Prisoners are some of the loneliest people in the world. Our imprisonment is often a result of our own actions, though not in my case. Still, we are all in the same boat, filled with misery, despair, and loneliness in prison.

I have been incarcerated for almost ten years, and I have felt every negative emotion a person could have. Anger and depression are the dominant ones, with loneliness being a very close second.

I talk to my Mom daily, but that is bittersweet. While I am happy to have some emotional and financial support, I get sad because I can’t be there to take care of her in her golden years. She has been my rock, my day one, way before any of this mess happened to me. Currently she is seventy-four, and I know she will not live forever. I just would love to repay her and be there when she needs me.

Since my brother died, it feels like a void or something surreal when I realize that all I have is my mom. It used to be us three going the hard way, but now it’s just the two of us. When Allah calls my momma home, I feel I’ll be all alone in many ways. Being in here makes it so hard to mourn, mainly because I have a cellmate, so it’s not like I can just hibernate and cry all day. Plus, what good would that really do?

When it comes to romantic relationships, this is where we as inmates yearn the most. Some people have their kids, mothers, wives, or just girlfriends. No matter what the title is, it’s hell at times. Imagine loving someone so much and not being able to be physically with them, while watching your kids or grandkids grow older and older without your input.

As inmates, we try to establish and maintain long-distance relationships over twenty-minute phone calls, emails, and letters, which is nearly impossible, especially when we have years still to do in this prison system. Some relationships are ruined by the time they reach the county jail. Every emotion is magnified into a high concentrated vibe which spills out good or bad. The question is: who really wants a prisoner? Most women who have been with their partners for decades jump in and out of their lives because no matter what type of game an inmate thinks he has, we are all subject to the woman’s time, energy, and mercy.

People often wonder why inmates are so up and down emotionally. Well, I’ll tell you why I am. Being wrongfully convicted, coupled with not being present in my loved ones’ lives, weighs on me heavily. I have issues, I admit that. Who wouldn’t, being around over 100 people all the time and still feeling the emptiness of romantic companionship? Calling the woman I love hoping she picks up all the time and when she doesn’t, my mind wonders: Is she with another man? Or maybe she doesn’t want to be bothered by me? It’s not that we don’t trust the women we deal with. We just understand that people have needs, no matter what they may be, from conversation to physical contact. The loneliness weighs on our loved ones also. Remember our emotions are in overdrive in here. She loves me! She loves me not! A simple phrase, but ever so true.

Don’t miss:  Solitary Sucks, a revealing account of loneliness and solitary confinement in a Wisconsin prison.

Some inmates search for pen pals, someone to correspond with on an emotional level. Even though they may not even know this person, just having another woman interested in them and seeing that mail can make an inmate feel wanted. We are the lost and forgotten, the mistreated, the undervalued and underappreciated. All of these apply until we approach our release date. Then everybody comes out of the woodwork, like “haaaay, bay” and “what up, boo, how you doin’?” after years of desertion, no financial help or emotional support. Some say don’t go to prison if you want all of those things. In some ways, I agree. But I say if a woman leaves her man in prison hangin’ doing hard time, don’t come back when he is free in the world. That’s just my view.

To conclude, an inmate’s life is a lonely one, a distrustful one, a painful one, and a depressed one. Sometimes all of these emotions are running through us concurrently. Fighting this battle is a daily one because whether any of the things I feel are true or not, I still must maintain my mental stability and prepare myself for my freedom. After all, if an inmate isn’t aware or careful, they can be “in prison” even when they are in the free world.