2014 Round Robin – Tracey McMahon

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January

Ah yes, January brought me to my knees. I approached seconded agencies to launch my project. I was still *current* as in serving a sentence. I was charmingly told to return in June when no longer *current* Far from feeling a live wire, deflation set in. But folk around me kept me going.

February

Research and outsourcing for SHE was at its peak. I made contact with the wonderful women from Twitter. Natasha Phillips, Flo Kraus, Dr Rita Pal. Tracey Snelling & Tracy Sparrow to mention but a few. I bombarded these fabulous women with my hope, vision and plans to transform communities & blend women coming from prison as a tenable project. Patient to the bitter end, the above mentioned put up with endless emails and phone calls. Each and all, worked with me to create SHE. I must not forget James Timpson here, who endlessly put up with my missives if not my misfiring at times. Unconditional support from superb people.

March

Total head in hands moments. Lyndon Harris & Dan Bunting helped me through legalities of other projects placed on the back burner due to my incessant wish to pursue a better, worthwhile community project for women coming from prison. *View from Offender* series over at their informative blog never left my side. Lyndon Harris supported my writing of this popular series. I was homeless at the time of writing that. Weeks after I was told I was going to prison. March was hell. No agency/service was going to entertain me. I mean come on, who wants an *offender* on their books?*

April

Tracey McMahon blog was born. Big girls don’t cry right? My editing days were over with the rather special friend of mine, Raymond Lunn at Ex Offender. I still wrote articles for Criminal Law & Justice Weekly, but my comfort zone was stretched. I went out alone. I had bank account issues. My sole trader business was changed to a LTD company. I wound down my client list. I stopped speaking & writing in other languages. April began to feel as though the showers would not stop raining. But, I garnered support. Support was gathering for my vision. As much as I felt like giving up, I did not. It was the unconditional support which kept on at me. Raymond Lunn told me, “you have the heart for it”

Yeah well, thanks very much RL, I was fucking broke, but your words kept me going. 😉

May

Mr Grayling & I had a few weeks left of our long distance relationship. May was quiet. I was a month away from being a free woman from the vice-like grip of his pincers.

June

The McMahon was off licence. She was done, dusted, clean, free (okay, those of us with a rap sheet do still suffer. Yeah, we have to pay more in car insurance, home insurance, I could go on) but Grayling & I parted company. On good terms, I might add. 😀 We did not have a painful goodbye.

July

Working away on stuff. Sweatimg lots. No money. Panic slowly setting in.

August

Natasha Phillips wrote my brief up. Did this gaffe. I am a copywriter, but I needed a second set of eyes. Natasha sorted me in two days. (This woman is fantastic, call her for copy, she is da woman to get your shit sorted) SHE was to be launched.

September

Okay. Which silly cow makes a decision to move house and open a project on the same day? That’ll be me then.

Somehow, I managed it. Lancashire Constabulary and the Revolution team sent SHE her first two referrals. My flagship women. SHE was born on the day they came to us. SHE has been built from mud roots, not grass. Sam & Margi, you have been wonderful. Thank you. My first two women who are now investing their time into SHE to help newer members.

October

Introduced INCAS for men. Our housing began to gather momentum.

As much as I have gained, I lost a beautiful woman in this month. My mammy. My beautiful mother, she bloody saved my life. Few words can describe this loss. No person can tell me what I need to do with this one. This is my private journey. Any person that tells me how to handle my loss, can simply fuck off. Yes, its that simple.

November

Boring for readers. Really boring. Now lots of people from prison. Who cares about these people. We do, ya know.

December

Okay. More referrals, SHE released her first quarter results. None of SHE members have ended up back in the nick.

SHE has been offered her market stall for the second time. Our members are growing. We have it all going on. Each & every member puts something back into the project. It is one of my conditions. Each & every member helps within the project.

With that, SHE community is growing. It costs very little. We may be a Northern working class town, but we got down & dirty with those that the press vilify.

SHE came in 2014, what she does in 2015 depends on her members.

SHE works because of her cooperative structure.

Here is to 2015, to all my friends who never let me give up.

I get married on the 25th February 2015. See, us *criminals* do have a life.

We paid our price. We served our sentence.

Happy New Year.

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