Life Zentangle Art

Artwork by Aurora, who is serving a 20-to-life sentence at Dayton Correctional Facility.

Text and Artwork by: Aurora

Artist Statement:

Having a life sentence brings so many feelings and emotions to light. Some days are better or worse than others.

I mostly feel isolated from my friends and family. They have lives that don’t include me anymore. I only have contact with my mother, daughter, and a family friend. My son is in prison also on the same case and that causes its own emotions.

You get very lonely when you miss holidays and special occasions. Fifteen minute phone calls are never long enough. It is very painful to watch your family leave. I’ve had to ask them to not look back at me.

People meet me and think they know why I am here or who I am because of my crime. They misunderstand the situation overall. I get angry when someone says something that is factually inaccurate.

I get afraid that I will turn into this miserable, negative, hateful shell of a person. I get fearful that I will completely lose my identity. I get fearful I won’t be able to find something good out of each and every day. I don’t want to become this better woman.

I don’t want to forget or be forgotten. I don’t want to forget the happy memories of my childhood. I don’t want to ever forget that I am a daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin or friend. I never want to forget that I matter. I don’t want to feel forgotten by those I love.

My drawing represents the emotions that flow in me. It may be dark, firm lines that represent anger or frustration or more flowing designs that represent my free spirit or the love that is still strong inside of me. The face represents the darkness that can surround me. The blank eyes represent that I want people to be able to look in my soul and see the goodness inside of me, the love inside of me.

I want people to know that even though I have a life sentence, my life is not over. I allow God to use me as a servant for His good. I fill my life with positive things that touch others also. The courts may think that they ended my life but I still exist and as long as I have a breath in me I will love and encourage those around me.