The following is my response to my youngest daughter’s powerful message expressing her feelings of me being out of her life throughout the years due to my incarceration. At times, society doesn’t see how our broken judicial systems also works to break down those that are attached to the ones that are victims to the system. I am not immune to the pain that many prisoners feel when they are confronted with the truth as only those that love can convey to you.
First, I want to thank you for venting what you have been feeling the many years of my incarceration. You did a wonderful job voicing your inner thoughts in a way that allowed me to feel the pain you have experienced from me not being physically present in your life. I must say, you are a brave person, strong willed, and mature for your young age.
Second, your message to me will lay the foundation from this day forward that will serve as our reminder of all the things we’ve had to overcome when all this is behind us.
I know exactly where you are coming from. I too felt the same way growing up when my father never showed up to my birthday parties (when I was lucky to have one); when he never came to my rescue when I mostly needed his support. I felt abandoned and unwanted by him, and this caused me to grow into adulthood still carrying these feelings. Unlike myself, he was not locked away or unable to reach out to me – he simply just left. I found myself confused, hurt and angry – at times afraid. I grew into adulthood not knowing the guidance of a father; the importance of needing to be a father, and not knowing the value in being a father – all the above I was deprived of, consequently, depriving you of the same things.
Life can be cruel, baby. You will come to know that life can give you some uncertainties when all we desire is certainty. Certainty of happiness. Certainty of peace. Certainty of love, more importantly for a child, certainty in a structure that will keep us safe from dangers. Certainty, that when we fall down, someone, something, somehow will incubate us from a fall we are afraid of. Trust me, I know just how you feel.
Honey, I need you to know just how sorry I am to have made you feel such pain. I need you to know that I have never wanted any of this for you. Believe me, there has never been a time where I didn’t feel the need to pick you up because I know you had fallen. Or to help you blow out those birthday candles that as they increased throughout years – to simply hold you outside of these prison walls. Regrettably, I can’t find the words to express how me not being there with you has opened up my heart to a pain I never felt before. And yet, it is that same pain that guides this pen to give you a glimpse of me as you have given me a glimpse of you.
But to give credence to this pain without being able to draw out a roads map that will guide you through the storms you’ll encounter on your travels into adulthood would be futile. Its important that you remain as strong tomorrow as you are today. Life’s road will seem difficult at times; challenging beyond what you may feel you’re unable to handle.
As a woman, you’ll be marginalized and objectified rather than placed at the head of the line for your cognitive abilities – that is, you’ll be sought more after your physical attributes rather than your intellect. Your heart, as priceless as it is to me, will be ignored by many, whom themselves have yet to realize that the heart determines the intrinsic value of an individual’s worth. Somehow, the world has forgotten that women are the mother’s of civilization, and without you it can go on no longer. You’re invaluable and essential to mankind, but if you don’t know this or understand this, you will fall victim to the many lies you will be told along the way.
You will be told that you are ugly without makeup; not woman enough without sexual desire; not qualified enough without submission to your male counterparts; not ready to advance in life because you fail to meet the standards set in place by those that rather reap your benefits and keep you in a place that will ensure their ability to control you; to demean you, even to enslave you. You will be told that sex is the only way to prove your worth, or your love.
These are all lies that you must guard yourself against. You will be told that you can’t! That you shouldn’t! And that you won’t!!! These are all lies you must ignore. Lies, that if you are not fortified against, will consume you and defeat you as a woman. Sweetie, you must know that liberation starts in the mind. You must never confine your mind to a space designed by others or by outer elements outside of yourself. Meaning, you and only you can control your destiny. Learn to synchronize your heart with your mind – as long as you remain true to your heart, you will remain free from these lies. Lies that have been promoted by those desiring control, wealth, and to keep you powerless as a woman.
Truth is that you have been empowered by God Himself! That is evident by your importance to our civilization. Beyond His proof, there is nothing else to remind you of your greatness without question. Walk Tall, my love. In every step find pride; find esteem; find humility; find strength; find POWER and there you will find success. These are the things that will be hidden from you.
Liberate yourself at every turn and at any cost. Let your vision be seen by the many. Let your creativity be used to inspire the many. Let your purpose in life be your guide and reason why you stand tall against the odds, and establish yourself the best amongst the many.
Never let the pain of my incarceration blind you.. Don’t let my incarceration fill you with void, sorrow or HATE. Rather, use it as your reminder that nothing can stop you from reaching the finish line. I promise that I’ll be standing there to see you win!
You have to BELIEVE!!!