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I was driving to work the other day and a song came on the radio. I got so excited, turned it up, and danced while driving (yes, I’m definitely THAT person).
After about 30 seconds into the song, a wave of emotions started coming over me, then I was instantly reminded of prison. I was not only reminded, but I felt as if I was really there again. I could smell the scent of bleach that was often lingering in the air. I could hear the sound of people talking and the keys clanging as correctional officers walk through hallways. Then it was as if I almost heard a girl that was housed down the hall from me say, “Ally stop listening to music we have to go!”
The song that came on the radio was a song I listened to on the radio I had in prison. We had an AM/FM radio that had awful reception. It was one of the few tools I had to be able to have a sense of freedom in that place. I was able to put my headphones in and drown out the emotions and thoughts that I was experiencing. But that song… I would get so excited when it would come on the radio and would sing and dance and drive my cellmates and ‘hallway mates’ CRAZY. We didn’t have the option of putting a song on repeat or hearing it whenever we wanted; it was only when the radio DJ decided to play it.
I used to dream of the day that I could hear that song whenever I wanted ‘on the outside’.
I dreamt of many days that I hoped to have when I was out of prison. The day I would be able to:
-shut a door in the bathroom and be able to use the restroom in privacy
-have a real breakfast outside in my backyard
-wear clothes that made me feel beautiful
-go out to dinner
-watch a movie with my family
-go for hikes and walks
And the list goes on…
I don’t know if it’s part of my PTSD or what, but when moments happen, little or big, I immediately think, “I remember when I would dream about this day.” I don’t know why I go back to that place so often, most of the time unintentionally. Sometimes I wonder if my mind maybe blocked out a lot of experiences I had there. I heard one time that your mind will literally not allow you to fully experience a situation in order to protect you from trauma. I don’t know how much I believe that because the trauma was definitely there. But I did handle it differently than I think I would if it happened right this second. So maybe, just maybe, my brain did some protecting and now it starts to flare sometimes.
The days that I dreamed of in prison seemed so far away, sometimes impossible to achieve, and as if they would never come. I can now say that I’ve experienced so many of these days and more importantly, ones that I didn’t believe were in the cards for me.
So if there is a day, or moment, that you are dreaming of happening; stay encouraged, it will come. But make sure that you try to live those days more than once. Go on two hikes, not just one. Go out to dinner more than once. Do something that you dreamed of weekly or monthly if you can. Just keep dreaming, keep pushing and your days will come.. and you will experience them in a way you never imagined.
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