My Plan Not My Purpose (part 4)

Just as I was about to settle into my new freedom another thorn stabbed me deeply. I awoke abruptly from my spell.

His actions affected me with the piercing pain of thorns from a “rose” bush. However, I did not see a beautiful rose flower in my presence. My mind drifted into hollowness. I began to hallucinate of beautiful roses that symbolized beauty and love. My nostrils inhaled pleasant scents that made me feel at peace. A spectrum of glowing colors burst in my optical senses. I was overwhelmed with such ecstasy and serenity. I took a deep breath.  I was feeling overjoyed that I was finally in my purpose. I could feel my body becoming lighter. My muscles relaxing. There were a crispness and clarity to my thinking.  God, I haven’t felt this feeling in a long time. If I had ever felt it at all.

Just as I was about to settle into my new freedom another thorn stabbed me deeply.

I awoke abruptly from my spell.

The room was filled with people. I had forgotten where I was. The thorns of lust were jabbing deep. Their eyes and body movements showed their attraction to each other. Her desire to be the attention of the false illusions that were inhabiting this space revealed itself each time she tried to look through me to him. She stood with a sensualness that I did not have the confidence to hold. She giggled like a mindless child playing with her favorite cousin at a sleepover. The smell of roses that occupied my nostrils during my hallucination was actually instigating from this girl that now challenged the entire room. Challenged the relationship that I ignorantly misunderstood was more important than my own sanity.

But I discerned my place in this space. I never was supposed to be here. I wasn’t supposed to be in his company. I wasn’t supposed to be in such a challenge because it was not part of my purpose. I wasn’t supposed to be holding this drink. Or in this room were these thorns of disrespect, disregard, and dishonesty was making me bleed from my soul.

I was disheartened. My plan, not my purpose had me bleeding. With each drop of blood, I felt myself losing control and my mind drifting back to that hollowness but this time my nostrils smelled the aroma of a stench. The disgusting odor of dreams dying because none of us would admit the plan that we wrote for ourselves was unbecoming of our purpose. The weeds disguising themselves as beautiful roses were suffocating me.

My plan, not my purpose was leading me to nowhere.

To be continued…

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 3)

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 2)

My Plan Not My Purpose

©2017 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 3)

As I walked each day to clear my head and shed the tears of regret, I begin to devise a way to say “I messed up. I am sorry. I am lost to my next step.”

Part 3

The streets are lit, busy and filled with litter. Not just the litter of empty bottles of Cisco, Alizé, MD 20/20, Malibu, Jack Daniels, Thunderbird, Colt 45, Old English, old cigarette butts, and fast food boxes from all the restaurants the lined the streets of this impoverished neighborhood… but deeply littered with lost souls with no direction. Souls like mine that were embarrassed and angry that their plan, not their purpose was taken them to nowhere. But unlike me, most did not know the difference between their plan and their purpose. They did not know the magnitude of their misdirection. 

Their days filled with drugs and alcohol showed on the young women with vanishing clothing, loose talk, and behaviors that mimicked the overgrown and wildly growing weeds that lined the streets. Pretending they did not need or want a man with purpose, drive, and ambition.

The boys trying to portray themselves as men but only successful at passing themselves a blunt. A blunt of idiocy that gave them a false illusion of control, dominance, power, confidence, achievement and success. Only to sit the next day in front of the little television that sits propped on the chair serving as entertainment that in a short period of time proved to be their distraction out of poverty.

Sadly, I knew it all to be a lie. And it haunted me with each waking day, with each step in the wrong direction, with each tear I shed. Each time I compromised my purpose to pretend that my plan was working just as I had planned in my undeveloped mind with lack of experience. How do I escape the position I placed myself? How do I say “My plan was full of childish decisions of false illusions of grandeur” that was supposed to be better than the couple of years of education I had completed at one of the best colleges in Georgia?

As I walked each day to clear my head and shed the tears of regret, I begin to devise a way to say “I messed up. I am sorry. I am lost to my next step” because my next step could lead me into drug addiction, prostitution, or even death. But this too proved to be as hard as the souls that walked with me. As hard as the souls that littered the streets of this impoverished neighborhood that was lined with empty bottles of false illusions and overgrown weeds disguising themselves as people.

My plan.

Not my purpose.

Was still taken me to nowhere. To be continued.

©2017 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

 

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 2)

My Plan Not My Purpose

 

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 2)

My plan, not my purpose had me embarrassed and angry at the position I had placed myself in.

Part 2

One chair sits across an empty room on a plain discolored wall next to the door. A little television sits propped on the chair serving as entertainment that in a short period of time proved to be a distraction out of poverty. For the next four hours, cartoons would be the choice of education for these men. Men that had single mothers, children and “baby mommas” that awaited the attention of a man with purpose, drive and ambition that was so needed to destroy the generational curses of sin and poverty that was exposed every time I stepped onto the pavement of the apartments that were gravely positioned down a stretch of road littered with trash on both sides.

My plan, not my purpose had me embarrassed and angry at the position I had placed myself in.

The smell of crack cocaine came in between the stints of empty Vodka bottles littered about me. As we sat on the crumbling brick wall that lined itself along one of the apartment buildings, I listened to the meaningless and uninformed conversation of the men and women who determined success by the amount of money spent partying over the weekend. As the liquor continued to flow, a deep-seated sadness began to fill me. The only way to survive was to partake of the spirits.

But I sat quietly with a slight buzz from the Vodka because I am considering that I am out of my purpose, and anger is rising because my plan, not my purpose put me in a poverty ridden apartment overgrown with weeds that disguised themselves as people.

My plan.

Not my purpose.

Was taken me to nowhere.

To be continued…

© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

My Plan Not My Purpose

Just One Picture of Homelessness

What is your picture of homelessness?

(Picture of homelessness) The walls of my house are made of the many shades of yellow and green. My clothes are not neatly folded or hung in a closet but thrown about my room that has an airy but eerie bright view into the world that encircles me. I have many tiny acquaintances that visit me night and day. Never waiting to be invited but gladly crawling into my space. They live in my walls and other neighboring homes. They do not look like me but they are unique in their own right. Just as I am unique to the well-dressed people who stroll by as I lay in my shabby although beautifully colored home.

As I lift my hand to block the bright sunlight from my famished eyes, I notice the well-dressed people are staring at me again. 

Then I remembered…I remembered… I didn’t always have this special home.

Now I remember. The illiteracy.  The shame and disappointment but a plan put in place. The adventures of living well came with such excitement but faded so quickly. Where was the confidence, the drive, the ambition? The late night studies of 1st and 2nd-grade vocabulary. Why couldn’t I comprehend? Some said it was dyslexia. Some said it was stupidity. Some said I was mental. 

How difficult could it be? It proved to be overwhelming but feeling nothing was impossible. Keep pressing on I say and do. I try and I try. Only to be destitute…living in this special place with the well-dressed people staring at me. 

What is your picture of homelessness?

© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

My Plan Not My Purpose

The apartment is gravely positioned down a stretch of road littered with trash on both sides. On any given night it would not be safe to walk alone. Weeds overgrown with a wilderness that mimics the very people that lived there. The apartment buildings exhibit an exhausted appearance of a woman once pretty but now worn and ugly from the men that have run through and in her.

The stairwell that leads to an upstairs apartment is dark, damp, and dingy.

My plan not my purpose led me up the stairs to one of the darkest seasons of my life. At no specific time, the smell of burnt plastic would fill the air. I soon learned this was the smell of crack cocaine.

My plan to be independent led me to sleep on an old mattress laid on the scuffed wooden floor of an apartment void of life. No furniture. No family portraits. No groceries to fix and sit around the table. Some days no water. Other days no electricity.

All by choice not by force.

My plan.

Not my purpose.

Was taken me to nowhere.

To be continued…

© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

Mist of the Rubble

Standing up in the mist of the rubble has proven difficult for most. Many of us have taken up refuge in the middle of the rough edges and broken pieces of friendships, marriages, communities, dreams, and success. We have been trapped in what seems like the bottom of a building collapsed by the instability of this ground that we now rest on.

Even though at one point we stood high and strong looking to the clouds and a universe of iridescent stars that represented all the things we dreamed of as kids; we sit with flickering thoughts of how do we stand up in the mist of the rubble that has become our life. The weight is too heavy to tackle on your own. As you only make up one piece of this heap of brokenness that surrounds you.

Looking close enough you can see the many intricate patterns that compromise each stone of your life. Color, texture, speckles, elevation, shape, mass…these are the differences that once held us upright. These are the people, the issues, the circumstances that if rebuilt at just the right angle will allow us to stand strong once again on top of a “building” once demolished by ignorance and inflexibility.

© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.