Searching for Happiness after Incarceration

I just had my 41st birthday this week and it’s been very challenging. I had many friends try to get me out of the house to celebrate, but I just wasn’t in the mood. If there is one thing I have learned over the past three years it’s that you can never look at a person and assume that because they seem well put together that they are not facing personal difficulties.

I don’t have my dream car yet, but I have a reliable vehicle that’s good on gas. I am not making nearly enough money yet, but I work for the District Government in the field of reentry. What better place for me to serve? I don’t have the relationship I once dreamed of with my children, but I have the resources to assist them as they strive to become self-sufficient, healthy, young adults. I’m still on parole, although in the next month my supervision officer plans to request my early termination. I don’t have a happy, healthy relationship with a significant other right now, but I have great friends in my life. I don’t have the house I desire, but I have an affordable apartment in a safe area. In the District of Columbia, and that’s saying a lot. The cost of living is skyrocketing daily.

The other day someone posted on Facebook, “People are promoting themselves like ‘I’ve got a job, my own place and a car!’ Congratulations on being an adult. Now sit your regular ass down somewhere.” It reminded me so much of people in reentry. Once we strive to build ourselves up to become regular adults; then, what???

It seems to me that there’s something missing. I have inner peace on most days even though at times I find myself overwhelmed by daily pressures. I have so much to be grateful for that I can’t help but chastise myself for feeling sad, lonely, and/or depressed. Maybe I need some therapy? Maybe I need to just get away?

Related: If you’re working hard on reentry and still feeling empty, try these suggestions for finding more meaning in your life.

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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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