My friend is posting this for me. I’m still in prison and will be for a few more minutes. I’m not sure how to go about blogging again. Do I write about my crime? About my time? About my thoughts? About Prison? So for now, I thought I’d just put up this essay from my friend Amber. Amber is serving a life sentence. She writes so well about how we view life behind the fence that I thought this would give you an idea of what my life is like now too. Thank you for reading:
“Who am I? I am a mother of two. I am a sister to four. I am a daughter, I am a Christian. I am generous, loving kind, and thoughtful. I am a really good friend. I am a convicted murderer. I am a lifer.
Most people think being sent to prison for the rest of your life means your life stops. I thought that for a minute. It’s hard to push past the blockage that screams “forever!” and see the path. The path that says my life still means something.
We came to prison and most people forgot all about us. We have become the dirt swept under the rug of society. You don’t want to see it or acknowledge it even thought you know it’s there because then you would have to do something about it. As a lifer I have moved to a new society. Mine is contained by a razor wire fence and guards on constant patrol, but it is my community. At first you may focus on what we do not have, Freedom, or enough food, clothing or programs for everyone. How it may be awful to sit in a tiny room with someone for hours every day because there is nowhere else to go. If you look pas all of that you will see an entirely different world. You will see a place where you still go to work, go to school, go to church, go to the gym, go to the doctor. A place where you can keep yourself so busy that you are exhausted at the end of the day. A place where people reach out and help one another in times of need.
I’ve seen a lifer put together a walk for breast cancer and convince her fellow prisoners to donate $5,000 of their own money for research. I’ve seen a lifer use her own money to buy yarn and have people crochet dozens of items for homeless and battered women and children. I’ve seen a lifer spend countless hours helping someone study for their GED and celebrate when the work paid off. I’ve seen lifers smile and walk their friends to the gates and then come back to their rooms and cry because they will never know that day for themselves.
Lifers are supposed to be the worst of the worst. The most despicable members of society. Yet they are the ones i’ve seen do the kindest things. While everyone is counting down their time, we are counting up. While I’m doing that. I can make a difference in someone’s life here. I can show them how to be kind and brave in tough circumstances. I can show them how to be humble and treat others with respect. I can show them how to hold their head high and make the right choice. One person may take one of these lessons they’ve learned from me or another lifer and take it outside these gates and change the world. Then it’s worth it. Will my LIFE still be worthless?
So, who am I? I am someone confined by a clock. I am a lifer defined by my determination to still leave my mark on the world.”
Kelli’s birthday is coming up on March 30. If you’d like to send her a letter or card you can send it to her:
Kelli Stapleton #946309
Ypsilanti Women’s Prison
1301 Bemis Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
If someone would like to send a book (you can only send books) it has to come exclusively from Amazon (no second party vendors). It must also include a gift receipt.
If you would like to contribute to the yarn (she loves to crochet) and diet coke fund, you can NO LONGER use JPay. You have to send it through connectnetwork.com