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Cara’s Story, Part 2

Today’s guest post is by Cara, a Truth Be Told graduate, and is part 2 of 2. You can read Part 1 here.

Cara

It has been three years, five months and six days and I can still remember driving off with “My Jeremy,” just like it was yesterday.

I smile real big; he smiles and says, “Let’s go cash your check and go shopping!” We laugh and squeal down the road. He holds my hand. I thought it would be awkward sitting in a car with this man who has written me letters EVERY SINGLE DAY of my incarceration; could we communicate without paper? Being with Jeremy was more natural than I could ever have imagined. Neither one of us could eat, I am not sure if it was nervousness or excitement.

We stopped off at the outlet mall in Waco; he went to the retail store to look at clothes for me while I went into the Haynes outlet. I felt so utterly lost. The girl asked me if I needed help and my eyes welled up with tears.

“I have no idea what size I am or what I am even looking for.”

I still have the purple bra she helped measure me for. We drove to his little house in White Settlement, a cute little two-bedroom house. The side door opened right to his bedroom. Hanging on the walls and laying on every surface were keepsakes and letters I had sent him over the past three years. I felt so at home with this man, in his home. He drew me a hot steamy bath and gave me the IPOD he had bought and filled with music just for me! I climbed in the tub and smelled the shampoo and soaps he picked out for me. I put the ear buds in my ears and soaked in the tub. I was singing along and heard him laughing in the other room. He was so happy to have me in his home and in his arms, sitting outside the bathroom listening to me belt out Dixie Chicks tunes.

We ordered some Chinese take-out and watched some TV on the couch. Sleep came and it was so nice to sleep in a real bed! The next morning we got up and drove to the Fort Worth Zoo where we met up with my mother and my little Sarah. I saw Sarah once a month, while I was incarcerated, but being out of prison I could chase her and tickle her and eat ice cream with her!  That was the first time Sarah had dippin dots ice cream. It’s our favorite! Sarah and I picked up like there was no time lost at all. My mother and Jeremy fell back and just followed us around all day. It was very uncomfortable for me to be around my mother. She was, and still is, trying to take my daughter from me.

Three days after my Jeremy picked me up from prison I was boarding a flight to go to Phoenix. I had paroled to my dads house in AZ. I didn’t want to leave Sarah, or Jeremy, behind but I was not yet where I was headed. The airport seemed bigger than I remembered.  “There he is!” I say to myself.  I collapse into my father’s arms and cry. In the past five years I have only seen my father once when he came to visit me in prison. (I will never forget the look of pure terror on his and my brothers faces as they sat there waiting for me to come out of being strip searched to visit with them.)

The house looks the same, as do the cacti. I love Arizona. I am home. I remember picking out this carpet. It feels so good between my toes. My bedroom is now my stepbrother’s, but he is happy to share with me! He is away at college anyways. I lie on the soft bed and call “My Jeremy.” I love this man whom I met twice before I went to prison, who decided the first time he met me that I was the one, who I had gotten to know through letters and 2-hour visits at the Lockhart Unit/ woodman/ mountain view/ parker county/ Johnson county and Jack County. Sleep comes finally.

Its 5am in Phoenix and I am awake. I tip toe down the stairs and make a cup of tea. Sitting on the back porch listening to the birds and enjoying the quiet peaceful morning. This is how life is at my dads. Peaceful. Natasha (my step mom) and I spend the days sipping tea together and taking walks. I am so glad my dad found her.

Today I am back in Texas where I have spent the last 3.5 years building a life with “My Jeremy” and working towards getting “My Sarah” back from my mother and stepfather. In these past couple of years Jeremy and I have gotten married, had a baby girl and worked so hard to create a loving environment for both of our children. Sarah is not his biological daughter but God gave Jeremy to us as a special gift, to be her “daddy”.  We live in a cute little yellow house with green trim. Our two dogs are “Harsco” and “Boom”. I work at FASTSIGNS and have for two plus years. I have a superb support system made up of Jeremy and his family, my dad, brother and Natasha (my step mom), and my best friend Toby. There are many more that I include in this support system but these are the most prominent people.

A huge part of my success now is Truth Be Told. What’s funny is I only went to a TBT class to get out of the dorm. I quickly found through TBT a set of tools, unique and workable to my specific needs. Through journaling I found out so much about me, my past, who I wanted to become. Through movement I learned how to feel my emotions and express myself in a safe almost medicinal manner. I am no artist but I became one and learned how to create a safe place within myself for myself. With the love from TBT volunteers I learned to love me.

I learned to say YES YES YES! I use these listening, writing, moving and creative tools on a daily basis to help keep me grounded and to help raise my children to be themselves and love themselves and others. TBT helped pull me out of a deep depression while in prison and helps me daily to live the life I love! I am encouraged daily through our Keep on Talking group. Our conference calls are part of my “self-care”. I don’t think I would be who I am and where I am today if I had not decided to go to that Truth Be Told Movement class. I am so grateful for out TBT community, Carol Waid and all of the TBT Gals.

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About Shelley Seale

I'm Shelley, a journeyer and learner of the world, freelance journalist and author, yoga chick and dog lover. I pound the keyboard from home barefoot every day, and while my boss is demanding she also occasionally lets me have the early afternoon cocktail. I think not going into an office or collecting corporate paychecks are very good ideas, though not always profitable. I have written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, Texas Monthly and CNN, among others. Neither the New York Times nor Johnny Depp have answered my letters yet. I love yoga, indie movies, wine, and books, though not necessarily in that order. I believe in karma. Mean people suck. If I could have any dream job I would like to be a superhero. I have performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano and was once robbed by a monkey in Nepal. But, I don't know how to whistle. My mantra is "travel with a purpose."

13 responses »

  1. thank you for sharing your story!!!! you are such an inspiration….and you sooo have a gift fro writing!!!!

    Reply
  2. Cara Lionberger

    Thank you to everyone. I feel so loved. I cannot thank Truth Be Told enough for all they have taught me and given me. God has big plans and I intend to embrace those plans. More has come from my truth telling than I could ever have imagined. I pray that each of you keep following TBT and see what amazing things they have done and are doing in so many womens lives!! Get involved!

    Reply
  3. You are capable and strong! I am so proud of you Cara! Your writing is an inspiration and a blessing!

    Reply
  4. Beautiful, Cara. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your kind words. You are a testament for our program. I am so happy you have stayed in touch. Much love

    Reply
  5. Paula Lionberger

    So proud of my daughter in law. She has become a loving wife to my son, an awesome mom to her girls, someone who had learned to make good choices in her life. Life lessons learned & absorbed! Good for you Cara!

    Reply
  6. cwaid11@gmail.com

    love this so much. thanks cara.

    Reply
  7. I am SOOO proud of you girl for turning things around. I didn’t know you are having such issues with your mom and custody of Sarah. I hope it all works out the way God intended.

    I am with Cess! There needs to be a 3-100. 😉

    Reply
  8. Dear Cara,

    I really love this side of the story : ) I am so very happy for both you and Jeremy and so glad this program was here to help you. I had never heard of it before. You made me cry both times and cessilye above is so right, you need to write more. You have a wonderful way about your writing that just draws one into your story and leaves us wanting more! I hope to see you and Jeremy when I get back in November. See you soon and I will have an extra big hug for both of you.

    Love Diane

    Reply
  9. Cara,
    I read what your brother wrote in your last entry and it was heartwarming. He has ALWAYS LOVED YOU and ALWAYS looked up to you. My heart broke for you, but is now rejoicing with you. What a lovely mommy, women, friend, child of God you are. I am glad you had your support system and your sweet family. I pray that you will always have them. Never lose focus of who you are- YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD! Love you sweet dear friend. and a BIG Thank you to “your Jeremy”… Casey

    Reply
  10. I am so glad you have found your peace. I haven’t seen you in over a year, but your pictures still show the same look of peace I remember seeing. I couldn’t be more happier for you and Jeremy. Prayers are always going out for your family. Love you!

    Reply
  11. Pingback: The Last Stop: Cara’s Story, Part 1 « Truth Be Told

  12. So where is the prequel, part 3, 4 and 5! I have fallen in serious like with Cara. Her writtings are beautiful and leave me wanting more. But they also leave me with joy in my heart. There is only one word to truly describe this, and it is…..beautiful.

    Reply

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