Locked Up... Part 5: The Aftermath
The aftermath of what I had been through was something I was not expecting. I thought once I left prison, it was all over. Little did I know... it had just begun.
I knew word spread about my arrest but it wasn't until I got out that I realized just how much. I found out that people followed my case online daily through the state's online case search and proceeded to put the story together the way THEY felt it should go. I heard everything from I got caught moving drugs out of a warehouse, to I set up the whole thing, to I snitched on everyone to get out, to I was going to be deported (even though I was born in Boston... SMH!) I remember wondering why my life was so important to people but it was then I knew people will rejoice at your downfall. Someone I wasn’t even remotely associated with went as far as collecting money for my bail on my behalf without my knowledge and I've yet to see a dime from it to this day.
As soon as I got home I instructed all of my friends not to tell a soul I was out because I needed time to regroup. The last two weeks had taken its toll on me mentally, physically and emotionally... I needed a minute to myself. The first thing I did was throw everything I had on into the trash... pajamas, underwear, sneakers... everything. I really wanted to burn them but didn't wanna risk ending up back in jail for causing a fire. I took my weave out, trashed that too and scrubbed my every inch of my body at least 3 times. I didn't realize all the things I took for granted until I no longer had access to them. Such as toothpaste that didn't taste like cement or a nice warm shower where I could CLOSE THE DOOR and have privacy. MY BED... Jesus how I missed my bed. I just wanted to spend my first few days back home in peace and quiet. But within hours of my release... my phone started ringing. Then the text messages started coming through. How did they know? I told my friends keep quiet! Case search showed that I was bonded out. DAMN!
Looking back now I know the calls were mostly out of concern and those folks meant well. But the magnitude of what happened to me I felt no one could really understand. I lost my freedom for something I had no clue about. Some of my own friends judged me for ending up in that situation... a situation that could happen to anyone! Being in the wrong place at the wrong time!
When the calls started coming in, I immediately retreated back into my shell. I wanted to forget the whole thing ever happened. But I couldn't! I had court in a month and I still had to go to court for my party being shut down in June. I needed to get back to work... I owed my lawyer more money. No time to feel sorry for myself... time for action.
One by one I started to lose EVERYTHING (the aftermath)! I lost my job right after I got out, I eventually lost my place and my car. It was as if this lock up had a domino effect and knocked down everything left standing in my life. But there was no time for self pity... I had a kid to feed. I immediately started my job search! Took months before I found a permanent job. In between time I had no source of income and I watched as things in my life slowly started falling apart. Looking back now, I realized it was because I didn't let go of the person who caused me to be in this situation... my ex!
The day of my preliminary hearing my nerves were shot! Suppose they decide to proceed with the case? The thought of returning to jail made me nauseous... I refused to go back. By the time I got to my courtroom, I spotted my lawyer who pulled me to the side and told me the best news I heard since this incident! He had spoken to the prosecutor and they were dropping the charges because they didn't have enough evidence to proceed to trial. I didn't live there and was no where near what was found during the search. They had no way to prove my guilt and truth is, I shouldn't have been arrested in the first place.
Leah, whose charges were also dropped that day, and I were in the middle of talking when the arresting officer walks up to us with a much softer, more sympathetic approach... and offered an apology! WHAT? I told her she knew we had nothing to do with what went down in that house and the only reason why she arrested me was as leverage against my ex. Leah told her she was forced to drop out of school and I informed her I lost my job. With what looked like tears in her eyes she tried to explain she was only doing her job and offered to call Leah's school and my former employee to explain. We told her no thanks... the damage was already done. The nerve!!!
I stayed out of the spotlight for a while following my release. I didn't go out because I needed time to regroup. When the day came when I was ready to face the world again, I decided to go to Leisa Bashment's annual birthday party which was held in November. I was on a mission to walk into that party looking better than I looked before my arrest. I was determined to walk into this party with my head HELD HIGH!! And that's exactly what I did. I held my head so high, I couldn't see the stares or hear the whispers. My circumstances weren't the best then but I felt GOOD! And there was nothing anyone could say that would make me feel any different. What happened... happened. The case was over. Life went on.
It was in that moment, I learned what it meant to triumph through adversity. That no matter what you've been through, walk with your head held high. Your self confidence is something no one can take away from you. People looked very surprised to see me that night. A few people stopped to talk to me about what happened. I mostly smiled and nodded. Most just stared at me. It was as if they believed what I went through should have broken me, yet here I was partying as if nothing ever happened. That's who I am... I get knocked down... but eventually I get back up SWINGING!!!
Over the years, I used my son as a reason to keep moving forward. No matter how bad things may have gotten, I had someone depending on me so I told myself no matter what... you have to bounce back. But this incident... I moved forward for me. I walked out that prison knowing that it was time for me to make a change. But what really came from that incident was a more humble Ida. The humility that you see in me now came as a result of this incident. I learned the hard way, if you can't humble yourself, God WILL do it for you! So no matter what I've accomplished, I will never take for granted that it can all be taken away in an instant!!
Writing this story has helped me as much as it has entertained you. I never expected the overwhelming responses, I simply set out to transform my wounds to wisdom. I was very traumatized by this incident. I haven't been able to watch prison shows and have never seen an episode of "Orange is the New Black" because of it. I blocked it out and moved on with life but in writing this story, I feel as if I'm finally LETTING IT GO!!! I've accomplished so much since 2007. I've grown SO MUCH since then. And will continue to grow! But this experience played a big part in who I am today! In the motivational posts that I make... in the way that I relate to others and so much more. It shaped me to be the person that inspires so many.
As I end this story, once again THANK YOU for taking this journey with me. I hope you finish reading this story knowing in your SOUL that no matter what you've been through, there's nothing stopping you from achieving greatness. Whatever you desire in your heart... I pray you leave the past in the past and GO FOR IT after reading this. Sometimes God has to break us in order to rebuild us into a better person.