Saturday, February 24, 2007

You are Me

Dear Heidi-

I do hope that you are able to get this in time, as I am unsure on the exact date of your transfer between the rehab, and the halfway house.

I began a blog on the internet called Social Justice Feminist – it is basically an online journal where folks who are interested can read my thoughts, comment, or engage in conversation – and my good friend from high school wrote me an interesting thought about my postings.

She asked if I have shared with you how much you have influenced me, because to her, it is obvious that you have permeated my every move in life. I was taken aback by this comment because I realized that you most certainly have. I began to think back to this past December when I visited you in the Allegheny County Jail. We were separated by a glass pane, a metal diamond-cut door, and a chair or two, and I just wanted to hold your crying body – let you know that it will be ok; allow you to take trust in me as your sister, your friend. But I could not. Instead, I teared up as you said, “I wish I was you.”

What I did not realize at the time is that you are me.

I survived my life without doing drugs because of you.
I pursued my education so that I could write about the grip of drugs because of you.
I absorbed every bit of feminist literature because of you.
I tell people to love themselves because of you.
I remind women to be independent because of you.
I let people know that it is not all their fault because of you.
I strive to be freethinking, open-minded, fair and justified because of you.
I am pro-choice because of you.
I will push for better care in the jail/prison system because of you.
I will push for better care of drug addicts because of you.
I will fight for good placement of foster children because of you.
I wake up stronger, more socially conscious, because of you.
I look at my own habits and self worth because of you.
I cry when I hear of folks overdosing because of you.
I vow to change the way society views addicts, women because of you.
I promise to alter prejudices of falling out of the “norm” because of you.
I say break the mold (gender, marriage, appearance) because of you.
I spoke my mind as an undergraduate about the treatment of women because of you.
I still speak my mind as a graduate student because of you.

You see, we have meshed into a form, and we did not even realize it. I mean, I know they say that when a loved one gets locked up, is strung out, is in pain, is happy, etc, all parties in the group are going through the same sentence, however, I never realized the deep truths that run in this statement.

I love you Heidi.

Please find the strength to get better. It has been more than 13 years since you have been free of the addiction. When is the last time you have felt sand between your toes, enjoyed the shade of a tree on a hot sunny day; smiled genuinely without worrying about the fact that drugs caused nearly all of your teeth to crumble out of your mouth; walked by a mirror and did not pick and prod; read a book; found joy in cashing a paycheck and purchasing something special; paid too much for a Starbucks coffee; took mom or grandma out for dinner; or thought about love and life, instead of darkness and death?

We all deserve these moments in life, and you, my dear sister, are no exception.

With all my love,