The privilege in your thinking
A prison can be defined as ”a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed or while awaiting trial.” Oxford Dictionary. While you may feel a sense of punishment while being confined in your 8.24 acre, multi-million dollar mansion (27 million dollars approximately), you are not in prison. Now, one day that might change. You may decide to take up a life of crime with Portia and the dogs like a Thelma and Louise duo, but today ain’t that day. Even if it was that day, I’m sure your privilege of wealth, whiteness, and other intersectionalities would help to get you off. No, Ellen, you are not a prisoner. I get it; you wanted to be relatable. You wanted to express that you felt like you were trapped within the same walls day in and day out. Many of us feel the same, but it can never compare to the close confinement of prison. Most of us will never experience being told what to do, when to do it, what you can and cannot eat, where you can and can not go — it is not the same.
I’m sure Michael Tyson, whose life was taken by COVID-19 on April 5th, would definitely not agree with your comparison. He was in jail on a minor conviction, and now his family will never see him again. The likelihood of having a proper funeral is slim to none in this present climate. Families aren’t even being allowed to come to hospitals to be at the bedside of their loved ones in their final hours.
While it might seem like it, your five-bedroom, ten bathrooms, 8,188 sqft home cannot compare to the six by eight feet cell those in actual prison experience. You’re a little uncomfortable, I truly understand. I write this as I lay in bed in my 2100 sqft townhome filled with two kids under 10, and three adults. Hell, I’m uncomfortable, and even I can recognize the privilege I have within my space. I get it; you’re losing your wit’s end. I’m sure as you host your show from your home, it’s a hard experience, but I urge you to remember those that are experiencing actual heartache, anguish, anxiety right now.
When you think to utter your lips to even say you feel imprisoned, think of the doctors and nurses working countless hours surrounded by the ever-growing dead bodies. Think about the single parent that has lost their job because they’ve been ordered to stay at home due to the increasing number of cases in their state. Think of the person working at a 40-hour remote workweek from home while juggling kids, school, and life (currently, that’s me). Think of all the service workers, government officials, mental health personnel, and social workers that are considered essential. They don’t get to stay home, they, along with the medical profession, are the glue attempting to hold this country together.
Ellen, I hate to keep repeating this, but you are not in prison. You may be bored. You may be, almost certainly, tone-deaf to those outside of your circle. You may even be lonely, but a prisoner you are not. I hope that you can take this as a learning opportunity, and grow from this. Lastly, if no one has ever told you this, here’s something to keep in mind like my mama always told me,” Everything ain’t meant to be said.”