by Gabriella Hernandez-Benitez

Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022


Hot summer nights I remember how I use to like spendin em super high and chill not worrying about a damn thing it was always amazing until I came down..thats when I wanted you more and more at first I’d be at war with myself when I didn’t have you at one point I started to fall deeper and deeper in love with you. Not caring about who I was I losin on the way as long as I got my way. It was amazing ride of nod and going up up up no one told me how it was going to be when I didn’t have you oh boy it was like a living a livin hell but that didn’t stop me from doing it over and over


I have to admit I love gettin high always have since I was 15 years old Xanax and addys were my thing back then and weed of course but fuck what they say weed is a gateaway drug then I got introduced to Perc 30’s M box and Molly I was never going back from there I loved it loved the feeling it gave me. It was like a person to me even though it was nowhere near contact with a human being I know I probably sound crazy but you wouldn’t know till you try it..but everyone has there different reasons to use and abuse drugs mine were to escape reality and forget all the pain you caused and the pain that still lingers inside … me just eatin at me until I eventually heal and get over it but who knows when that’ll be I hope sooner than later..he will forever be my angel the baby boy I lost when I lost myself with “him” but you’ll never be forgotten always in my mind and heart. <3


I damn near lost my mind..when I lost you just wanted to end it all I didn’t care I kept usin until I was completely numb I gave no fucks when I say no fucks I mean no fucks at all I brushed everyone off I just wanted to be alone P+1 I was going thru to much pain to be around even “him” he still stuck around thru it forever grateful for that but then the claws of addiction suddenly touched me and then touched you..you knew how lost that shit got me or even know why you would try it but you did smh. Then you lost yourself I was so mad when I was home and found that out Im honestly tryna do better some of you probably think Id stop there but no I overdosed a total of 4 times some of them were on purpose I was so tired so fucking tired..not gonna hold you but you’d only understand if I told you exactly why but I can’t I can but I’d like to move on from that.


Some of you probably think “Oh she would never” When you be around me and look at me I’m suicidal it comes and goes with bipolar disorder I wanna free my mind cause my mind runs on and on endless thoughts never stoppin unless Im high or stable on meds I wish I could feel happy all the time..but that emotion never lasts sadly when I look back at all the time its been 3 years since I been on the drugs I mentioned it’s been a fucking roller coaster up down up down lost baby so lost I really lost myself now im tryna recover with him or by myself don’t really matter it all starts with me wantin it Im over it all I hope one day I can be strong enough to look at myself and tell myself I don’t need none of this shit I can better than these drugs that once took over it all fromme and hopefully I can stay clean 3 months clean now. but even sometimes I share the room with grim reaper it should be enough to scare away any thoughts of relapse I wish it were that easy but not even conversing days with death can disintegrate the claws of addiction and oh boy how I wish you knew how bad they claw at me..Im just left all alone in the dark bleeding all by myself like a non-stop nightmare but one day I swear I’ll see the light I’ve always been searching for I just really need to free my mind…Sincerely, Gabriela Hernandez benitez


By Ashley Plummer

Third place winner, Nonfiction/Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022


If only life was all we had dreamed or planned for it to actually be. Lord knows in my plans being stuck in this awful reality here in Arlington County Jail. Was not thought of. While this is my reality today, though Never in a million years would you see these clicks associate in the real world.

Take a bipolar Junkie, Skitso Alcoholic, Bipolar depressed tweeker and a Hoe. Talk about a rap sheet to talk about for days together. These four ladies even find Sober Fun when no choice is given. Not sure if it lack of brain cells they have individually or all together. Can’s say there is ever a dull moment when the time is allowed to come out and express themselves.

Unfortunately the time out due to lock down has become slimmed down to very little. Extreme excitement to be able to interact with others. It’s a struggle to Not be all wound up, make too much noise. Its bound to get rowdy. Especially woman who all have Life never really turns out how you planned or dreamed it would.

I was told growing up to go to school and focus on learning what your being taught. Your bound to graduate high school then off to college. Graduate college land a life time career in your major. Life an amazing life.  Get married and have children. Love life!

If that wasn’t the furthest from the truth.  Never was sat down and actually told about mental health. Hell it didn’t exist! Wasn’t taught what Bipolar, Anxiety, depression, and past Traumatic Stress disorder was actually capable of.

Once it really began to show at a young age it was hush, hush. Now today it has become socially exceptable. Society in todays world has inevitably created bipolar junkies, skitsofrantic alcoholics, bipolar-depressed Tweeker’s and Hoe’s to feel we only click together in a place so close to hell we can feel the heat rising in our bodies. Only feeling normal mental health issues, there is definitely going to be some noise.

Of course rules are given and applied.  Soon noise warning are being thrown out. Each group of women will get quiet maybe thirty to sixty seconds, then the blame game of where’s the noise coming from? Groups get defensive. Noise rises again. No more noise warnings for us. It’s back to the conferment of our cells, along.

All over again. Hoping and praying your personalities are ready to come out to play nice with each other. Need one or two to be able to read and write, sure would be a very long sentence without each other.

Wait arnt I not suppose to be experiencing all my other personalities on a daily? I thought me getting up before the crack of dawn divulging in these medications was to help that? Sad part makes me wonder will I ever actually have my own true self, thoughts, or opinions? Guess that takes us back to the beginning.

Normal enough to experience life, when become locked up within these walls forced to be medicated, sober, and yet together! What has society really become today? Why has it made each and every woman hide or ashamed of who they really are? Have we women allowed it?

Oh, that’s right we live in a man’s world. F*** that! It’s time, my time to take a stand. All of us women together! Laugh out Loud. I know that was a very funny Joke.

How long have we as women been trying to get other women to come together. To help build each other up? Too damn long. Of course no changes. Never quite understood how we as women are, so quick to come for each other. Especially when a third party is involved. Man or woman. Always be said she said.  Even in a place like Jail.

We woman know we have no choice, but to be around one another, every day for however long our sentence is. Still always going to be females that cant get along. Regardless, we only have so much space we can actually go to escape on another. I try to understand who’s bright idea it was to put more than six mentally unstable/stable women in a closed in area. To tear each other apart.

Of course when an altercation happens then the questions begin? Seems la little a** backwards if you ask me. When you get booked into the jail it’s a process as with anywhere. Except for here in Arlington County Jail you go thru a whole mental health evaluation. Evaluation allows staff to know if you unstable or stable enough for general population. Which only means you can mentally handle being around others as mentally unstable.

Anyone could totally fake their way thru the fifteen min evaluation. Hell how many of us actually arrested sober? At the time of you still feeling nice floating, giggly. Ready to just get a quiet place to ride your high, dunk out.

When the time comes next morning that you crash. They come banging on your door talking about chow time or trays. Bam! Instant smack in the face, wakey, wakey and yup your stuck like chuck.

The first few days they dry you out. No medication, no interaction with others at all. The hour out your cell is just enough time to shower, make a call home. Back in your cell the interacting with each personality begins.

Like damn, what did we get ourselves into? Welp! Buckle up baby, its going to be a bumpy ride from this moment until the date comes for a to leave out them doors. Never realizing how much on a daily you take for granted. Telling yourself, damn. Why am I so hard headed? My momma was right all them years ago.  Of course I didn’t want to admit it to myself. No let me alone my momma.

We tell ourselves as long as we dont say the shit out loud no one will know the truth. Saying it out loud makes it a reality. That’s all to real once it’s left your mouth. At least that’s what I tell myself. All, but one of my personalities agree. Hahaha!

Of course always going to be that one!  She just believe she knows best. How many of you are thinking damn, earlier in her story was she actually talking about four separate women?  Nope, was totally talking about each and everyone of my own crazy, wild, and free to roam as they would like to personalities. Dang! Got you there.

Hmmm did this story just get more interesting? Definitely what we call a page turner.  The suspense is killer, huh? Never seen that plot twist coming first few pages at all?

No we sit behind these walls medicated. Righting ourselves ask why we wont’ allow the other to come out to associate? Cant we allow ourselves to be free and express every emotion we feel at the moment it’s felt.

Logic says it’s not normal, but what if its our normal? Who is to tell me what my normal isOK! So while here I have to obey your rules, even though they make me hate everything and not feel like myself. Though the very day I leave out these doors. Across the thresh hold to freedom, my freedom.  I will toss the medication that has made me hide who I am daily.

Freedom tastes oh so good. Only now weeks have passed. Remembering I had tossed them “normal meds”. I’m beginning to fight, battle myself every personality that is of me. All knowing oh to well where this is going to lead. I indulge, just to silence it all. Only for a little while.

It all begins again, all to soon. Self medication has begun. Becoming the bipolar Junkie just to sleep. Now I cant stay awake time to wake the bipolar-depressed tweeker. All to not become victim to being raped, abused, and robbed left to die along.

Soon I release the skitsofrantic alcoholic who can no longer be tamed just to be able to cope with the disgust and shame of myself. Only one left to come out is the free spirited, wild, dont have a care what people say hoe. She just knows her time is coming to be expressed.

Lord knows my body is soon to be craving more of all the drugs, alcohol. All to just keep my body functioning on a daily. Sleep with whoever she can be it man, or woman, old, young, clean, or dirty. Only requirements are money or drugs my body needs at the time of desperation.

Just like that the vicious cycle has you trapped all over again. Realizing not long now we will be right back to square one. Within them walls, waking up hating what I have become. Obeying rules I dont like nor get to make for myself. Waiting for that make me normal medication.

Asking ourself will I ever escape this nightmare. Will feeling like myself ever exist in this life time or the next? Praying to god for serenity, strength each morning just to wake up. In reality what is normal? Will we ever really know? Guess just have to keep the faith, find others like yourself so your not forced to hide who you are ever.

Acceptance from others is hard to find, but accepting yourself is a well taught lesson to learn. Love yourself enough to not punish yourself. Don’t get caught up in the viscious cycle of self destruction. Hela easy to bury yourself and who you are in the cycle, but getting out is far and inbetween.

You have to love yourself for others to love you. Stay focused on happiness. Hold that pretty head up high. Never allow your crown to fall. Beauty is within.