Prisoners used to write me. I would open their already opened letters, poring over their stories, wondering how I could “save” them. I was so young, so naïve, so self-righteous.
Likewise, even with grace, even with my ex-husband’s forgiveness or my ex-lover’s family’s release, I have not been so kind to myself. An inability to forgive the self is the ultimate consequence, and in this self-imposed prison, my heart was joined more solidly with the convicts than it may ever be with a female friend, whose love I am not so sure I fully deserve. Guilt branded my spirit. My skin changed. My eyes, too.
I would meet lovely couples, and feel not quite able to be myself, afraid it might be revealed that I am one of those women, a home wrecker. And so I was– for a year, an eternity.
I emerged from my cell, not as a butterfly, but as a carcass of my former self, or the self I had believed I was. Like a just-released convict, I jumped into a new relationship too soon, still raw and rough around the edges, seeking redemption.