“My Ride to the Mountain”
The Journey & The Anxiety
By: Saar-rah Robinson"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." Maya Angelou
A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease,
typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
The night before the journey, sometimes I can’t sleep at all.   I experience anxiety before we take our trip.  Anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect once you arrive on the prison grounds… you never know if your car is going to be searched…dogs smelling you... lots of unknown factors create our anxiety.
It is so important for me to sleep.  I am driving and need to sleep, but I have anxiety as well.  I have a duty to sleep because of the safety of my friends who are in the car with me.  Most of the time I, the driver, am tired.  I go get my friends and family providing door-to-door service to and from their home safely.
While thinking about the journey, my sister, Lisa and I love hearing lyrics that are powerful and that have meaning.  Pharrell’s “Move that DOPE” is perfect right now.
“These n--- is knocking over vehicles…”
These n--- ain't waitin' just to see n---…”
“These n-- ain't tryna hear plea n---…”

“Ain't no standards, I'm a set one though”

During the ride, there are conversations going on.  I hear stories – most of the stories are not “happy stories”.  I hear all about what’s going on with friends and family on the outside, and what their loved ones have to deal with on the inside.  A spouse may hear a story over the phone about difficult family matters and children issues as well.
Upon arrival inside of the facility I have to register and while registering, after they call the inmate, I am concerned if he is alright, in the hole, can he have a visit that day, has he been transferred... you don’t know.
My normal procedures are that I never get coins to buy my husband’s food until I hear them call his name and then I know that he is alright.  The Correctional Officer will call or look on the computer to see my husband’s status.  “I never know what is going on behind the prison walls” and this creates anxiety also. 
Once they call his name, then I go to buy our coins to feed him and to buy picture tickets.  At the facility that I go to, everyone has to take a drug screening.  Therefore, I go to the bathroom to scrub my hands good in order to pass screening of the hands. 
Very often, people take certain medications for health reasons and those medications may show up as an illegal drug and you will not be permitted for a visit, or in the alternative, you may be allowed a window visit.
Anxiety is kicking in here because I am another step closer to going behind the prison walls.
Some people have to be searched because of wearing improper clothing.  If you are not dressed properly you are not permitted to enter because of the dressing rules.  This, right here, I don’t worry about! I get most of my clothing from “Exclusive Originals”.  Some of the visitors have to disrobe behind another door to be more thoroughly searched.
Next, in the story of my journey, is the anxiety of the passing through the metal detector.  Before my travels, during the ride and upon entering the facility, the metal detection routine is on my mind during each visit.  My friends and family agree with me that nervousness and worry creeps up during this process.  Unfortunately, after 3 attempts, with failures, you are not permitted to pass. OMG!
So now, I’ve gotten through the metal detector, my hands get stamped and I am sitting in the waiting room.  I am now, waiting…waiting for the Correctional Officer to call my name.  
While waiting, I am talking to everyone because we become as a family.  Talking eases some of the anxiety for others and myself.   I am personally talking with the Correctional Officers and people who I usually see in the waiting room.  The families and children are so excited because they are going to see their parent or loved one.  We are all very anxious and excited, patiently waiting.  There are also all types of unspoken and unseen emotions filling the waiting room, such as anger, fear, anxiety, restlessness, joy and love.  We are at a correctional facility and are hoping to see and talk with our husband, father, brother, sister, mother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, grandson, grandmother, niece, nephew… our family.
This waiting time reminds me of the song “Team” by artist, “Lorde” whose lyrics may sound familiar to you…

“Wait 'til you're announced
We've not yet lost all our graces
The hounds will stay in chains
Look upon Your Greatness and she'll send the call out..”
Okay, once the inmate is cleared from behind the walls, when he is ready to come up, they call my name to go back. 
We walk through this long corridor that stands out in my mind as the long walk of connection.  On one end of the corridor is freedom and on the other end is custody.  

During this walk, I start going through an untold emotional transitional period while walking down this long corridor.  At the end of the hallway, I wait, yet again, to go through 2 more doors. 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”    Maya Angelou 
Once I pass through these second sets of doors, another world has seemed to open up… That’s when you see everyone.  At this very moment, there is a silence that is very tangible when the door sounds that there are other people entering.  Everyone, even the inmates are thinking and wondering.  You can feel the quiet in the room and see everyone stop what they are doing to see who is coming to see whom…
This part right here, reminds me of our InstaGram friend, Kermit:
…Do I know who is entering?  Are they coming to see my man?! Who is that? Look at what she has on!  Is my man looking for someone?
….if you are already inside and we hear the door opening, the room stops and everyone waits to see who is arriving….
Once all that has settled down, you see all the faces of the people, smiling, laughing, crying, and hugging.   There are these pods of people and you realize that there are many families represented here and it seems everyone knows everybody.  We all have a common thread dealing with the day-to-day issues of having loved-ones incarcerated.
When I come through, sometimes he is there and sometimes I have to wait for him.  But, if he is not there, I go to the vending machine so I can get the food that he likes.  If he is there first, he will put a white napkin on two seats to save our favorite seats.
We greet, meet and kiss.  We can only touch, hug and kiss upon arrival and departure. (“They Know, They Know, They Know, #Drake).
Once we are in our ritual lovelock, we proceed to the microwave to cook our food.  Inmates, in the past, were able to cook, now inmates have been restricted from getting the food and cooking the food (use of the microwave).  Inmates are not allowed to touch the coins or the vending machines.  
Since my husband is not permitted to cross the yellow lines that are in front of the vending and microwave machines, I am the housewife behind the prison walls on each and every visit.  So, okay, I have gotten the money, I’ve shopped for the food and now I am cooking for my man.  This is similar to the way it would be if we were both free.
At this point, we are looking at one another.  There is no conversation, all I can see are his white teeth and he sees my blushing face.  Our pounding hearts are absolutely visible.  There is no one else here but us.  These are our moments.
All of a sudden, we hear someone say “Sister Prison Wife” !! Then I look up and start screaming and greeting my other family members at the prison.  We are all in this together and must remember Dr. Maya Angelou’s words, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.”
There are games and books for adults and children to use.  My granddaughter and sister play games with my husband on their visits, which he enjoys greatly.  My husband and I, on the other hand, during our alone time visits, fill our minds with family matters, knowledge and make plans for the future.  We also have an imagination that takes us many places. We take a “walk in the park” and sometimes we “go to the beach”, but mostly “we love to fly.”  Our flying time starts its descent when administration calls count time.  Then reality strikes, we are in prison.
Unfortunately, time goes by fast when you are having fun.  Names begin to get called and terminations of visits are under way for the day.  We have 15 minutes left once his number is called.  In these last few minutes, we try to give one another inspiration.  We always forget to tell each other something that we meant to say during the visit.  We start talking fast.  Once his number is called we proceed to the desk to get the visiting slip and for him to get his ID.  We get our last hug and kiss…. And who knows… it might be the last one…
We proceed to walk away from one another.  He never looks back once as he goes behind his door.  I, on the other hand, always take a last look at him and watch him as he goes behind the prison walls.
Credits to:
Instagram; Google.com/Images; Pharrell Williams;

SisterPrisonWivesBFF SisterPrisonWivesBFF
Aug 18, 2014