss my niece Unique calling me to find out what’s for dinner…..every day!  LoL  I miss her wanting to borrow everything, from some chicken to flour, to a skillet to cook it in.  I miss her.  I miss her running into the door whining and complaining about her mama and having to remind her that she is grown and it is no longer called running away from home for her.  it is called ‘growing up’.   LoL  i miss her.

I miss my niece Kimi.  I miss her impromptu visits as well as her planned ones when we would eat, drink, and laugh.  I miss her.  I miss her old soul conversations and her ability to say, “You are right.”  I miss her. I miss baby X coming through the door and immediately stripping down to his undies as he ran to the snack cabinet, which was always read for him.  I miss him.  I miss Christina’s hugs and smiles.  And I miss always, and I mean always, preparing to go beg for my Jaiden. I miss her and I miss them.

I miss my grand-kids, my sons, and all of my other family members, aunt, uncles, and all of my other kids who are now adults and part of my family.  I miss physically being a part of their every day lives.

Most of all, I miss my on, Aaron.  How does a mother put her absence of 22-28 months in perspective or into words to a 14 year old?  All I know is that I miss doing his stinky laundry and fussing about it.  I miss hearing him sing in the shower in the morning.  I miss he jokes and seeing him make others laugh.  I miss him.  I miss throwing a mama tantrum when he has not taken the time to do his homework correctly or when he forgot his sports hear for practice.  I miss giving him advice about sports and school or his social interaction with kids at school.  I miss him!!  I miss the physical and emotional gratification I get from being his mom.  I love him and I miss it! I miss listening to him talk smack to his cousins and grown siblings.  I miss watching him grow up, emotionally and physically.  I miss brushing his hair in the morning before school and I deeply, deeply miss tucking him in and rubbing his head at night.  I miss him.

I have no more physical tears to give to this process, but I will continue to cry through my words and the blog.  No matter how strong my mind is, and how intact my spirit and soul are, I will forever be scarred by this experience.  keeping in mind that like my physical scars, they heal and have a story of their own.  I am not ashamed of this scar.  it is as a part of me as the physical ones are on my body.  My hope is that those I love will also move past this period and use it to find their own way.

For my son, I just hope that for the next 19-26 months, he knows in his heart that i, his mom, loves him and that will never change.  He also needs to know that if he messes up in school, he will have me to deal with!!!

So, I have no more tears, but I do have a lot of hope and love to share tomorrow and days after that.

I am thankful for my family.  I love you all!

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Prisology.org

We are sharing this post from Prisology’s Facebook page hoping you will also pass this information on to everyone you know so the pressure remains on this committee to take action for these necessary reforms!
Prisology
Another delay, everyone. The Senate Judiciary Committee met today, voted on some judicial nominations, and then delayed a vote on the bills. We have received over 20,000 support letters thus far, and will continue to inundate the Committee with your voices. If you have not already done so, please encourage everyone you know to visitwww.prisology.org/action to show support for the reform effort!
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Being Mindful of All

The main theme that permeates through this camp about me is, “Is she crazy?”  This constant conversation has really given me a new perspective on mental health, mental stability, coping, and self-preservation.  I have always felt like I had an innate ability to “read” people.  By utilizing my childhood instincts, my young-adult life experiences, and my grown woman awareness I can sum up a person in one conversation.  Then, add my professional training and clinical background, and I can complete a mental health status exam and psych-social summary all in one sitting.  But being here at the camp, I find that almost every individual that I come into contact with has an Axis 1 or 2 diagnosis with PTSD features.  I am constantly laughing with my few crew members here that people probably feel the same about us.  “Am I crazy?”  Haha!

As we discussed the behaviors and conversations of others, I began to realize the similar themes between the women and their experiences.  The common topics are loss, despair, pain, shame, loneliness.  These are topics that resonate when they discuss their indictments, pre-trial experiences, and investigations.  Then I become mindful of how all of that felt to me.  The emotions that surface surrounding the whispers that one hears, the loneliness of being ostracized from the community,and  the fear of prosecution and the future persecution are very familiar.  I have endured and embraced those feelings and, with help, have overcome that part of my journey.

I am mindful now of how I interact with the women here because I too was crazy at some point in this process.  The judicial system and government bullies have caused many women in here severe trauma and they are suffering from PTSD.  This system is so ill-prepared for the intellectual, hardworking, law-abiding women whom they have labelled “Felon.”  Once these former CEO’s and accomplished business-women regain their insight and realize their purpose, things will look different for them.  I am “Living Proof” of that.  And when they are ready to file a civil lawsuit against our government for false imprisonment, emotional distress, business losses, etc…..I will definitely be ready to join.  Until then, I will continue to be mindful of all of them and their stories.

Today I am thankful for my strong mind!

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To My Baby Kamillo Little Langi…

I have never felt trapped!  Like a butterfly snuggled tightly in its cocoon, fighting diligently to stay alive and purposeful – for others!

When I received the news that my grandbaby, Kamillo Little Langi, was sick, very sick, I immediately got a huge knot in the pit of my stomach.  The angst was not for myself, I could rationalize and talk myself through this process.  But unlike the me of the past, I am unable to assist my son, Josh, and Stevie, Kamillo’s mama.  Selfishly, I feel cheated by this incarceration of self.  The incarceration of my whole purpose; to provide unconditional love to all who need me, especially my family.

I have not seen baby boy Kamilly Little Langi, but I love him.  I want him to feel my love, and know that his grandma, Cassandra, is thinking about him and loves him eternally.  There is nothing more pure and loving than a baby.  There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching helplessly as a parent of a parent as their child is ill….very ill.  I have seen and endured it before.  I have also seen how something so traumatic and hard forces one to accept life on its terms.

We cannot control how long sweet baby boy Kamillo Little Langi is here on Earth.  We can, and I know I will, love him like I do all of my grand kids here and in the hereafter…eternally.

I am thankful for my grandson, baby boy Kamillo Little Langi, for teaching me that I am not trapped.  Love of another exists outside of these walls and resonates inside of me, which gives me the FREEDOM to love him regardless.

Love you Kamillo!

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The Sun Shines Again at the Camp…

I woke up this morning to a wonderful sight…the sun.  The rain had created such a barrier for me that I found myself walking in circles in the unit.  As soon as I wake up, I jump in my shoes and sweats and hit the track.  I have never been one who loved to exercise, but the track serves several purposes for me these days.  It is the one area where even if you are not alone, you can have the feeling of being alone.  I feel free there, free to sing out loud, free to think, and free to plan for when I am actually….free.  I will not call the track my sanctuary, that would mean I was cheating on my basketball court, and that could never happen!  After I walk on the track, I go inside the recreation area, get a flat basketball, head to the office that is home to the pump, pump up my ball, and head to those concrete courts. Whew!

Today, as the sun was shining and as I was shooting baskets, the sight of the snow-covered mountains validated, once again, that beauty is everywhere;  we just have to be open to seeing it.  Those snow-covered mountains were a sign to behold.   Made me with I was a painter instead of a writer.  (Only today though!)

Now that the sun has set, I am going to go enjoy my evening walk, and hope for another wonderfully sunny day tomorrow.

 

 

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