Prison Radio
Terri Harper

This is Terri Harper from Muncy, and today’s piece is untitled.

In this socioeconomic climate, many of us incarcerated women have had the, “I got to take care of me and mine” attitude. It has led many to extremes of the worst kind and ultimately could be deemed the reason for some people’s incarceration. Let’s be clear. Incarceration is the result of action and/or inaction. The thoughts and rationale behind such are often seen as excuses to point the finger at anyone or anything except self.

I cannot and will not do so, as I accept that my incarceration was a result of the wrong choices over a small period of time that became what has defined my life’s path for close to three decades. I most certainly was of the mindset to take care of me and mine. However, too much of that mental energy was a mirror image on what I felt I needed to measure up to. In actuality, I only needed to love, look inward, and see me.

How many of you have dealt with not seeing yourself, living a life outside what you imagine living, and then dealing with the dire consequences of not knowing your strengths, weaknesses, boundaries, and/or limitations? How many of you have been forgiven for the choices that dark time frames have called for? That’s what I’m seeking. And I’m sure that I can speak for thousands here in PA and across this country who feel as I do, knowing that we, as a people, despite our status in any community suffer and rejoice the same, and will meet the exact same conclusive moment, regardless of age, economics, or health.

For all of those who’ve met a harsh end, especially for my victim and many other victims out there, I pray that you were forgiven about something at some time in your life and was able to appreciate that gift. For all of you who are still missing, loving, and waiting, I hope you make it a point to forgive and ask for any necessary relief from the burden of causing even the slightest harm to someone else. For those finding it hard or next to impossible to extend compassionate understanding, I beg you to be mindful of the weight you inflict upon yourself and the perceived power you relinquish lacking in forgiveness.