Archive for November, 2011


As I have previously posted, I recently applied to college for the cosmetology program.  You would think that even if you are an ex-con, this particular profession would be a safe bet.  You need only be creative and energetic, along with posessing the skills to perform the job, but I’m here to tell ya, it ain’t so.

In order to apply to this program, first, I had to pay a fee to apply.  Once that was done, I paid a fee to apply for the specific program.  Then, I get an acceptance letter that is conditional upon the following: a drug screen, a background check, a physical, a Hep C vaccine and a history of everywhere I have lived in the past decade.  All of this is incredibly costly, and of course has to be paid by me, as the Pell Grant doesn’t cover such nonsense.  Mind you, these are not conditions applied to me for being an ex-offender, it’s for anyone who wants to attend this program. 

Along with paying for all this, I am allowing these people to access not only my criminal background, but my credit history as well.  It’s a complete invasion of my privacy and it’s humiliating, but I want, and I NEED an education in order to have any kind of a future, so I must comply, and in compliance, I must once again relive my past and explain what I’ve done and why I did it.  I have to bow down to these people, tell them how bad I’ve been, and plead for their forgiveness and admission to the school.  This is not my first time going through this process, I was graciously provided a grant several years ago by the Gateless Gate Zen Center in Gainesville, FL, a chance which I regretfully blew through my own inability to maintain self control and motivation.  At that time however, the process was no where near this invasive, this rigorous.  This time it is much harder, nad it has only begun.

In some small way, I can almost understand…maybe they want to insure the safety of the students.  Maybe they want to try to cut down on drug use among students.   Sexual predators, etc.  The problem here is, that with a legal system as corrupt and flawed as this one, it’s the decent people who make mistakes and are trying to get better that get hurt by these practices.  A child molester or a drug dealer isn’t going to go through the trouble of enrolling in college in order to commit more crimes, it’s easy enough to to do his dirt at the local bar after local students are out of or in between classes, or outside in the parking lot, the student lounge, whatever.  I dunno, this just seems incredibly excessive, and it’s because of the computer age and the invasion of Big Brother into our lives, that more and more schools and organizations and companies are enlisting the services of these websites that expose everything a person has ever done in order to dig into the dirt of each and every person they can.  It’s quick and it’s easy, and it’s allowed.  The school has every right to research my entire life, expose my flaws, make me pay for it, and then….deny me admission based on my past mistakes.  Welcome to the modern age of education.

On the other hand, of course, there is the person who has nothing to hide, so why worry about a backgound check?  Sure, it’s an extra couple of hundred bucks out of your pocket just to have someone tell your “superiors” that you’re okay, but hey, you’re okay and that’s all that matters.  Well, to those of you who ARE okay, and especially those who AREN’T…consider this…

Imagine that you’re NOT “okay”.  You become addicted to drugs at a young age, maybe you were even unlucky enough to be born addicted.  So, as addicts do, you run the gammet of all of the downfalls of addiction, including getting caught.  You get caught, go to jail for posessing no more than a weak hit of cocaine.  you lose your house, your car gets impounded, you get fired.  Once upon a time, you were a taxpaying citizen, now you’re homeless and all you can turn to is drugs.  At least if you’re high, you won’t miss your home, you won’t hurt so much.

Your not a criminal, you don’t steal from people and you don’t hurt anyone.  You’re sad and you’re hopeless.  You sell yourself to any pervert willing to use your frail form for his own selfish reasons, and he throws you maybe 20 dollars for your soul.  Sometimes he’s just some lawyer or crooked doctor, sometimes he’s a cop using his position to threaten you and making you do it for free.  Sometimes he’s just as dirty and hopeless as you are and he doesn’t end up even having any money at all. This is the chance you take day after day after day.  When you don’t wanna live anymore, you just don’t care, and the law knows this.  They know you are weak, you are broke, and you are alone.

Soon, you are known by the police, who spend a lot of time watching you walk up and down the road as they patrol the town.   You start getting arrested for trespassing everywhere you go, because they want to get you off the streets, or because they are bored.  Sometimes you ask them why they are harrassing you, and they tell you, it’s because it’s a slow night.   You go to jail over and over, because you are caught with a pipe, or needle, or a pill or some crumbs in your purse of some really weak coke.  You are tired and hopeless and some times when you are arrested you are grateful for a meal and a place to lay down.  It’s bad when your grateful for jail.

Everytime you go to court, you are told by some public defender who was assigned to your case a month or more earlier, whom you have never spoken to or even met, that your only real option is to plead out.  If you plead out, they tell you they can get you outta jail sooner, otherwise you would have to go to trial, and they tell you that you WILL loose, and face more jail time and or prison.  They sell you out, it makes their job easier.

Over and over you get caught for walking somehwere you shouldn’t have.  You get searched everytime the police see you, you are homeless and you are always on the street.  Over and over you are run through the system with a poor excuse for a “public defender” (who are they REALLY defending?) who tells nyou to pead guilty.  And the beat goes on.  The misdemeanors start becoming felonies, and start doing more and more time.  Your only crime; getting high, and you don’t know how to stop.

Years and years later, you try to regain your soul, you try to rebuild your life.  The only one you ever hurt with your addiction is yourself, but you have the criminal background of a habitual offender, for nothing more than walking around doing yourself harm, and selling yourself to the vermin who prey upon women for a perverse thrill.

You apply for your local college, and your criminal record makes you look like some kind of drug peddling sexual predator.  You have to live it over again, explain it, and when the time (hopefully) comes, you will attend the class, all the while knowing that these women know you were a junkie, you were a whore.

Drug addicts are forced over and over again to plea out on charges that are many times grossly inflated.   They sit in jail for a month or more before getting their day in court, and they never talk to their “defender” untill they are brought to the courthouse, many times, not even untill they reach the actual courtroom…in front of the judge!  How much talking can you do with you “defender” at that point?  They are told to plea out and they do.  They think these little charges don’t matter, but OOOH let me tell you, they add up, and they do count.

I would like to tell you a little bit of a graphic story of how the police do their jobs out there, and in jail.

I am walking back to my motel room, tired and hungry and wanting to finally try and sleep.  A truck speeds by me, hits his brakes and makes a u’turn in the middle of US1.  He pulls up next to me and asks if I need a ride.  I am used to this, I am a homeless drugie and I do things when I have to.  Tonight however, I just wanna go to bed.  I accept a ride, and he propositions me.  I know already something is wrong with this guy, and I say no to him.  Please just drop me off.  He doesn’t.  He turns toward a nearby bank machine.  All he keeps asking is “How much?  How much?”

I tell him I will et out and walk, although I am further from my room that I had been when he picked me up.  He pulls a couple of beer outta the back seat, hands me one, opens one for himself and then pulls up to the ATM.  Come on honey he says, just tell me how much to get out.  Aaaand…..she folds. 

A hundred I say.  And it’s over.  SUV’s  swarm in from all directions and I am jerked and slammed and cuffed hard and tights behind my back before I can say the word “coerced”.

 I was arrested  after being up for 3 days.  I was handcuffed before I was searched.  Once I was searched, the officer found 8 pain pills in my bra which I was charged with as a felony.  I was taken to the station  and booked. Once I was taken into the changing room to be searched, they took the cuffs off of me and as I stripped a pill fell out of my bra that they had missed when they searched me.  I had been cuffed the entire time and had no idea they hadn’t gotten all of them when they searched me.  I was charged with the worst kind of felony in jail, Introduction of Contraband.   Oh, and this prostitution charge became a felony because it was my third.  Some real police work there.  Good job, boys.

 I tried over and over again to talk to my “defender” and get help with this, with NO RESPONSE.  For 6 months I sat in jail, going to court from time to time only to be told that the case was postponed, and I had to go back to jail for another month.  Eventually, when my day finally came, the woman whom I had never met who had een “working” on my case told me my only option was to plead guilty.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t know the pill was there.  It didn’t matter that I had been searched and they missed it.  They didn’t need to prove that I INTENDED to bring it in, only that it was there, that’s all the proof they needed.  I was forced to plead guilty and lost two more years of my life.

Did I need to be taken off the streets?  Of course.   I am sure it saved my life.  Did the cops know that I was just an addict, not some hardened criminal?  Yes, of course.  Being charged with numerous felonies for nothing more than being in posession of a small amound of drugs,  however, has created a profile for me that the new age of computer background checks will reveal to anyone who wants to know, and it only displays the charges I plead guilty to, not the truth behind them.

 I may not have learned from one or two or even three times in rehab, but getting sentanced to rehab over and over as opposed to being charged with felonies over and over again just for getting high would have made it possible for me to clean up and have a future at some point.  No one seems to care that addicts are people who can be rehabilitated, sometimes it takes several attempts, but if one is not violent or harmful to society, what is the purpose of ruining the rest of their life once they get clean?  I never hurt anyone but myself, and the system that saved my life, has ruined my future.

Yes, this is a rant.  I thank you for reading.   I know that there are so many others who are going through this same process.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to voice the plight from an insider point of view.  Addicts are being charged as felons for nothing more than being addicts.  The stigma follows them wherever they go. What happens to them when they get clean?

Today while I was jogging, I was considering my posts since I have started here, and I really felt bad about the fact that nearly everything I have posted has been of a fairly if not extememly negative nature.  I want to make sure that I don’t give the impression that I am miserable 100% of the time.  I know after reading my previous posts you would not think that’s the case, but I am very resilient and have a sort of knack for making the most out of almost any situation, if given enough time and I’m motivated to do so.  I am compelled to write when things get really bad, because I don’t really have any close friends, and the somewhat more distant friends that I do have, well,  as you can imagine I am not too eager to tell them the kinds of things I put up with here at times.  I also have a little problem connecting with people  as I’ve explained before, and it’s tough to reach out.  Part of the reason is probably because if I did reach out…I might have to actually DO something about all this, and I can’t (read: won’t) DO THAT.

Okay, so here is the thing…I am NOT ALWAYS miserable and I have something to offer besides sharing my misery!

For those of you who have just gotten out, I can certainly remember what that feels like, having done time in both the local jails and the state prisons on many occasions.  While incarcerated, women especially can tend to get very out of shape, both physically AND mentally.  We can get complacent, sometimes even lazy.  If you were lucky enough, as I was, to have the opportunity to participate in a meditation program, yoga, church or other physical and spiritual activities, it certainly is a blessing.  But I know that not all inmates, save a precious few have access to such programs, and what happens to us when we are locked away, is we become overweight in many instances, and we also forget how to cope with life and the stress of making our own decisions.

If you are like me, you never knew how to make good decisions in the first place.  I am still guilty of that, but working on it…slowly, ever so slowly, working on it.

The first thing I have to offer is this:  Don’t bite off more than you can chew, swallow and digest properly.  Don’t think that because now that you are clean and sober and free, you can conquer the world immediately.  It may very well be that you can conquer the world but sister,  it will take some time.  If you overload yourself, you will burn hot for a little while with high expectations and hopes, only to crash hard and burn out long before you acutally get anywhere.  I speak from experience.  And once you crash, your only place to run are your old, familiar, and comforting  BAD  habits.

Everyone is different and your limits are certainly not the same as mine, so only you can judge how hard you should push yourself.  If, like me, you have NEVER lived a structured or even remotely disciplined life, you have to consider that before comitting to a lot of different jobs or classes or whatever it may be.  Focus on one thing and once you are comfortable and do that one thing well for a little while, bite off another chuck and work on that.  Me, I tried to work two jobs, maintain a spiritual regimen that many people would find difficult, AND enroll in college for the first time EVER!  All in the first 4 months of getting out.  Maybe YOU could do it, but for me, it was too much.  Only you can adjust your schedule.  Pay attention.  Watch your thinking and when you start to resent and get frustrated with the simplest of things in your life…you know you may be close to a breaking point.

I couldnt focus on anything, I would try to be still and meditate but the pressures of hardly any sleep and the two jobs with tight schedules and new classes and homework and studying, for a person who had never lived a disciplined life…this was crushing, and I snapped.  Trust me folks, you KNOW as well as I do, if you just got out, SNAPPING is very, very bad.

The rest of the story is one we all know, and the end result was detox and rehab with my tail between my legs.  THAT’S when the cahanges began.

I was 220 pounds when I went to rehab in Feb. of 2010.  I stayed there for a total of  8 weeks, during which I started cutting down my carbs signifiantly.  This may not seem like a big deal, but I’m here to tell you, if you are like me, you never realized the pull of carbs and sugar on your mind and body.  It took a little while, but even before I finished rehab, weight was dropping off, and my mind was getting clearer.  I simply didn’t eat the bread from the sandwiches, no potatoes or fries, no heavy sweets like gooey snack cakes and such.  I did eat a few hard candies only when I had a craving, and lots of fresh fruit.  No rolls, no pancakes or french toast.  No grits, just eggs and half a serving of sausage or bacon.  There was enough protein and fruit and veggies availabe, and I was full all of the time.

Once I went to the halfway house, I started working out.  One hour of aerobic activity each and every day without fail.  I had plenty of time to myself in between groups, so this was easy to maintain and it actually really helped to pass the time and keep my mind focused, not wandering into the realm of stuff we addicts shouldn’t think about.  There was a stairmaster and a treadmill.  I used the treadmill to walk/jog , and then kept the stairmaster turned off, I would get on and use it with little resistence, so that I could find a good steady maintainable pace, alternating a kind of bouncing motion.  Twice one one foot, twice on another foot, then alternating feet, then back to the two times on each side.  With the music pumping this is a fun and satisfying workout, and it really jump started my weight loss.

Yoga is my warm down.  I do very basic poses to stretch and relax my muscles, and I play really soothing music to make me feel pamered and calm.  I am thinking about posting my personal routine, because I have combined a lot of different things to create a routing that works for me since I am not in GREAT shape like some of the popular yoga instuctors.

I stayed away from all bread, potatoes, white refined sugar and white rice.  No glutonous products.  I separated yolks from eggs and ate copius amounts of egg whites, giving the yolks to happy recipients that cohabitated with me at the halfway house.  Many veggies, many fruits, lots of white tuna and lots of different kinds of seasoning, brown and wild rice filled me up.  It works.  When the body is used to the prison or jail system diet full of all those carbs, you know, all the white bread and potaoes and grits, this shift in diet causes a quick drop in weight that is totally healthy and also tends to be motivating to keep working at it.

I should add that when in rehab here in FL, we are elligible for food stamps, which is how I was able to afford to eat healthy.  The base amount is 200 a month which was more than enough.

Eventually I was required to go out and work, I was pretty comfortable where I was so this became easier, also, my new body was a little confidence boost, not to mention I had A LOT more energy.  Prayer and meditation helps as well.  I have had problems searching for my faith, and where it lies, and that search in and of itself is at least better than no faith at all.  I believe in GOD…Christ died for us….we have to be still to find GOD…that’s all I know for sure…and it’s enough for now.

I kept up my workout routine, after work and before group, sometimes after depending on the schedule.  That took a little more discipline but I was ready by then for the next step.

After a while, my body seemed to stop loosing, and I had to step it up, which is when I started running.  I had to start off slow, running and walking alternately, and after 6 months of gradual increase, I am now able to run 4 miles, most of the time, I run 5 days a week, some days I cut it in half due to time or heat, but if I push it, 4 miles is my highest.

I used to wear a size 22 when I got out, now I am in an 11.  Of course I managed to get myself in a dysfunctional relationship once again, so I am not even close to conquering the world sister, but hey, one thing at a time right?

Let me get through school, which is right up the street from where I live, and once I (finally) get my licence to do hair and can get a GOOD job/CAREER….then we’ll see if I am still willing to put up with all his mess!

😉  BTW…It has been a little over a year since I got out of rehab, and I am now FINALLY enrolling in school, able to work from home which is helpful since I don’t have a car.  Baby steps…

 

 

 

 

TRYNG TO BE STRONG

It has been a few months since I have posted. I have been pretty busy with a lot of things. Some good, some, yeah well….not so.

A couple of weeks ago an old man, a neighbor who walks by, well he walks everywhere, stopped and knocked on my door and asked to use the phone. My boyfriend wasn’t home, he was still at work and due home any minute. Can you already guess where this is going?

I let the old man in and give him the phone, then on second thought, I decide to open the front door and ask him to step just outside the door to make his call. The car pulls up at that moment.
My boyfriend storms past us ignoring my attempt to hug and kiss him in greeting. As I follow him down the hallway, all hell breaks loose. He hits me upside the head and then grabs me violently by the shoulders and throws me down on the bed. He puts both hands around my throat and starts to choke and shake me simultaneously, while screaming at me about how I am such a whore and I will never ever get a key to the house. ( I have lived here for a year and he won’t give me a key to get in.) After a few horrible minutes he loosens his grip on my throat and gets up, hitting me a couple good hard times on my back and bottom.

The old man was still at the door on the phone making his call, the entire time.

After more yelling, and me trying to explain that the man was just using the phone, my boyfriend storms away toward the front of the house. The old man thanks him, hands him the phone, and leaves.

I spent two days in hell, arguing and defending myself, only to eventually find out that my boyfriend knew that nothing happened by the way the man stayed around and calmly handed him the phone, he just wanted to teach me a lesson.

Life’s like that for me, all the time.

I am in a relationship that is volatile. I am somewhat dependant on this man, for a make very little money and what little I do get, half goes to child support, because of two other abusive men I was in a relationship with who both have sued ,me even though I am broke. They have even told me that they did it because they want to make sure I can never have anything.

Life’s like that for me.

So I am here, working hard and trying to better myself, writing and trying to be strong. I had to file my back taxes myself, which was quite an event when it came to collecting old W-2’s, so that I could them apply for a Pell Grant on this old, slow ass lap top that I am so grateful for. Then I saved up some money from my unemployment checks, and used that to pay for the application fees at BCC, and then more fees for the Cosmetology program. I got in, but now, I have to go through a background check, drug screen, physical and hep B vaccine, and pay for all that myself. Then I will have to explain my past to the committee and pray I get approved despite my past.

Orientation was yesterday, and instead of being supportive, my loving man started another huge fight. this one is one we have often. The topic? I don’t fuck him enough. His words, not mine. Here’s some more of his words: “All women are good for is sucking my dick, fuckin it and spending my money.”

He doesn’t spend any money on me. I pay for everything I want. He still pays the same bills he was paying when I moved in.

Okay, I know you are thinking “why the hell does she stay there?” and I can tell you this; it’s not ALWAYS like this. He has these really extreme mood swings that turn him into a monster, it lasts for two to four days and then he’s good for maybe a week untill it happens again. It’s a man period.

It seems to come on whenever I don’t want to have sex for like, a day.

You see, he has to have it, he says, everyday. And once he gets it, it’s only about an hour before he wants it again, and it goes on, and on, and on. I try to comply but sometimes, well c’mon man, I am 42 years old and I DON”T WANNA DO IT every day, a couple of times a day. And my friends….this is where is all falls apart.

Once I don’t want to do it, or even if I agree to do it and don’t seem like I am into it enough, he gets his period. Is it possible that his sex drive is making him nuts? Because no matter how many times we do it, he can rise to the occasion moments later, and repeat, and repeat…

He also wants more than that, he wants everything you can think of sexually, and it last for a really,  really long time. The truth is, I feel like that’s all I am here for.

I keep an immaculate house. I cook, clean, garden and work. I have no social life whatsoever. I don’t go out. My only time away is my morning 3 mile jog, and each and every day he calls and texts me on that jog, accusing me of being out of breath because I am giving some other guy a blow job.

I had to write this. There is no one I can tell. It’s just me here, alone and hurting, and now you.

Sorry…but I bet there is someone out there who can relate.