Journey of Faith

Our eyes are the windows to our soul

DISCLAIMER: Some content may not be appropriate for all readers. Reader discretion is advised.

When your incarcerated there are many things that you can’t “unsee”. Therefore, sometimes it’s better to just mind your own business and not look. I obtained an education I wasn’t looking for while I was there. I grew up in a small town. The biggest cities were Harrisburg, Baltimore, which are both about 50 miles in either direction. The school I went to, had an FFA club (Future Farmers of America, and they would bring kids from other districts in to participate in the classes. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, so I wasn’t ignorant to things going on in the world. I also wasn’t someone who went out looking for it either. My first morning in jail, I woke up and saw a guy walking around the dorm. Full beard, flat chested. I couldn’t figure out why he was there. I didn’t see him come in, and so I thought well maybe they brought him over to do something in the dorm. Then it dawned on me that he was transgender. I had never seen anyone like this before and if I did, I wouldn’t have known it nor asked. This happened again when I moved over to the general population dorm. A transgender individual came in with full facial hair named Jason. We had to close down the bathroom when he showered because he was in the process of transforming but not quite. Again, I learned more than I thought I would. I didn’t understand how you could be almost transformed. The other male had his breasts removed but still had female genitalia. Jason however, had no breasts and was being prepped for the reassignment surgery. This entails taking medications that make your clitoris grow enlarged. (If you want to read more, here’s a link: Jason was in this process and therefore it was not in his or our best interest to see this. Believe me, when people are in jail for short periods of time or longer periods, they turn into crazy horny animals. Some of what you see on tv regarding this aspect of prison is accurate. I have walked in the bathrooms numerous times seeing people making out, two people in one stall, seen people go to the hole for having sex and being caught. When I arrived in Muncy and started having contact visits. My husband and boys came to see me often. During our first visit, my older son tapped me on the arm and said, “Mom, I thought only women were here?”. I said, “they are”. He kept, asking me and I finally looked at him and said, “there is only women here”. That time I gave him this look that he knew what I meant. It was during my jail time that I learned the word, “boy girl”. This is someone that during my time growing up might have been considered a tom boy. They like to dress like a boy, act like a boy, however in this case they like girls. They aren’t feminine. I never heard them called anything else, and no other derogatory word that I recalled hearing when I grew up. I also saw a lot of people embrace being, “gay for the stay”. This was normally someone who came in and used someone else while they were there. They may use them in many different ways, but a lot of times it was for commissary. They then became a “commissary whore”. When we used to be able to go to church as an entire campus, a lot of the girls would go to church to meet up with their girlfriends. I can’t tell you the number of times that Rev. Nettie had to stop a service because she saw someone messing around under the tables. (This was known as finger poppin). The pavilion outside at yard was coined “The finger hut”. This is why I didn’t go outside and didn’t want to go outside. Again, you can’t unsee this mess! You learn to just mind your own business because the less you see, the less you can say you saw. In blues, our cell door was open because my roommate went to get her evening meds. I was sitting at the desk listening to music and coloring. Someone must have come by and threw something in the doorway for her. I didn’t see it. The next thing I knew, they officer in the bubble buzzed our room asking what was thrown into the cell. I told her I didn’t know because I wasn’t paying attention. We were located at the top of the steps and a lot of traffic moved in front of our door at this time. They called my roommate down to question her. Then they called me to go down and sit with her so they could inspect our cell. Apparently, the dummy asked someone for sweetener, and they threw the packets in the room to give to her. Then they carted her off to drug test her because by this time she looked higher than a kite. We tried to explain to them that she just took her evening meds, of which one was Seroquel. I honestly think they did this to try to scare her so she wouldn’t do it again. Especially when we moved to general population. Unfortunately, this scare didn’t faze her because she ended up in trouble a few times. I just minded my own business that day and didn’t pay attention to what she had going on. Most times when people would get in trouble in there it was over something that had to do with a girl or girlfriend. I still can’t understand it. I would not jeopardize my freedom for someone in jail that I just met! The things you learn, the things you see, things you end up having to do to just survive from one day to the next still makes me shake my head. You end up becoming a McGyver of all things turning everything into something useful. In county, I learned how to take pads and turn them into tampons. (See video example here: I became so good at it that people would refer others to me to either make them or show them how to do it. We didn’t get tampons in county. In state prison you get pads, tampons and panty liners. You also get pad bags, but those we used to spit sunflower seed shells in. Pads are great to make hot and stick in a used rice bag for a heating pad. You can also use an empty shampoo bottle with hot water for one too. Especially if you get bad cramps. We had microwave to cook, but if the guards felt like being mean they would say we couldn’t use them. Sometimes the lines were too long to wait to use them. I always knew someone who had a stinger. Another thing that was seen, known but never discussed. (If you want to see how to make one, here’s a link: We came up with some pretty good recipes, and many times they were just as good as things we’d have at home. I saw pizzas made out of saltine crackers that would make a local pizza shop ask for the recipe. I used to make Stromboli out of ritz crackers. Cooking was a big thing in jail. If you were good at making something, especially no bake cheesecakes people would come to you and hit you up to make them one. There’s always a hustle in there. My hustle became crocheting blankets and flat animals. We weren’t allowed to have 3D items, so any animals were flat. There’s a lot to see in jail, it just depends on what you set your eyes on to take in. Our eyes are the windows to our soul and my soul belongs to the Lord.

Photo by João Jesus:

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