*pic is from over my house in the city
I have always known that I had the freedom to be me, to be who I am no matter where I was.
I was able to handle jail, prison, all of it by laughter and my wit, only because that is the only way I know how to be and it got me along so far.
Often, the table I sat at in county jail was always getting warning for “laughing too loud.” That wasn’t me, I met some crazy ass wonderful women in there. Out of the two county jails, the federal transfer center in Oklahoma City, and the prison itself, I was surprised to find out what took a good toll and tried it’s best to kill my spirit was the halfway house. I wrote the poem Wallow there, because I honestly felt as if I walked into an episode of The Stepford Wives. I couln’t believe they had all these 20 something Barbie dolls working with us, looking down their noses at us and acting and making us feel as if we were the scum of the Earth, it got to be depressing, annoying, and I felt hatred burning into my soul.
It was the first place I went in the whole journey where humor got me nowhere, even with most of the residents because everyone else there was letting their spirits die too.
One day I was talking to two older federal ladies about food, I LOVE FOOD! Especially soup and frybread, nothing makes you feel more at home than soup and frybread. Then they told me, Wellbriety has soup and frybread. Of course my ears perked up, mouth already salivating, but I was like
It’s like a 12 step program, kind of like AA but not really, it’s geared more towards Indians.-they told me.
I was game, frybread, I’m there, thats the rez in me, the skin in me, the big girl in me.
So I signed up.
What I found was a place I could be me, every Friday. A place I could hang out with my people, hear and sing our songs, smudge away negativity and air what I need to in talking circle. It was social, relaxing, and supportive. It showed me, that somewhere in this city, I was free to be me.
Not what I was labeled in society.
Not the number I memorized for the last year and a half.
Not how they looked down at me at the halfway house.
Not how the people who interviewed me looked at me when explaining why I was a felon.
I was Dana, the girl who came in quest for frybread….and found a niche where her spirit was happy.
Thanks for listening as I still sing the praises of Wellbriety.