Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rikers Island. And it's not the Caribbean. :)

Rikers Island. And it's not the Caribbean. :)
OK, So Back to the ordeal of a lifetime. I left off in the holding cell where the other girls and I were sitting for hours. Me, about 14, some shorter, some longer. Erin had met someone in the airport and flirted her way into getting me one of his lawyer friends to come down to the courthouse to my arraignment. Little did I know how much this was going to cost me?

Finally, a ‘C.O’ (Corrections Officer) as everyone calls them, handcuffed me and led me to the most beautiful courthouse I had ever seen. It looked like a ballroom in some sort of castle. And scattered throughout it were people like me, and some not so much. People that hadn’t slept for days, some wounded, and some still strung out on drugs, and some that simply didn’t pay their entire cab fare. I had a two minute conversation with my attorney, who said a lot of discombobulated things that made no sense to me whatsoever. We approached the judge and since I was from out of state, no one there to post bail for me, the judge was new, and wasn’t quite sure what to do with me. I was accused of selling two pills to an undercover cop. None of which I remember doing. It was a confusing situation all around, and so they said I was to go to Rikers Island.

Rikers Island is an infamous place. 2Pac wrote about it in his songs, Sid Vicious spent time there the day before he committed suicide, (or was murdered), and some of the most hardened criminals of our time have spent time inside these walls. After they took all my information, I was handcuffed to a girl with NO and I mean ZERO teeth in her mouth. She was a tall Hispanic girl with strawberry blondish hair. She seemed out of it, but still didn’t feel like she wanted to talk to me. Well if you know me well enough, I’ll strike up a conversation with the guy begging for money on the corner, or the Pope. So I started to ask her about Rikers. She said, ‘Keep to yourself, don’t bother anyone and they won’t bother you’ apparently she had been there more than once. There was some old hip hop song on the radio and she began to sing every word. We were handcuffed together on this rattling old bus with bars in the front, back and beside each seat. There were even Juvenile offenders on the ride with us. To say they were bothering me would be an understatement. But I was in such a daze, such a state of ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me’ that nothing phased me.

When we were escorted out of the bus, we were booked inside, and locked into another holding cell for around 5 more hours. I still had on my strapless leather dress, and my chunky black strappy heels. The C.O. let me know there was no way I could wear that into my cell block. So I had to search through old bags of clothes to find something to cover up. They don’t give jumpsuits to someone unless they are sentenced. Since I was just being held until my bail was paid, I had to wear normal clothes. I found a blue Hollister polo and put it over my dress, and had to still wear the bubble skirt underneath. I literally looked like a homeless Barbie on crack. As they put me in yet another holding cell while my paperwork was being processed I fell asleep on a hard wooden board, along with my handcuff friend who had no problem being there. She acted as if it was a hotel stay.

In Jail, you get yelled at for everything. I had to call my mom to tell her what we needed to do to gather money for bail, tell her I was ok, and try to hold myself together. I sat down while I was talking and got screamed at to, ‘YOU ARENT ALLOWED TO SIT DOWN WHILE ON THE PHONE’. Ok, so I didn’t know. This happened over and over during my stay in the fabulous Island of Rikers. I once got screamed at for going upstairs to my cell to brush my teeth. Some CO’s were nicer than others. Certain ones would let us listen to the radio and I LOVED watching the black girls from Harlem and Queens dance. It was nothing like I had ever seen. When I first arrived, I was told to not look to the right or to the left. Catcalls like “Where’d you get that tan white girl” “Hey Malibu Barbie looks like you is Prison Barbie now” And the cackles were heard from all the way until I reached my new bed. If you want to call a piece of plastic covered with a sheet a bed. It was lunch time when I arrived in my ‘Cell Block’ so I got in line and got my food (if you want to call it that) and had no idea where to sit. I saw a table of girls who told me I could sit with them and they just stared at me in amazement asking, “What did you do white girl”? When I told the story, the entire cell block was imitating my southern twang, and began to warm up. By the second day, I let them braid my hair into corn rows. There was nothing else I could do with it. I have super curly hair, and no hair products were allowed only soap and shampoo. I wish I could’ve had a camera.

Getting to know these women, their stories, their hearts, why they were there, I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. Hopefully someday I can tell the rest of the story, but I think about these women every day. One of the sentences that stick with me more than anything is this… “Once that cell door closes, I cry myself to sleep” and almost in unison the women said, I feel you. So do I. There was a point where there were 3 itty bitty bibles lying on the CO’s table. Everyone wanted one. Everyone wanted to go to the church services. They may have been bored, whatever the case is, and it’s a HUGE chance to minister to these women. An open door. Their hearts are broken, as well as their spirit. Imagine all hope being gone. It’s hard to imagine. Having no control over when to eat, sleep, or even sit down is something most people in the world will never experience. Some people most definitely DO DESERVE this treatment, or even worse. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be forgiven, or have hoped for and to possibly feel what REAL and UNCONDITIONAL love is.

There is so much more I want to say, I’ve taken a LOT of flak for sharing my all and sharing all this with my blog. But I do want to start living my life as an open book. If there is a question, I’ll answer it honestly. I want to hug, love, help, give, and do anything I can to prevent amazing people from making the same mistakes I have.

I love you all so much.
So many people were involved in helping me. Mommy, Gran, Mike, Lisa, and many more, you have no idea what all of your prayers meant to me. I’ll never forget it.

If you’d like to write me, please send an email to glitterbabyrae@gmail.com

Infinite X’s and O’s,