I was born and raised in a rural area with around 200 residents, where there was only one traffic light. It was a place full of red clay dirt roads and houses spread far apart. My family was unorthodox like many American families. When I was growing up, my grandparents took me to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is still the religion I study today. My Father and Creator are the reason I am still standing today as a fierce and courageous woman.
At the age of 16, I began doing hair for me and my mother’s friends. After seeing my work, people started offering me money to do their hair. At 19 years old, I did hair for my first wedding party and it opened up unimaginable doors for me. Doing hair was my occupation until the day I got incarcerated.
By the age of 23, I had five beautiful children. My fifth child was brought into the world through a car accident. When I was nine months pregnant, I was coming from the doctor’s office, and it started raining. The windshield wipers on my truck wouldn’t work and I hit a ditch. The truck flipped about five times. I went through the windshield and flew 70 feet. As a result, I developed blood clots and had to have brain surgery.
Regardless of my circumstances, I was determined to be a great mother. There was always a lack of communication between me and my parents and I didn’t want to repeat that pattern with my own children.
In 2007, I met a woman. We were in a damaged relationship for three and half years. It was the first time I ever ventured outside of my sexuality and my family turned their back on me. They said I was shaming the family. This, unfortunately, was the relationship that brought me to prison. I was sentenced to 30 years for manslaughter.
My mom always said, “I hope that relationship was worth it.”
Throughout my incarceration, my children and I have kept our bond and have continued to build on it, even as we have matured over the years. My youngest child was three years old when I was incarcerated. She is 14 now. My oldest child was nine then and now he is 20 and attending Kennesaw State University. He is studying psychology on a scholarship and made the dean’s list in his first quarter.
Coming to prison was both a blessing and a curse. At the time, it was the only way I saw to get away from a toxic relationship. I was a withered flower when I came into the system in 2010. Today in 2021, I am a beautiful fully-bloomed rose.
I have had some of life’s greatest teachers in here. I am what you might call a “creator.” I have been able to grow my talents since coming to prison.
Before my incarceration, I was a full-time hairstylist. With a half hour notice, you could come and get your hair styled. I planned events and did makeup, nails, and toes.
Now, I have developed a passion for making candy. I want to start a candy company when I come home. I am asking Jehovah to guide me because I don’t really know where to go from this point. But I have a vision. It is so real I can feel it, taste it, and see it. I will learn as I go and eventually I will have my company. The sky’s the limit once I am released.
This is my story and I hope it gave you a better look at who I am. I can’t point a finger or place blame on anyone but myself. I was a victim of circumstance only because I subjected myself to certain situations. Those situations were a choice.
I have learned tremendously from my mistakes and mishaps and I am ready for the next chapter of my life.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.