"You'll be back. Everyone comes back"
These words were spoken to me by an upper ranking Correctional Officer (CO) at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, CT. I was dressed in the issued prison uniform and sitting on a chilly metal chair, squished in an 8x11 cell. I was chatting with my cellmate about the next day: my release date. Rolling our eyes as she spoke condescendingly and so confidently, I locked eyes with her as she stood in the threshold of the cell.
"Not me, I'm going to change my life, and one day, you and I will cross paths and you will regret saying that to me." I replied.
That was in 2014 and since then I have: gone to college and received a degree, maintained a career in the field of recovery, advocated for laws and policy change statewide and nationally, shared my story of healing throughout the USA, became a homeowner, rebuilt and created healthy relationships, and most importantly: I did not go back to prison.
Oh, and I did face that CO again. She participated in a staff meeting that I was a guest presenter to. Everything that I had presented, she was required by law and her job role to follow every suggestion. How's that for a role reversal?
I was able to stand in the threshold of a doorway and re-introduce myself. I'll never forget the look on her face of shock and disbelief.
Going from being issued felonies to receiving a college degree was life changing for me. I was able to prove to myself that I have resiliency and grit - and that was just the beginning. I've now invested in myself in a whole new way: starting my own LLC.
So here's to investing in myself, knowing my worth, protecting my energy, and to the woman who doubted me. Time for a whole new level of resiliency.
Ally the ally
Read more on my incarceration & other experiences here.