Tuesday, November 20, 2012

4 Months In Jail

...taught me more than I ever knew I didn't want to learn and some things I needed to learn.

Yesterday, I mentioned on my Monday Listicles post hating jail and several asked for a follow up. This one is for you!

...I know way too much about local chapters of national gangs. Enough to actually concern me when I drive thru the city, which says a lot given my 12 year history working in rough hood schools,  and just past "enough" to cause me to double check all the windows and doors in my falsely secure suburban home some 20 miles North of the city.

I can tell you what ink you'll notice as you pass people on the street and what ink will be purposefully hidden so only the canvas knows of its placement.  A series of dots now creates more of a response in me than just that damn ear worm "connect the dots La La LaLa". I can tell you I have walked the same halls as the two youngest most violent murders in the state.

Its a place where stereotypes thrive, are born, and some succeed in breaking even if it is a sentence hearing too late. Its a place where cement, no natural light, and no fresh air is ruled by some wizard in a safe room who grants passage from corridor to corridor with the buzz of a heavily plated lock. It's a place where souls and faces are significantly older than the number of birthdays displayed on their intake bracelets. It is a place where a frantically squawked "Code 2000!" brings guards dashing from behind every door. It is a place where the silenced cell phone hidden deep in my pocket is federal contraband.

I won't work without it.

I learned my upbringing is both coveted and mocked. I learned there is an entire demographic of ungrateful, well fed, properly clothed, electronically outfitted fuck off teenagers I'd like to slap in the face with an alternate reality. I learned a deeper appreciation for the food in my fridge and the lice free pillow I lay on nightly. I learned just how much I still take for granted even when I thought I had reached a place of gratitude and thankfulness for what and who is in my life.

I learned I hate jail.

12 comments:

HeY J said...

I am grateful I do not know to hate Jail but I applaud those whom learn first hand to hate it and stay away from it!! My hate is the hospital!

Judy Susan said...

WTF duck.. some day you will have to explain to me exactly what you do. But long after you are done doing it, cause a momma worries.

Anonymous said...

Your creating a sence of hope for those that are still able to hope. While never a resident I too know jail from an insider perspective! The residents see you, a happy young, well dressed, desirable woman, and hope someday they too can achieve happiness outside those walls! Keep working with them they need the hope you provide simply by showing up.

Shine on Girl, shine on!

J-Tony said...

I too know that I hate jail...for other reasons :) ...nice post.

J-Tony said...

I too know that I hate jail...for other reasons :) ...nice post.

SouthMainMuse said...

Your point is so valid. We have no idea how good we have it. I am reading now of some of the unbelievable conditions children are living in around the world. The things they are made to do to survive. And I have the audacity to walk up some mornings and feel depressed. I'm trying to do more in our community to help those before they end up with so much anger and discouragement that their inevitable end is jail. Or worse. Thanks for the post.

Dazee Dreamer said...

What Judy said.

Babes Mami said...

I'm so glad you are almost done!!

Carrie Rambles said...

I always worry when you go off grid and go into jail, until I hear from you again.

BNM said...

so Im picturing you as some bad ass super spy now :)

Ive never been to jail but my husband went one time for a damn traffic ticket we forgot to pay and seeing him surrounded by the other inmates made me want to cry he looked like he aged 100 years in just that 1 hour he was in there.. I know right thug life one whole hour in jail HAHA

Alexis AKA MOM said...

You know I would love to send Cole there just to learn how to be grateful! I'm thinking of having him go work at a homeless shelter with me.

You rock mama, I could never have worked there.

Just A Normal Mom said...

It's a perspective most of us bury our heads and try not to see or to dwell on. And you've been seeing it up close and personal. Wow.