My Plan Not My Purpose (part 2)…2 min. read

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

The Move (Blog)…1 min. read

Leaving my 3600 square foot spacious suburban home to live in an 800 square foot shotgun house in the inner city of Atlanta could be one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. I stress “could be”. 

Many people would say I am crazy leaving the safety of my well-manicured yard and a neighborhood safeguarded by an overzealous homeowners association. 

Well. I just might be “crazy” but I’m leaving anyway. This very thought of craziness is exactly what got me to thinking. What am doing and why?

As we are in one of the most ridiculous election years that I can remember in my lifetime. Racial issues continue to escalate as people protest police brutality. Same-sex marriage battles. And now who should use what bathroom. 

Wow. This little shotgun house that sits in one of the most historical neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia; rich with history; and overflowing with pain has started looking good. I know that little voice in your head is saying “Didn’t she just say this place is overflowing with pain”?

Yes. I did. Now let me tell you a little more.

There are two houses of “questionable intentions” just around the corner sitting directly across the street and alongside beautiful craftsman style homes.  This mixture of the well-off and the poor is what everyone is calling gentrification.

For those of you who do not know what gentrification means –

Gentrification is a process of renovation and revival of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of the influx of more affluent residents, which results in increased property values and the displacing of lower-income families and small businesses. This is a common and controversial topic in urban planning.

Believe me, I definitely can see the advantages and disadvantages of gentrification.  I have lived in what some have described as a beautiful upper-middle-class neighborhood filled with lush greenery and trees flowing along the street. I have commuted some horrible miles to run my small business in a low-income high drug use community. And now I am becoming a resident in this very community. 

The answer to “what I am doing & why?” Well, hopefully, this will be exposed as I blog

“THE MOVE”  in the next coming weeks and months. ~TanyaG

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© 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.

Hot Summer Days of Georgia Became a Curse to Me

The hot summer days of Georgia had a special way of piercing my skin with a darkness that made most black folks uncomfortable. I was a beautiful sun-kissed child that loved playing outside; but somehow, this love and longing to enjoy the beautiful rays of sun and the smell of the fresh grass and blooming flowers became what seemed like a curse. I remember waking up each morning excited to go outside and play with all the other kids. We would play from morning to night without rest. That’s just how great it was.

But somehow the hot summer days of Georgia would seem like a curse to me…

As I got older and began to take notice, I watched other black kids sun-kissed skin turn to what I perceived as an envious colored cinnamon, mocha, bronze, and mahogany skin that glistened as they sweated in the hot summer days of Georgia.

But somehow the hot summer days of Georgia would seem like a curse to me…

As I played and toyed with the sun of Georgia, it played and toyed with me. My beautiful sun-kissed skin took on the sun like it would never see it again. My skin obsessed with the sun developing a relationship that would not be broken. We made a bond that produced a child with a rich of blackness that glistened in the Georgia sun. This child was beautiful. This child was me.

But still somehow the hot summer days of Georgia would seem like a curse to me…

Blacky! Tar Baby! Black Jesus! …what are these names that I hear? The child born of the Georgia sun was beautiful. I was beautiful. I was not these names I heard as I played hide-go-seek and caught grasshoppers in the hot summer days of Georgia. This child could not be any different than the cinnamon, mocha, bronze, and mahogany black children playing “red light, green light” in the large country fields…Feelings of unworthiness slightly creeping in as we all played hopscotch in the hot Georgia sun.

The hot summer days of Georgia were becoming a curse to me…

The hot Georgia sun and my relationship grew strained as I fought the urge to disappear as my deep dark  black skin continued to grow darker under the hot Georgia sun. A color that made most black folks uncomfortable.

I began retreating in the arms of another. This other shielded and protected me from the relationship that caused me so much pain. He kept me sheltered hoping one day I would feel normal like the cinnamon, mocha, bronze, and mahogany black children that ran under the water sprinkles in hot summer days of Georgia.

My love for those hot summer days of Georgia grew to an end. I fell in love with the darkness that took over the sky as the sun decided to retreat from the Georgia sky. Instead of amusing myself with the butterflies that flew around us as we played, I began counting the stars that glowed brightly in the sky. Now I watched for shooting stars in the Georgia sky.

Even though I could not avoid running into the hot summer days of Georgia, I kept our relationship brief. As I also did with the black folks that stared with an uncomfortable glare at the deep dark black skin that covered me.

As I stared at the sparkling stars, I began to forgive the sun that so beautifully kissed me with a darkness that would not go away. My new love helped me develop a passion and hunger for that darkness that made most black folks uncomfortable. I fell in love with my deep dark black skin as I began to view life in the sparkles of the stars that covered the Georgia sky.

-Sun Kissed

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

 

 

 

 

 

No Loitering in this Soul

(Private Property)

I watched you…I watched you. I watched you talk. I watched the words come out of your mouth. Yes, I did. I can see the words. I can hear the words. I am considering these words. They are deep. They are convincing. They are intentional. They are demoralizing. I could not bring them to a standstill. They struck my most personal and gentle parts. They escaped about this private property and not a word fell unheard. Swirling and swirling to cover more ground in my soul. They touched me inside and out. Seducing my most delicate spaces. They dug deep into my pores…heading with such eagerness directly to my Soul.

Then I saw your mouth say “Sorry”. Sorry for loitering on this partially guarded property. You thought it was okay since this precious land was left unattended. “I am sorry for intruding” you said. At the sound of your “Sorry” my spirit jumped with such delight…and those words that did not make it to my most inner core but instead had taken up residence on my skin began falling to the ground.

 

But No! No! No! Those words that “my protector did not take notice of” had burrowed themselves deep into my soul only waiting to be scraped away some day by a stint of time. They had settled in this property without a title or legal right. They had taken permanent residence in this private property called the Soul.

 

Welcome home you squatters…



© All words and images by Tanya Graham