After writing inside for more than three years with some of the same women, I find myself feeling like big sister-mother-aunt to them. I applaud their good choices; cheer for their release from prison; hold my breath once they’re out. I so want them to continue making the strong choices they pledged themselves to pre-release.
Many times my hopes are dashed along with theirs. When they return, some come right back to the writing circle’s safety and acceptance. Others appear to have forgotten all about us. Their shame can be overwhelming. This is when I know they, too, have come to regard me as a caring relative.
Working closely with two or three women who have gotten out, found work, and chosen clean living, I see first-hand the constant uphill challenges they face. Daily. Hourly. At night. Earlier today I met with one woman who confided that she hit a real low last week. Even her dreams called her to slip into the familiar oblivion offered by drugs. Continue reading