Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Last steps in a prison

I thought I was never going to step inside the fence of a prison again. But I was wrong.

Its been almost 1 1/2 years since I’ve had to walk beyond the walls, through the electric gates, past the towers and onto the grounds and come across inmates. There hasn’t been one day that’s gone by, I’ve missed it. Not one.

The difference with this is, I’ll be in civilian clothes. Not a uniform.

On Monday, when I originally planned on driving into work to finish being separated from the Dept., I was under the impression it was outside the walls, in the personnel trailers where I would sign here here and here, hand over my badge and take a ‘retired’ id picture. By 11, I was still waiting for her to call me back and when she did, she informed me I had to ‘check out.’

Checking out involves me going throughout the ENTIRE institution to get upwards to 30 signatures from various departments to ensure I turned everything in. This takes sometimes hours to do as everyone is not sitting at their desks waiting for me to arrive. It’s my responsibility to track each and every person down in order to have it be completed. (this is a very LARGE institution) and it was already too late in the day to start Monday.

I can’t explain to you how I felt when she told me I’d have to do this. It wasn’t fear, because I don’t fear walking around inmates. But I did have anxiety. Anxiety that made my blood rise and body shake. I started to sweat and fought back tears as I told G-man what I had to do. Fighting tears throughout the day as I thought about it.

For 1 and 1/2 years, I’ve let go of all that working in a prison had done to me. For 1 and 1/2 years, God has changed and softened my heart into what it is now. I no longer have the ‘street smart’ attitude (as G-man puts it), I’m nothing of what I once was and walking back into a prison is the last thing I, as I am now, ever thought I’d have to do.

The anxiety only built when I considered what to wear. I found myself fishing out my ‘manly’ sunglasses I used to wear to work; debating whether or not to wear makeup and throw my hair up in a bun. Stressing over which outfit to wear that didn’t hug any part of me, that was loose, possibly baggy since I can’t wear jeans and definitely can’t wear my uniform.

This is hard to explain to even myself why I reacted this way, let alone to you. But this job has taken a toll on me emotionally. For the first 2 years, I had almost nightly horrific nightmares that left me drenched in sweat and my heart bursting out of my chest. So vivid and real, I could tell you the majority of them, to this day. I even went and saw a therapist, they were affecting me that deeply. I’ve had men masturbate to me, call me the worst names possible, yell lewd and perverse comments in my direction, not to mention gestures, and have seen crime and murder scenes that put CSI and Criminal Minds to shame.

My work thumbdrive contains some of the most violent inmate on inmate murder videos that I used to watch and make my Officers watch, as “OJT” (on the job training) and now, I don’t know what to do with them. I can’t watch them anymore, they make me sick to my stomach.

I’ve changed. From head to toe, inside and out, I’ve changed. And I am so thankful He’s changed me out of what I once was and once was around.

I can’t express in words my true hatred for having to go back into the prison to check out. But I pray and beg you to pray that God leads me through there with a swiftness that only He could give. With minimal stress from inmates or staff who haven’t seen me in 1 1/2 years. All day Monday, I felt my attitude hardening in preparation. I do not like what prison does to me and I want to spend as little time there as possible.

Please pray that it’s so.

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The Blogivers said...

Just said a prayer for you. Keep us posted!

LeAnna said...

Praying for you today, girl. Praise the Lord we serve a God who cares about things like this. He truly does, and will see you through!

bunky153 said...

I'll be praying a hedge around you as you walk into the lion's den. Remember, He is with you in the midst.

Natalie said...

I can totally see why you'd be emotional over this... it sounds awful and I could only imagine the toll it took on you! But I'm so grateful that God was able to do a tremendous work in your life and heart =) (And I'm grateful you no longer work in such an environment!) Will be praying that your anxiety is calmed,that you can get through this super quick, and that you're able to have a much better week once it's all over! Hugs! =D

I'm Hannah said...

Wow. Praying! Praying that is goes super quick and that after today God continues healing your heart!

carissa said...

this is so hard. i'm sorry you have to go back for a day. but praise God, you're not stuck working there anymore and He's done a huge work in you. let us know how it goes. praying for you.

Tatiana said...

Praying for you girly. That's some pretty horrifying stuff you've seen, and I can def. see how you would be terrified to go back there. I'm glad that you're life has been turned around and that you're a much happier person bc of it :-)

Behold the Metatron said...

I'm glad you got out if it was making you feel that way!

gr8day2save said...

Poor darling. Praying for your peace, now and after. Blessings, Nona

Oneika said...

Thinking about you and hoping it all goes well!

Stephanie said...

May this day bring you closure and peace, and enable you to move forward with this beautiful life that God has planned for you.

Amy @ dwell in the season said...

Wow, the Lord truly has changed your heart - and it's so beautiful. Praying for you this week and through this process. Much love to you!

Mrs. Pancakes said...

God is faithful emily! sending you positive thoughts!

Ashley said...

oh em! i can't even begin to imagine. you are one tough cookie!

i'm sure a job like that took a toll on you. my hats off to you for doing that for as long as you did. and thank God for changing you and leading your life into a different direction.

and, thank God for letting me find your wonderful, inspiring and cute blog! love ya girlie :)

denise* paper angels said...

oh emily!!! i don't know what to say except i really respect you for hanging in there as long as you did.

im finally on school holidays now so i am so happy to have the time to comment on your blog and to let your life inspire mine all over again :)

this post really made me go Wow and say a quick prayer (a little belated, but i'm sure God saw it coming.... right...? :p) and im so glad God got you through it. i also think it's so awesome that you wear a wedding band to make people think you're married, haha! :)

lots of love and hugs, denise

denise* paper angels said...

P.S. If i were a guy, i'd totally ask you out! (in a non-creepy way of course... i hastily add!)


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