You have to have been improsioned to truly understand what freedom is. You can be imprisoned by the limits of your physical body, you can be imprisoned by addiction, self-hate, greed or any other negative behavior or attitude. This is a lesson that I have learned during this experience. I use to think that being free had to do with my physical body. I had to learn that imprisonment and freedom are mindsets. That’s why it was so easy for me to not care when I first came to prison. I had the mentality that if I was going to be locked up like an animal, I may as well act like an animal. I did everything that you see in the TV shows, with the only exceptions being drugs and cigarettes. But everything else, I did it. I didn’t care how much I hurt myself or others. I didn’t even call home most times because I couldn’t stomach hearing them living life while I was stuck behind these bars. I felt trapped and I behaved like any trapped animal will…I came out with my claws extended. I fought against every good thing that I had going for me. It took a while, but one day I had an epiphany… I realized that I was only as trapped as I let my mind believe I was. I had to pray and dig deep, but eventually I started being able to take inventory and being able to see all of the possibilities I still had before me. I start small, but over time I was able to change my thinking, which in turn changed my behavior. I started fighting to get out and fighting for others as well. I started programs to help the ladies in here better themselves. I had a purpose and one day I woke up and I no longer felt trapped. I had hope and I finally felt free!
Noni J. Stinson