When I first came to prison, I didn’t know what to expect. And, like many people who have never been behind these walls, I believed everything I heard or saw on TV.
I believed prisons were filled with nothing but violent and vindictive predators. By spending time in more than 10 different prisons around the state, this belief was dispelled.
One of my early discoveries was that many convicts really love their mothers. They proudly proclaim it with that famous tattoo inscribed on their body somewhere, depicting a bright red heart, with Mom engraved in the middle.
I’m even guilty of tattooing my mom’s name, Barbara Bracy, on my body in two different places. To be more specific, I have eight mothers’ names tattooed on me, and I love every one of them.
After escaping an abusive relationship, my mom struggled to raise five troubled boys and one upset girl all by herself. She made sure we had a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs.
Although we have all been to jail at one time or another, my mom made sure she was there for every one of us, every time.
I grew up disrespecting women. When I came to the realization that I was hurting the people who cared for me the most, I was ashamed and disappointed in myself. My mom raised me better than that.
I ended up in prison because I did not listen to my mom. When I was arrested, the first letter I received was from my mom. The first person I called from the county jail was my mom. My first CARE package was from my mom. When I was in need, my mom would be the first person to ask, “Do you need anything?” And, I did. I needed more than I was willing to admit. But, most importantly, all I wanted was her love.