By Myesha Newell
There’s a girl i know well who went from court date to court date feeling spiritually drained, having to eat a sack lunch without even so much as water to wash it down.
She was constantly in a trance of trying to face the future and detect the unexpected, but at the time she really felt she wasn’t ready for what the future held. She was only a 16-year- old girl being brought up in the city. She was barely blossoming as a young lady, seeking to find herself. Seeking and searching in high and low places landed her in shoes she was forced to fill. Now, she’s subject to strip searches, shackles and chemical sprays because of her involvement in a crime. She didn’t come from a broken home, but through her actions of pushing away those who cared for her, she landed here at DJJ. For some, these practices cause physical injury. For others, emotional trauma. All those emotions compact on top of the already underlying emotions of isolation from loved ones. She’s already faced with what she has bottled up. She has a fear of how she is going to get through this without losing focus on who she is. She just doesn’t want to forget her identity. She doesn’t want her loved ones to forget her, either. She’s baffled. She has all these questions but not enough answers. She knows she has to be held accountable for her wrong doings, 100 percent. The only thing she’s saying to herself is, “Am I cut out for this journey?” She knows God wouldn’t put this on her path if He didn’t know she could conquer this task. What is she to do?
That girl and I are really close. She is me. I’ve been picking up mini Restorative Justice projects, filling positions, taking up multiple jobs, signing up for extracurricular activities, furthering my college studies and anything under the sun to stay busy. I strive to stand for change. I want when people look my direction that they don’t only view the personal change in me as an individual. Rather, I want them to see the change because of what I’ve been through, witnessed, and evolved from, that’s what makes the woman I am today. That’s what’s helping to form me into the woman of my tomorrow.
With an anticipated 18 months remaining (with good behavior), I would like to let young women, both near and afar, know to never get discouraged
by the False Evidence Appearing Real (F.E.A.R.). Gossip shouldn’t be your trending topic, finding who you are and getting a deeper understanding of your- self is really what should be trending, while you’re incarcerated. As women, regardless of sexual orientation or race, we should be lifting one another up. The harsh reality is that these facilities have been around long before my generation existed. So instead of complaining, let’s be the change we want to see. The future is female. Why not leave positive footprints to follow? I have been incarcerated for two years and two months thus far. If I haven’t left an impression already, I’d like to leave you with this cognitive distortion on how you should approach fear from now on. You’ll still be fearful—it’s a natural human emotion—but it’ll be good F.E.A.R.
Don’t let the flawed F.E.A.R. of life get you wrapped up. Turn that flawed F.E.A.R into a renovated way of look- ing at the world. When fear starts to shift over in your mind, repeat after me, “F.E.A.R is not False Evidence Appear- ing Real, it’s me Facing Everyday, Accepting Reality.”