I am a newly released prisoner.
I was held hostage behind invisible bars for twenty of my 43 years.
I was told how to dress in my prison, of course.
If I dared to dress outside of the acceptable, punishment was swift and harsh.
I had no privacy in my prison. My computer time was monitored as were my phone calls.
My activities were limited as well, to those deemed appropriate by my prison warden.
Make-up was not allowed in my prison of glass.
All efforts of self-improvement were quickly discouraged.
I was awarded an allowance for good behavior, but it was to be used only for necessities.
While in my prison, my children learned to view me and all women as weak and inferior. They were shown that it is desirable to have power over other people and satisfaction in life comes through controlling and manipulating others.
I did have a beautiful view from my cell window. There was a huge pond that rippled in the wind and sparkled in the sun. Often the birds' songs would take me out of my despair to a place of tranquility.
As I emerge from my prison cell today, you can imagine I am but a shell of the person I was two decades ago. I thank God every day for my freedom and the blessings in my life.
You may be wondering what offense led to me being held hostage for almost half my life. I wish I could tell you that I committed a crime worthy of my imprisonment so that every one of you could avoid repeating my fate.
Unfortunately, all I can tell you is that it all began when I was 23 and stood at the alter;
before my God and with love in my heart announced "I do" to the man who stood by my side.....my future warden.