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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.

Candie Scott is a writer incarcerated in Georgia.

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