Time for some Tough Love

Published by: Jo_Reed on 3rd Jun 2017 | View all blogs by Jo_Reed

Hey, gals!!! OK, here it is. The blog post from me that Ro promised was coming as the "counterpart" to her Periscope video yesterday. Deep breath. Ready?!?

Oh, my darlin's. I have been SO blessed with the opportunity to be part of this  amazing community of women for the past few years. I have learned and grown so much. I have discovered so many things about myself, my relationship and my connections and calling in the world because of this experience. I love y'all to BITS. And I've become fairly well-known as "Mama Jo" for my sarcastic and honest approach to all things prison wife related. I love to see STRONG and HEALTHY women learning to build and sustain themselves, their relationships and one another through this chapter in all our lives. We do our BEST to encourage and support each other every day in a fun and friendly way and that's VITALLY important.

What's ALSO important, every once in a while, for ALL of us, is a little perspective and a reality check. Y'all know darn well if anybody ELSE messes with you, I'll take their heads off at the neck. However, when it comes to letting y'all slide on "less than" behavior? I ain't the one. So hear my HEART for y'all right now, please, as I join with Ro and once again deliver what we like to call a "Sisterly Smackdown" with some REAL talk for those who need it. (See her latest Periscope video; this is my half she mentioned in that video. If you don't have the app, get it! It's free. You're missing good stuff every day!) There will also be another video ALL members can watch coming soon, with both of us together, but for now we're giving you our "separate but equal" advice this way. So let's get to it.

We have seen a trend lately that is, as we say down South, "stickin' in our craw" a little bit. (I don't know what they call it in Jersey; you'll need to ask her). It's bothering us to see so many otherwise sane and savvy women falling into the trap of feeling SORRY for themselves as they deal with becoming part of this little (huge?!) crew of ours. Now, we're not talking about the NORMAL AND NATURAL AND TOTALLY OK grieving process everybody goes through at various stages. Nope. This one is directed at those of you who seem to need a reminder that "denial" is not a river in Egypt. Some of y'all have yourselves UTTERLY convinced that everything about this whole mess is just not RIGHT or (forgive me while I try to figure out how to type a snort and eyeroll) "fair".
So here comes my half of the input to get you back on track or PUT you there, since apparently it's not yet been done for some of you. Brace for impact. 

There's a difference between negativity and truth. If you are engaged in thinking or behavior that is harmful to yourself or others, people who speak up aren't being "mean". They're being LOVING. Real friendship and support mean that  calling you out on bullshit is occasionally necessary, because they'd rather do that than watch you walk blindly into future heartbreak. You KNOW the people in your life and should know what their motivations are. If somebody who normally loves, values and respects you is being harsh with you, or telling you something's not healthy, pay attention. They're trying to help.

Innocent people go to prison every day. We all know this. However, in the VAST majority of cases, neither you nor your partner is a victim of any kind. The "system" didn't take your loved one away from you. THEY took THEMSELVES away from you with their poor choices. Stop moaning and being mad about the CONSEQUENCES for their bad behavior. It's totally OK to be pissed off, but don't misdirect that anger by making excuses for all the reasons they don't "deserve" their sentence. You aren't doing anything but making yourself look stupid or morally bankrupt, one of the two. THEY decided to break the law. YOU decided to forgive and stand by them. Awesome. Own that and don't feel like you need to explain or apologize for it. But understand, it also means you don't get to whine about a conscious decision you made to live this life.

Understand what you don't understand. Know this. You don't know everything. Be humble. Be willing to ask questions and take advice from people who have been doing this longer than you have, and then LISTEN to what they're telling you. If the people and their partners who are actually DOING this every day are telling you things that don't jive with whatever you've heard from your partner or lawyers or friends on the outside, WHO do you think is probably correct? If you're not going to bother taking into account what people tell you, then don't act shocked when you get an answer you don't like, choose to disregard it, and then don't get any sympathy when shit goes sideways. If you hear, "Ok, boo. Do you. Good luck...", that should be a pretty good indication you need to reconsider your next move. You will soon be on your own because you don't want to listen to wise counsel. Even the most patient people have better things to do than constantly helping you out of holes you keep digging yourself. Sorry, not sorry.
 
You get what you pay for. If your loved one is failing to treat you with basic respect, taking you for granted or engaging in "gangsta" behavior and you are ALLOWING that? Then quit bitching about it. No one else is required to treat you as a Queen when you refuse to treat yourself that way. If you're supporting a game your man is running on the inside, letting him get away with breaking the rules, helping him beat the system (or even just condoning that through your lack of action) and telling yourself it's "just" because of prison, you are not allowed to whine and cry when he comes home and keeps acting a fool or is a constant inconvenience to you while he's still in there. You set YOURSELF up for failure. Character is not determined by location. You're NOT any more or less likely to run into issues simply because of time, distance or the extra stress of dealing with the system. Relationships on the "streets" fail or succeed every day for the exact same reasons prison relationships do. Prison is a "factor" but not an influence or excuse. If they're gonna do it in there, they're gonna do it out here. And vice versa. You're not gonna fall apart just because he's locked up. But you're not gonna succeed either, if he can't get his shit together WHILE he's locked up and you let him have a PASS. Know your worth and act like it. 
 
ABOVE ALL ELSE, be KIND and CLASSY. Don't you DARE lord it over anybody else you THINK you're better than. You are absolutely no different than any other woman in here because of your MAN'S situation. You deserve the same amount of respect, love and support as all the rest of us. Your loved one's past history, current charges, length of sentence and other factors don't entitle you to either judgment OR special treatment of any kind. Y'all aren't always gonna like one another, agree or get along. Have you really never BEEN in a group of WOMEN before? Really?! But it's NOT a good look to go back to junior high and insult, tear down or be hateful towards somebody you differ from. If you don't have anything nice or constructive to say, keep movin' without comment. Everybody in here has a different story and is at a different place. Be patient, helpful and nice or be quiet. As for the classy bit, I don't suggest you be someone who celebrates the pretend "status" you think this life awards you. You are not "hard" because your MAN is. There's nothing great about being a prison wife, even though there are lots of impressive things about women who HAPPEN to be prison wives. NOBODY in here with half a brain is impressed with the "trap queen hustle" because we all know what that gets you in the long run - problems, drama and trouble for you and your man, everywhere y'all go. Who in their right mind wants THAT?! YOU and your beauty and wits and strength and healthy relationships are worth honoring. But let's none of us act like anybody should move outta the way for us if we're not acting in ways that honor ourselves. 
 
This life is not FOR everyone. I hope y'all truly realize how much regard I have for those of you doing it well and how much passion and heart I have for those TRYING to get the hang of it. We are WARRIORS in our own quiet and solid way, ladies. This is hard and holy stuff. Let's show each other and the world the BEST possible versions of ourselves as mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, aunties and friends. We have the potential to be POWERFUL in our homes, families, communities and nation. But first sometimes we have to start FRESH and small, by sitting up, pulling our heads out of the sand and getting ourselves situated before we get up and get started working daily miracles, yeah? Let's show everybody how it's REALLY done, by doing it RIGHT. 
 
MUCH love,
Jo

Comments

9 Comments

  • Carma
    by Carma 6 months ago
    I love you, Jo! Thank you for sharing your time and wisdom with us!
  • Ro ❤ CoFounder/President
    I freaking love you.
  • twinkle
    by twinkle 6 months ago
    I love this. So good to read it. Thank you :)
  • Island Girl
    by Island Girl 6 months ago
    This was a GREAT READ!! Perfectly written!! Life is filled with mind-clouding/judgment-blinder emotions & we often, some more than others, all need a douse of "wake up"! Thank you for this:)
  • kkadam
    by kkadam 6 months ago
    This is so freaking awesome, I have been wanting to say this for awhile now. Thank you for saying what I have been trying to.
  • Tommie
    by Tommie 6 months ago
    Ty for sharing Jo and this what us women NEED to hear instead of the bs others may put into our heads.. Ppl need to realize what THIS life is all about instead of seeing for what they want to see it as, this life is no mere fantasy this is the real world and this life isn't made for everyone. Thanks for your input on things such as this.
  • Kate
    by Kate 6 months ago
    Thank you - very nice!
  • Admin Lisa
    by Admin Lisa 6 months ago
    ❤ it!
  • Molly
    by Molly 6 months ago
    Thank you for this! So empowering. We got this ladies!
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