Welcome to Life After a Felony!

A blog of one felon’s eccentric and sometimes humorous journey to improve her life post-conviction and rise above the intolerance and continuous consequences surrounding a bad background. She shares tips, tricks, and has literally written the guide to life after a felony – see below.

I also use this blog to share my books, thoughts on life after a felony, and stories of my freelance endeavors – but I try to share something of value for everyone that finds me. You’ll also find that I am not just a blogger for newly released prisoners. I’m a published author and a volunteer life coach to the few that reach out to me, a content creator on YouTube, a crafter, and so much more.

To be clear though, I’m a ‘felon’, or ‘exconvict’, or ‘reformed citizen’…

But basically,  am just your friendly neighborhood chick that a made a mistake and I’m here to share my good and bad experiences as a ‘felon’. I’ve caught some flack using the word ‘felon’ in my blog name and on certain posts that I’ve shared – mostly because they haven’t read the blog and just jumped at the word felon. For some people, the word felon is too painful to see used. Me, I’m taking the word and making it my own. Yes, I’ve made a mistake, and it was big enough for society to brand me as a felon, but I won’t let society deem me as unfit to exist, to live, to learn, or to grow. And for the most part, that’s what society thinks the word felon means. We’ve screwed up, and we’re always going to be screw-ups, but that idea and that mindset is WRONG. Felons are humans, we need work, we need medical care, we need to get by, just like every other human out there. And I’m hoping this blog helps you fellow felons and society alike – that we’re not going to just rot in a heap of our mistakes – we’re going to overcome those mistakes and be better people.

Owning My Rehabilitation

Honestly, the label of ‘felon’ used to cause me such grief and pain. Much like those that have given me grief over the blog name. I hated the term and hated how that mistake affected my life permanently. After a few years of absolute misery with myself and the stigma that society developed against me – I decided I was going to ‘own’ that label and force it to work for my favor – no matter what it took.

There’s been trials and triumphs, and a ton of research over the years that has brought me to the point I am now. And I want to share it with you because I think these things are important to learn in the various journey all felons (and maybe everyone in general) must make to find that bit of internal hope that will push you through your darkest days and bring back the sense of fulfillment we all deserve to find.

A Little About Me

I prefer to be called Aza Enigma (that’s a short ‘a’ sound “A-za” not “Ah-zah” – just to clarify). Why, you might ask… well, I’m shy and it gives me the artificial boost of confidence I need to overcome my anxiety and do what I’m doing here to promote felony rehabilitation. I also love Dungeons & Dragons – and a previous character name stuck with me for a while and sounded like a good fit for the puzzling person that I am in general. \shrug/ Just another one of my many quirks.

For more about me – see My Story it’s got a few more details if that’s what you’re into. If not, I’ve got more about why I’ve created The Friendly Felon and what my goals are as The Friendly Felon right here, so read on.

Why I’m Here

Mainly, I’m here to share various resources for reentry after release from prison and after most felony convictions (I can’t help with everything – I’m just one woman), and to generally dispel the myths about felons / convicts / reformed citizens / take your pick of labels.  First example: One major assumption that I’ve noticed is that people tend to assume that a felony automatically requires prison time. NOT TRUE. Some result in intense periods of court supervision – often hinging on how well the individual responds to the ‘therapy’ the courts are attempting to push them through. Therapy that is often prescribed through parole or probation officers that are intended to keep us on track – with a punishment mindset. (Obviously this approach doesn’t work quite as well as the justice system had hoped – recidivism rates from a study performed by the BOP shows that 5 out of 6 released prisoners were arrested again within 10 years of their release date. – Talk about a huge failure in the system – and that’s just one of the major indicators.

But, until the system gets itself together and starts running in a way that actually helps – we’re stuck with what we have now.

Life After Conviction Resource Topics

I will feature a majority of posts with resourceful tips and hints for felons (like getting through interview questions), throw in a few posts with my struggles and successes with freelancing and my other creative/crafty endeavors, and on occasion…. post about random things that I find interesting or aggravating. For instance – Raging Against the Ticket is another good example of how research, a thrift store suit, and a good attitude can get you further than you think – even when I was quite outraged.

Another favorite post of mine is:

Five Things Felons Need to Know

Felons Should Know These 5 Things

I also share links to the print version of my book (because writing is a great passive income!!) – The Friendly Felon’s Guide to Life After a Felony. (Thank you Microcosm) If you’re into eBooks instead, numerous retailers have me somewhere in their lists and you can find it by searching ‘Aza Enigma’ at your favorite eBook retailer (Amazon, Kobo, Barnes&Noble, etc). Smashwords has proven to be a valuable resource for me as an indie author – check them out, simply because they are super supportive.

I’ll also occasionally talk about some of the moments that I face while trying to navigate the world of freelance things maybe you’ll be inspired by some crazy thing that I try to do when I get around to sharing about it. Believe it or not, sharing this much of my life is something I find really difficult so bear with me as I maneuver through my anxieties – I’m sure you understand – I hope you do… if not.. well, that’s okay too (see?). I’m still rehabilitating that side- I’ll get the hang of this eventually.

The Friendly Felon is a Writer for Hire!

In addition to this lovely blog, I offer a huge variety of services online and have created a couple of digital download workbooks with step by step challenges to keep things on track. For now – they’re on Kindle – I’m still trying to find an affordable digital download host as well as a large enough customer base to allow the investment into something like Shopify for easier access to some content I’ve been working on – like this stuff:

Aza Enigma’s Books for Sale

Aza’s Collection at Microcosm

If you dig my goals – keep reading….

The Friendly Felon’s ‘Starter’ Goals

Beyond this blog, and as previously mentioned…I have written a book on the subject of life after a felony with a state by state description of various forms of felony relief and after prison resources. Bet you didn’t know that was a thing – but it is – in some states anyway… Difficult to achieve in many cases, yes, but definitely worth finding when it’s available.

I want to make that a little bit more available to felons searching for a lifeline after a conviction and a lot more hopeful than what the Probation Officers act like (in my experience – mine was not thrilled at my prospects at all – yet look at me now, lol). We’re all tired of serving permanent sentences when we just want to live our lives and support ourselves and our families. Also, because incarceration really is NOT rehabilitation. Surveys I’ve run indicate that those who have experienced a conviction do not feel that they were rehabilitated or educated in any meaningful way during their time incarcerated or while on a form of supervision. If you want to participate in one of these surveys – check out my post about participating.

So, to address this multi-faceted issue, I’m working on a few more felon friendly project ideas that I think might help out a lot of people that are struggling with a bad background. You’ll see updates as they develop and get reviewed.

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve been meeting a lot of really interesting individuals with some really inspiring stories that further inspire me to help out as many felons as I can.

Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by – and if you dig what I’m talking about here, please – share the crap out of this. I’d be ever so thankful! There are button to let you easily share this to just about any social media. All it takes is a quick click – and I’d really appreciate it!

I hope you have an awesome day and stay strong fellow felons (and everyone else too – life’s pretty hard even without a record)! We got this! – The Friendly Felon