Each new day offers possibilities and promises that were never seen before. – John O’Donohue, Anam Cara
How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be. –Elizabeth Lesser
I was numb, but it was from not knowing just what this new life would hold for me. – Jamaica Kincaid
In the spring, we find joy in change. The crocuses come up from the ground with no particular urgency. The leaves open when they are built to. Everything comes in its own time and we are grateful for it. At CRCF, writers write and ask themselves about change. They want to change themselves and their lives. In writing, talk about taking responsibility in order to effect the change they want to see in themselves.
What does it take to change? It takes many things: inner strength, guidance, safety. In their experience of prison, sometimes not all change is good. If there are cultural shifts, the writers hope that they will bring more therapeutic and wholistic support. They hope it will help them toward rehabilitation so they have the resources they need to grow and change.
Recently, writers have been reporting the opposite. Rather than greater support, they get less. Rather than more respect, they get less. In moments where they are at their lowest, they hope for, ask for help and get anything from a helping hand to discipline or even a cruel remark. This spring, while things green and change on the outside, things stay harsh and cold on the inside and our writers lack the space and support they need to grow.
In the pieces below, you will read three different accounts of the desire for change and the support they have to enact it.
I started my journey lost, helpless, and scared. Going through each day numb of any time of feelings afraid to show them even if they appeared. My surrounding changing, people even but me? No that I knew of. To me, I was still lost and trying to find my way. I hadn’t a care in the world, why should I? I had no responsibilities. No true purpose. How does one change when their not sure how to do it? I soon realized that change doesn’t happen in a way where you’re left standing there going, Wow, would you look at that? No, it’s going to happen in small increments, slowly showing you more and more hope and purpose in your life. Change will happen and when it does I’ll know I’m not the same girl that started out at the top of the staircase. I’m older, wiser, and even might have more gray hair, but hey, reaching the bottom of the staircase was the best thing that could have happened.
From Perspective on the Castle
From inside me there is a girl held as like a slave. Inside me she wonders if it all is ever really going to change. From inside my inner wall’s she passes her days saddened by the treatment she endures. Oh how I wish I could comfort her, give her hope to help her transition through one day on to the next. She did not ask her for this treatment. No one action in her past warranted this misery and yet still that fact changes nothing. This girl inside me saddens me. Her troubles touch me in every way. She passes her time by day dreaming of something better, something beautiful, a time set aside to call her own, where she shines like a sparkle touched by light, a moment no one can take away from her where she can be the center of a kinder world. From inside me, she does as she’s told, wearing rags and doing chores but to me she is a princess gleaming, beauty even in the darkness. It’s crazy how sad and troubling things can happen inside you and you know that the only thing that can change them is time.
What is Happening?
I am at an all time low.
Total discourse is wearing me down.
My eyes burn from tears,
my body hurts all over,
especially my chest, my arms, my back.
I actually thought,
Is this how a heart attack
I also thought, Oh good,
I can’t take this abuse anymore.
People agitate and provoke you
not only inmates but correctional officers.
I have begun to advocate
for all the unfair cruelty we are
I have written to everyone from
the superintendent, to the central
office, even the risk reduction teacher.
I have involved all that I trust
because something has to change.
A mentor would be nice.
Someone, anyone, a soul friend.
I keep telling myself to persevere,
follow the passion you feel.
Anything is possible.
Living here, a total life change
How will I continue?
I don’t even feel like a person.
The thought of my son and my grandchildren
keep me going. I am lost.
God is what is keeping me alive.
I don’t even think that is what I want.