Incarceration and True Transformation

Even though I am still a work in progress I am so grateful for the transformation I experienced during my 18 years in prison. When I went to prison I was a 19 year old, immature child. I came home a 38-year old seasoned woman.

I read many books while incarcerated, mainly non-fiction, biographical books about great, successful people. I prayed a lot, and I strove to establish spiritual principles in my life.

In the words of the author of I’m Free, Now What? I was able to make the time count rather than counting the time. Many people count the days while I sought to thrive even while I was incarcerated.

The hardest thing for me to do is to hear my Mom talk about the person I was prior to my incarceration. I was rebellious, ornery and just plain destructive.

In Time Zone (The documentary that chronicles the first year of my reentry process) my Mom says with passion and honesty, “…She is a completely different person…she did a complete 360…” Those words are like music to my ears.

I thank God for the ability to experience true transformation and become the person he created me to be. I am so grateful to be in a position to make a difference in the lives of others. I’m still learning and growing and I’m so grateful and blessed.

There is so much I want to do and experience. I feel like a newborn child at times. I know it’s a process and my anxiety often tries to send me into a frenzy, but every day I strive to accept that I cannot undo the past, nor make up for lost time.

Today I have resigned to live in the moment and it feels good.

I’m so thankful for every new experience. This week I brought a coffee pot and today I made fresh, brewed coffee for the first time. No more instant Maxwell house for me.

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About Lashonia Etheridge-Bey

Lashonia Etheridge-Bey is a Public Speaker who can candidly and articulately speak to the consequences of youth violence, the effects of incarceration and the challenges of reentry into society. Read Lashonia's Full BIO Here 


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