What is the definition of Love? What do you do when you love someone who is incarcerated? Or even worse, how about loving someone who is forever incarcerated and is doing life? How do you live? What do you do? Do you stay or do you go? Sometimes in life we are faced with certain challenges that cause us to ask our selves why this circumstance has landed in our lap and why can’t our lives be normal like everyone else? Why be placed with this burden of responsibility where the perfect relationship that you have with the love of your life will never be dinner at your favorite restaurant, or a night of dancing and then passionate love making, or even just the closeness of intimacy where you can just hold one another. Instead you are substituting this with very expensive collect calls, window visits that last 15 minutes with air kisses, and if your lucky two hour contact visits where you can kiss and hung at the beginning, sit across from each other where you can not touch again , and you are treated as if you are also incarcerated your self. Is it all worth it? Then there is the question of why are you putting your self through this or my favorite line, hanging on as some people like to put it, to a relationship that requires a lot of stress and a lot of obstacles? Plain and simple people, Love has no creed, color, religion, or perfect package that it comes in. You have to stop and ask yourself did you not love this person before the incarceration happened? Did you not know who he or she was before they made their mistake and ended up behind bars? It is not up to you to judge that individual. You can love or you can leave.
I have been watching some television series about women who love men behind bars became a fascinating topic for the interviewer. There was a special with Barbara Walters where she interviewed several women, including one of the Mendez brother’s wife. One of the crucial points of this episode that I observed was how the wife or partner of the inmate had no issue with their love for their spouse but the interviewer seemed rattled because of the confidence displayed by the women who were being interviewed. The more confident that the spouse of the inmate displayed the more criticism received. Followed by the outsiders assumed reason of their opinion as to why they assumed that these individuals chose the path of being the spouse of an inmate. This included accusations of self esteem issues, fidelity, or my personal favorite, sinking to an all time low and settling because they can not cope with all their failed relationships with men who are free so that individual sinks low by dealing with an inmate. Then there are the individuals who know the couples and when the inmate was free and was in the life of the judgmental person, it was all good but once the inmate became incarcerated, they not only turn against the incarcerated individual but they also try to destroy anyone who supports or continues to love the incarcerated individual by trying to sabotage the free person and prevent them or attempt to influence them so that the inmate receives no love or support at all. Then there are the individuals who were in a love relationship with the incarcerated individual and circumstances change the scope of the relationship because the person becomes incarcerated and all of a sudden there is abandonment to the incarcerated individual followed by alienation. You also have the opinionated individuals who think they know this world on the inside and spew negative criticism to everything with incarceration from the people who work in the system to those doing the time. Okay. Here is my question. Why weren’t these critical comments and/or opinions voiced when the inmate was outside the prison walls and you were in your relationship loving him or her free and clear? What changed between the blue sky and green grass to the barbwire fence, green grass, and blue sky? What these critics are forgetting is that even though these individuals maybe incarcerated, they are still human beings and should be treated as such. My theory is this. It takes a special type of person to be with someone who is incarcerated or work in that environment, but it takes a very strong and supernatural force to confidently bare a relationship with an individual who is incarcerated let along facing a life sentence. Love never said that when it knocked on your door that it would come in a perfect pretty package. It also never said that it would come into your life at a certain time where you would be prepared and organized to cope with the responsibility that it takes to carry out a relationship. What I found rather interesting was that no matter how much these women attempted to explain why they were happy with their incarcerated hubbies or significant other, it was assumed that the reason for this happiness is because they know that their significant other can not go anywhere and that behind bars he is faithful. Oh, you think so huh? Another statement made to these women was questioning how they function day to day without the presence of their spouse. One woman answered with a comparison that there are “businessmen who travel quite frequently and are never home to nurture or develop the relationship” and the long distance method is utilized. The spouse of the inmate stated that it is the same thing. The women were also criticized because their relationships with their inmates were emotional not physical. Don’t all relationship have to develop some sort of emotional connection in order to facilitate the love connection? What happened to sex not being everything? Without this level of emotional intimacy, how could one flourish that love?
The assumption that women out here in the free world with spouses who are incarcerated and/or facing life are with these men because they have low self esteems is not only further from the truth, and an assumption that you need not engage in so that you do not make an ass out of your self. We love our spouses because we love them. We loved them before this happened in some cases, in other cases some loved and united during incarceration, and still others grew to love by exposure. Either way the cupids arrow stung both individuals and as my husband would say, “at the end of the day” (Espionage), it is what it is and it’s going to be what its going to be. You also have the individuals who assume that the reason that women settle for an inmate is because they can not have anyone else. I for one am not an unattractive female at all. I can have who ever I want if I want them. I am considered a very sexy female. From my observation, neither are the women that were on television being challenged for their relationship with their spouse. Also, the assumption that we are with these guys because it’s easier and there is no worry of infidelity. Oh, you think so do you? I will have you know that inside of the prison walls the inmate has access to everything from a cell phone to drugs to IPods to sex. Whether they have sex with themselves, each other, or the staff, or even communicating with other lovers that you do not have a clue who else is also on their phone list or visit list, or part of their daily mail correspondence.
The biggest mistake for assuming is the idea that inmates do not have the capability to cheat on you while incarcerated would be a very stupid thought on your part. Bottom line; don’t talk about what you do not have a clue about. If you are going to criticize the prison wives and/or lovers of these kept individuals, then research real well before you decide the ridicule or throw stones. There is no reason for anyone out there to act like they are so superior that they think that they are better then an individual who is on the inside. If you do think that then you are the one who is incarcerated by your stupidity. Just because a person committed a crime does not mean they are a horrible person. Are we not entitled to make a mistake or to not make the right choice? Or even better, what of the millions of innocent individuals who sit behind the prison walls that really did not commit the crime but the police wanted to make their quota and they broke the law themselves and falsely imprisoned that person? Are you going to treat that person like garbage too? Are you going to act like you are holier than thou and too good to even treat another human being as a human being who is innocent like they are lower than feces on the ground?
Think of it like this. How would you feel if a judgmental person like you had a loved one who was incarcerated and that person was being mistreated by a person like you? Or, how would you like it if you became incarcerated your self because of a lie someone told and you were mistreated and judged? On the other side of that wall could be you, your mother or father, your sister or brother, your significant other, or someone near and dear to your heart. So the next time that an individual decides to judge a person who is the support system for their loved one who is incarcerated, or the person doing the time, think first before you judge either party. There are many reasons unbeknown to the general public as to the reasons for an incarcerated individual’s plight. It is not the simple I went out and committed a crime rationale either. Some individuals will commit a crime on purpose so that they have a roof over their head or are in need of medical attention and know that they can receive it within the wire walls. Whatever the reason, it is not appropriate to hurt someone else by criticism for doing what they feel is right. Bottom line is you can not support the supporter or just leave it be.