I was in my cell, with the door mandated to remain opened, the sound of every conversation, in Spanish and English, booming, confusing the words that took shape on the pages before me.
Outside recreation, my sanctuary, closed to be mowed.
I lay there, thinking of my years here and trying to find any semblance of Club Fed.
I come from a family who loves music and love to dance.
One of my fondest memories is of a time, not long before my arrest, when I turned on Florence and the Machine and danced with my little dog to DOG DAYS ARE OVER.
I wore my favorite butterfly dress, that swirled as I turned.
I was free.
Here, you have to keep yourself close, like the circle of your aura that shines and smiles at strangers. You have to be more guarded, more aware.
And then there is the hardness of the place, the concrete and steel and the bed that is really just this hard, plastic, thin mat that flares my arthritis to where I am constantly popping naproxen and applying muscle rub. And where the tears used to flow freely, they now won’t come, and I know that this place, this bed, this steel and concrete, are making me hard, whereas I have always been a sweetheart.
At home, I juice, I eat raw foods, I swim and grow my own veggies.
Here at Club Fed, I am eating food that my mother wouldn’t feed her dog.
I am not complaining, you see, I did this. I sacrificed my freedom for my addiction.
When I relapsed, after being sober for so many years, I knew how this bed would feel on my old back. I knew there would be no juicer on commissary.
I knew no one would visit me, that I would be just a person in photos to my nieces,
But at the time, the whole inside of me was bigger than those truths.
I haven’t had a bath in four and half years.
I can plan on taking one if I beat the odds and somehow live to be 71 on this diet. I step into a shower each day that is cold and I don’t control the temperature.
I push a button, and what comes out is what I get, for a few seconds. And then I push it again, and again and again…and pray I don’t drop anything because half of the people using the shower have staff infection or MERSA.
The only thing remotely close to great is the gym.
The average inmate buys $50 to $90 a week in groceries and necessities.
The profit from this funds the gym. In this way our spin bikes and elliptical and yoga mats are paid for by our families and by us. It’s all very basic, nothing like the Y
There is no sauna, no pool, inside track….
But I am so grateful for what we have.
— Celeste B.