Womyn: an untold story 10-13-09
"Sometimes it's not the stories we tell that matter, but the ones that remain untold." - a quote from someone that I either mutilated and paraphrased, or simply just made up.
Womyn in my experience, seem to be the one's mainly responsible for making doing time survivable. I'm not talking about the Cosmo and Maxim photos of womyn completely objectified behind jail cell walls. When the male inmates are done masturbating to these superimposed images they trade them out saying "I done used that bitch allready." Of course, that is not the support I'm talking about.
The womyn i'm talking about have a strength, endurance, and beauty that probably surpasses any inmate in here. The wife who writes her husband everyday even if she doesn't have much to say. The grandma (abuelita) or aunt (tia) who unfailably puts $10 a week on their family member's commissary books, even though they themselves are on an incredibly fixed income. The mom's that come and visit every weekend, no matter what, even if they are missing out on the 12:00 pm Sunday bingo. The sister's who let their addict brother use their physical mailing address as a "residence," so that when they do get released they don't have to go to half-way house for yet another six months.
The 5 foot nothing, 160 pounds of real authentic southern black women who comes by everyday to see the towell wave from her 6 foot 3, red haired, 135 pound, swastika-tattooed boyfriend. She was the only one who cared long enough to teach him real love, one that is not predicated on institutionalize racist brotherhoods.
Or the 17 year old pregnant girl, who smuggles drugs into jail for her 18 year old baby's daddy, all because the voice on the phone says if she doesn't do it, her baby's daddy will be killed.
Or the ex-wife of the now recovering, good-hearted methhead, who continues to explain to their 4 year old son that his dad is sick and in the hospital, all so that he won't grow up ever thinking bad of him.
Or the girlfriend who adopts the son of the man she was prison penpals with all before the state put him down. A womyn who is now trying to raise his son to be a revolutionary, eventually giving him the knowledge and empowerment needed to fight against the murderous state and all of it's injustices.
But it goes past prison walls... to the multitude of womyn stories that will always remain untold. The one's who sacrifice going back to Him because she believed that it is what is best for the kids. The one's whom never go back to Him again, even though their biggest fear is never finding another partner again.
Then there is the mom who emails and phones her son's bestfriends so that they know updates on his case. The womyn who takes care of the kitten he unintentionally abandoned when the small town Reedsport cops kidnapped him. The mother that was forced to make an impossible decision, when both her son's had court on the same day and she made the decision to decide which one needed her the most. The womyn who was belittled and harrased by the district attorney, but never once gave into misrepresenting her son's character. Relentless love.
Then there's the womyn who are also currently locked up. The ones that receive three times higher sentencing for killing their abusive husbands, when compared to those abusive husbands that kill their wives. The womyn who face a much high chance of being violently raped while incarcerated. The womyn who will have to struggle more than men, once released form the pen. Because no one wants to higher a felon conivct, but especially a womyn felon convict, not to mention a person of color womyn felon convict.
These stories, their stories, fill ghost anthologies larger in size than entire congressional encyclopedia sets. I don't want to pit womyn against men, I just want to recognize my own inequality in storytelling. Thanks to those womyn in my life, who have made doing time everything but soul-crushing. Especially, thanks to my mom. I know -but cant fully imagine- how hard this is on you
against the patriarchy
who holds the keys
responsible for imprisoning me
* maybe in an attempt to be honest, or maybe just top use my own experience as example: The womyn in my life have written, acted, payed, and given more for and to me while being locked up. More than any of the important males in my life. Exponentially more.
** it would also be fair to note that those male-bodied friends that identify as queer and/or gender neutral have done more than those who identify as otherwise.
Months later, I recognize now that there are more factors to play into what people are capable of doing for their loved ones locked up. Some of the males in my life were having more emotionally turmoil over my incarceration (in as much as that can even be quantified). Some also had jobs, families, and other time consuming life sustaining things. Ultimately, looking at each person as a unique individual friend is way more meaningful and productive than setting up groups to judge or qualify. I can't describe the importance of each and every one of my friendships. But I still think the relevance of my writing this given my circumstances still stands. Not to mention, most people incarcerated are not supported by a radical community. Instead, they are supported by communities with strict gender roles and I see no harm in celebrating the struggles, strengths, and love of the one gender that appears more frequent in their personal support systems. But if I'm wrong, please challenge me.