March 31, 2017

Dear Readers

by Darrel (Terra) O'Key (author's profile)


Dear Readers, March 20, 2017
I thought I would take a minute and write a little something...I was getting to a point when I was tired of all the shit one has to take being Transgender in an all male environment. Add to that, I am the last one standing here at lovely Valley State Prison, they no longer allow Trans people here but i received an exemption, so I'm the last. Well, I have a pretty good thing going here. I'm getting ready to take the State Board exam of barbering and Cosmetology and I'm getting ready to finish up my college degree, those are good things right? Yes they are, however all of the crap I have to take daily was beginning to be too much for me. The constant degrading things people say are overwhelming and for the most part I can over look them but it does get tiring...well just when you think you can take anymore a wonderful thing happened...Feb 26th was my birthday (all of my family and friends forgot, or so I thought) well I have these friends named Molly and Chela who have become my family, I have written about them before. They have two kids who call me auntie Terra and they write, call and visit frequently. Molly and Chela did a mass email about my birthday and over the course of three weeks I have been flooded with cards and well wishes which has given me a much needed boost to my self-esteem and general well being. I'm at a loss for once, to describe the feeling it gave me to have all of these people who do not know me send me there congrats...prior to this I was feeling a little un-important, un-wanted, un-remembered but that one little gesture reminded me how much support I have from my loved ones. I owe a great debt to Molly and Chela who have through the years seen me through some pretty dark times. Keep in mind these are people who I met through a friend in prison and they did not know me prior to my coming to prison. It is funny where life takes you sometimes.

So my conviction has been restored and I feel like I can handle what ever comes my way these last few months of incarceration, a little over a year actually. It is a little scary at the thought of getting out even though I have done everything I can to ensure my success when I leave, I have spent very little time in my life living on the straight and narrow. It is both exciting and scary trying to do something you have so little experience in. I think that is the hardest thing for people to understand, who have never experienced this. They think, just get a job and pay for your bills and don't commit crime and life will be great. That sounds good on paper but the reality of it is people who have done this their whole lives now have to find a new way to live if they don't want to come back. Little things like getting an I.D. or social security card are frightening. If you never have or haven't in 20 years you forget how to do those things. What about those who have never even filled out an application for an apartment (ever). it's like starting from scratch. What to those people do who have never had a legitimate job and know nothing about paying taxes...these are the things those of us are dealing with. Just because we parole doesn't mean everything is great...however if you are as lucky as I am to have friends who do not think your stupid when you pose such questions to them it does make it easier...which leads me back to the beginning Molly and Chela are amazing and I can't believe how lucky I am to have them in my life. Kakamia I will always love you for bringing them into my life...if you want to know who Kakamia is all you have to do is get a hold of a book called "Angels with Dirty Faces" by W. Imarisha she is an amazing author. There may be a page or two in the book devoted to miss Terra also :) I hope everyone has a great day and remember you can change a life with a few words. To all of you who have EVER responded to my blog I thank you for your words of encouragement, your in my heart...lovetherustruggle, Terra


Replies (4) Replies feed

earl_grey_girl Posted 7 years, 1 month ago. ✓ Mailed 7 years, 1 month ago   Favorite
Thanks for writing! I finished the transcription for your post.

Cavak Posted 6 years, 11 months ago. ✓ Mailed 6 years, 11 months ago   Favorite
Only a few more months left? Wow! :)

I hope you get out on time. We need more lovely trans people in the world, and you sound fabulous after everything you've been through. I was reading and transcribing some of your older posts, and I admire the resilience you've made to get to this point.

From one stranger to another, I truly wish you well. Hope you get back in touch with your friends and family, and that they welcome you with warm arms. Good luck!

Gary Posted 6 years, 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 6 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
Hi Terra! I am a young FTM transgender man and first time reader/writer, writing to say hello :)

I think it is an huge injustice that trans people are made to serve prison terms among the wrong gender, and I cannot fathom the amount of strength you must have to live your best life nonetheless. It is truly, truly inspiring and I admire you very much! There can be so much fear and uncertainty in our lives as transgender people, but I am always coming across wonderful people like yourself who prove to me we have the power and resilience to survive and flourish in the face of adversity. So thank you very much for that!

It's very exciting to hear you are due to get out soon. As I come of age I am finding myself having to deal with things like identity papers, taxes, housing, finding a job and so on for the first time, too. Things that (at least for me) can have additional elements of complexity as a trans person. It sounds like it must be even more daunting to learn and relearn these sorts of things in your position - I hope you have the best of luck with it.

Lastly - extremely belated birthday wishes for your special day in February! Here's to many more.

Lots of love,

Darrel (Terra) O'Key Posted 6 years, 8 months ago.   Favorite
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