Truth Be Told

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 47 Days and Counting

Walks On The Grass

I have a confession to make. Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be good for the soul and all that other metaphoric mess, but I can only hope there is some truth in that. See, for a little over a year I’ve been on here talking about all the wonderful plans I have for when I get out, how I want to do this and I want to do that. But I haven’t told you the part about not having a clue how I’m going to do any of it.

Oh, I’ve told Sings this and she keeps telling me it’s all gonna be fine and deep down I know that ultimately it will. Hey, I would rather do bad living under a bridge in a cardboard box than to do good in these prisons. I know that my worst day of freedom will be far and away better than my best day in here and I know that I am going to have to do it one step at a time, one day at a time. I must not be impatient or expect more than is realistic. I have a lot of patience, prison taught me that. I also know just exactly how little I need to get by and the small amount it takes for me to be comfortable, so I have no reason to doubt that at the end of it all, I will make it.

But here’s the thing… I am scared to death, and as my release date draws closer the anxiety is kicking my butt. Basically I will have a year in the halfway house which is meant to help me make the transition. At my age I have many concerns like how will I get on social security disability. I know they are going to deny me the first go around, that’s what they do to everyone, but here is a problem, I am diabetic and I wonder where am I going to get my insulin? I sure won’t be able to afford it, not with the testing supplies and the syringes and all. Then there’s the other medications I’m on as well, so it’s going to be a matter of emergency public assistance and I worry that being in the halfway house may throw some monkey wrench in that. There are just so many things, it’s like what? where? but even bigger, how???

I don’t want to sound like a cry baby, but the simple truth is I don’t know how to get over the anxiety I am feeling over some of these things, and I don’t know what I can do to get any real answers to any of my questions. My case manager and counselor are absolutely no help; every time I ask them about something they say they don’t know and “they will help you figure it out at the halfway house.” But that’s a real b.s. response; I should not have to wait till I’m there and these situations are on top of me before I have any answers.

I did manage to find out I will be able to work 20 hours a week and still be eligible for social security disability, but then again, if I can find a job that pays well enough, I may just go ahead and work the 35 hrs. a week, hold off on applying for the SSD and go to school in my off time. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to do the majority of my schooling on-line. I’m not gonna be able to afford a car, and I don’t think I’m game for a 3-hour bus ride on a daily basis to get back and forth, so I’m having all these dang wonders and worrying myself to distraction over all the things that I can’t control till I get to them.

So again, I can’t seem to figure out how to stop the worry. I do know that I really, really need the money from the IRS that I am now waiting on. At this point it seems to me everything is going to hinge on my having some money to make things happen and to get from point A to point B. I’m thinking of buying a bike after I get to the halfway house to get to some places, but that would only be an option for 2-3 months till it’s too cold for me to bike wherever I need to go.

So there it is, I’m scared and out of answers but I want to throw this out there for you to consider: When I walk out the door all I will have are the clothes I’m wearing, my meager savings, and some paperwork. Yes I have the jewelry I’ve made over the years. That’s all being held for me but for it to serve my financial needs I will have to get it and then somehow find a way to market it.

I will also need to get an id card, then re-apply for a driver’s license. See, I got into some mess in my addiction and my license was revoked 38 years ago. Unless I can find a way to prove that long ago I did all the drug and alcohol rehab in prison and have been clean and sober for all these many years, according to the DMV, that is going cost me at minimum $250.00 to reinstate it.  

I know I will need a computer and a phone. What are those going to cost? Then there is the matter of buying clothes and shoes to wear. Even at Goodwill or Salvation Army I’m looking at another $150 and I absolutely must have new glasses. There’s another $200 I’m sure. Constantly thinking about all these things is just killing me. There will be so many expenses just to get to the point where I can start trying to move forward with getting things done toward my future and leaving the halfway house. UUUggggghhhhhh!!!!!

It’s obvious there are a lot of problems coming my way, mostly all little things, but collectively I find them overwhelming, not because I can’t get over the hurdles but with no concrete answers about what to expect, I just feel stymied. I’m stressing, I’m worried and I’m scared. No matter how many reassuring platitudes I hear; “you’ll be fine,” “it’ll be ok,” or “it will work out,” my level of trust in “the system” is very low. My rational mind tells me the halfway house and resource services will be there to support and guide me through the transition, but still I can’t help being apprehensive. Truth be told, what I really need most is for the Creator to reach out, bring me some solace and some serenity, and yes, patience that the answers or solutions will come…

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder well into my eighties. I have lived an ordinary life doing all the ordinary things expected of women of my generation. But through it all, I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A registered nurse by profession, I have long had a strong interest in writing and genealogy with a special interest in Southeastern Creek Indian history and culture. In my golden years, just when I was thinking “retirement,” some unexpected things happened that led me down a totally unfamiliar path. I’ve since learned it took a lifetime of experiences to prepare me for the challenges to come. My journey – indeed my calling – led me to a remarkable man, a Mvskoke & Ani-yun-wiya known as Ghost Dancer, hidden away for decades behind bars in state and federal prisons. Communicating daily by e-mail for the next nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost Dancer discussing many common interests with candor and respect. Most remarkable to me was Ghost’s absolute dedication to his spiritual leadership role within the Native population. With loving kindness at all times, Ghost shared many of his teachings, including lessons from within the sacred sweat lodge. A full index to Ghost's shared teachings can be found at GHOST DANCER'S SACRED PATH. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his personal life story in small bits, like pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now with his health a shambles, Ghost Dancer is at last free and has begun putting those pieces together; he wants the world to know the whole truth of his amazing personal journey in the chapters of his book in progress, ALL FOR THE RIGHT TO PRAY. As his friend and editor on JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT, I can say this is indeed a story so big that even after these many years, I continue to be astonished as Ghost reveals new details of his solitary walk on the Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving, gifted child, he felt a strong bond with his cultural heritage in a world where family loyalty was a sacred trust and Native roots were kept secret. As a result the callow youth endured many heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. As a young teen, Ghost heeded the call to learn from the great Native spiritual leaders gathered at Wounded Knee. The influence of the elders and spiritual leaders on his young mind was profound but the political conflicts of the moment ultimately cast this loyal young boy as a target of a system determined to destroy him by any means. For the next 40 years in and out of prison, Ghost would struggle to remain true to his calling both as a teacher and an activist fighting for the religious rights of Native Americans. (Note: Currently Ghost is focused on things he must do to regain his health and has put writing the final chapters about the the wrongful convictions that put him in federal prison for the past 28 years on hold. He still has dreams for the future so he will be back!) Ghost Dancer would later introduce me to Walks On The Grass, one of his spiritual brothers and another federal prisoner. Walks’ story on JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT is totally compelling, though very different. In LONG ROAD HOME, Walks has shared his decades-long spiritual journey from deep addiction to wholeness. He follows up with ALONG THE WAY and finally, LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE as he prepares emotionally and mentally to transition to life outside after 37 years of incarceration.

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