Prison Radio
Terri Harper

This is Terri Harper from SCI Muncy. This is titled “Girls to Women.”

There’s a lot said about maturity, but historically the focus is how boys become men. That, of course, is most specifically linked to sex, and it being a glorified experience.

Given all of the occasions and settled cases of sexual crimes against females, I’ve been motivated to ask you to ask yourself this: what takes a girl from childhood to a woman, for real?

I’m a witness to the truth: it ain’t sex. I’m the product of teen parents and late sixties, and would have been a teen parent just like them if not for an unfortunate accident. The knowledge, the loss, then the realization of that traumatic experience propelled me to begin evaluating my actions, my feelings, and my needs.

That created a laundry list of reachable goals and reasonable expectations to exclude sex. The ensuing amount of disappointment was the seed for my tree of growth. Each branch was directly connected to my perceptions, old and new. And as every single leaf appeared, I was made aware of my change, all those views on who I was, what was required of me as a person, a student, a friend, and even a family member, how I defined aspects of life in general and mapped out my next steps became vivid and so very different.

It was happening! With that, I realized that I was obligated to water my roots with good actions, positive associations, and leaving behind the cattiness, carelessness, and nonchalance my adolescence afforded me.

Not everyone could be like labelled afront, chill with me, or count on me to be that down for whatever. No one could expect me to be totally silent at any given time. Then life got real. I wouldn’t stop when I should’ve been screaming. And to those on the outside looking in, all was lost. That’s the true power of fate. I’ve been asked how I remain faithful through the crime, tragedy, and various hard times.

The thing now is that I can not imagine surviving a day without faith. Faith is placed on, in, and around many entities. So you don’t need to be religious to believe, hope, or take dreams to the next level. Decades of dreams all lead me to seeing freedom with family, a real job, fate friendships, community service, outreach, dreams to work for real pay, help those unseen and unheard, and act to uplift my home community and communities of all types, are attainable.

I only know, because the girl who got caught up is now a good woman who steps up and demands to be heard.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.