Better Than I Deserve


My life is going good right now. Like, really good. Like, “I don’t understand” good. I don’t know if this is because things are actually that good, or if it’s just that my life is currently better than it’s ever been.

I have a great group of friends. We hang out and talk most mornings. A couple of us work together, so we go to the kitchen and laugh and goof off while we are cooking and serving 300-something meals. Then in the evenings we play volleyball and chill. Being here, being safe, being in a community of women and embraced as one of their own, having friends I don’t fear the ulterior motives of, once again I find myself experiencing the greatest amount of freedom I have ever had in my entire life, while still in prison. I am so thankful to be here because I finally fit somewhere.

I’m realizing just how big a deal my passing privilege is. I’m seeing other trans women here have their trans-ness thrown in their faces anytime they have even the slightest bit of conflict with someone. I’ve had that happen exactly once when I first got to WCCW, and not a single time since. I am treated like just another girl, which is really all I’ve wanted when it comes to gender stuff. I realize that I won a genetic lottery with having features as androgynous as I do and then won the lottery a second time with how well my body has taken to HRT. I watch other trans women not receive acceptance simply because their shoulders are too broad, their voices too deep, their posture too masculine, or their boobs somewhere in between unnoticeable and nonexistent. They don’t pass and therefore struggle for acceptance. With just a few trappings of femininity and a freshly shaved face, I pass. Doesn’t matter that I live my life out loud and will intentionally make references to my childhood as a boy and will discuss my trans-ness openly anytime I’m asked. I pass. That equals acceptance.

Soon I’ll get to have my first in-person visit in like seven or eight years. I’m not even sure how to explain how much of a big important deal this is to anyone who hasn’t done time. Having friends on the inside helps to push back the lonely and is important because we are all in the same boat together. Penpals and talking on the phone helps too, helps me to not feel forgotten and isolated. However, there’s a reason the saying goes “seeing is believing, but touching is truth.” Having someone put forth the effort to actually come down to the prison, give me a hug, then sit a talk for a couple hours, that is really what it takes to convince the ol’ mammalian hindbrain

The biggest news is that I recently learned there is a chance that I may not die in prison. Thanks to a recent case, anyone under the age of 21 now has to have a special hearing for considering the person’s “youthfulness” before they can be given a life sentence. The upshot of this is in the next couple months I’ll be going back to county to beg for a little mercy. What I did was horrific and there has to be a reckoning for that. At the same time the thought of being locked up for 50 years or more then dying of medical neglect, is also horrifying. Well, two horrors don’t make a right, and I’m hoping the judge sees it the same way. Otherwise, I could go all the way back to Spokane, beg for my life, and have nothing change. I could still die in here.

But then… there’s that chance. A slim chance which hasn’t existed for the last 14 years of my prison sentence. I may not die in here. I cannot even begin to explain how big this is.

So back to my starting point. Thank Goodness, my life is currently far better than I deserve.


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