Sunday, July 3, 2011

He calls me Kind Lady

Update from yesterday (Day 2):  After visit yesterday I saw  Native Americans dancing in regalia directly across the the street from the Pelican Bay State Prison gate.  I shouted out the window that I was taking a picture to send in to the men inside and the dancers all cheered.  Today, Bryan said he could hear the drumming and singing from his concrete yard yesterday but didn’t know what it was all about.  I have discovered we can bring up to 10 pictures into visit, so I am taking this one in Monday plus others to be posted here tomorrow.

Just for interest and to get a glimpse of Bryan and his writing style, I would like you to see a postcard he sent to me last January.  Note the PBSP stamp and date stamp Jan. 7, 2011

Early on Bryan began calling me Kind Lady.  I would say that is pretty close although I like to pretend I have an “edge” to me.  Maybe being an advocate for prisoners and their families in the Washington State Department of Corrections makes people in my social circle look a bit sideways at me, but Seattle is the land of the proverbial activist so for the most part, folks just smile.

Day Three of the Pelican Bay SHU Hunger Strike:  Bryan was in a chatty mood today, opening up more and more as he realizes that I am here for him, to provide companionship and support for the duration.  Given that the last 16 years the CDCR has been dehumanizing him in every way possible, he finds it hard to accept any nice things I say about him and even seems shy about feeling worthy of any human kindness.

One fear that Bryan voices to me is that I am inconveniencing myself or hurting my life in order to be here.  So I always share with him that I take time to enjoy myself and keep telling him that being here isn’t dragging me down.  I told him that when I’m not visiting with him, I do what I normally do. It makes him feel better, knowing I am having a vacation and treating myself right.  I don’t feel guilty about having beauty, fun and joy in my life.   

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