Midnight in a parking lot in Atlanta, the usual cacophony of sirens,squealing tires, the steady thump of bass in car steros and dope boys shouts fill the air. It’s the dead muggy heat the way only a hard Georgia night gets. I was hungry and exhausted and tired of my house being invaded every week and a half by 40-60 strangers there to make a big deal about how they were serving the poor when it was the life I lived all day everyday. I am angry and I have a laptop. That day after spending 2 hours scrubbing the hallway and basebords of our house only to be pulled into my directors office and berated for asking a vsiting team to help out with the dishes. We were not allowed to ever say anything in correction to the vistors no matter how they trashed our houses or ate our food. So my only option was to sit in a parking lot with my ipod in my ears, spilling my frustrations and confusion on to a document. In a dark rat infested parking lot on a hot and sticky Georgia night writing gave me the voice I never had.it gave voice to the things that I had been screaming on the inside about. In the relative anonymity of a social network site I found my lungs. I grew up the youngest and smallest of three kids and the only girl so my ability to be heard wasn’t a reality very often. I was always last to get called on and last to get picked. I read a lot and yet was a terrible student. So after barely graduating from high school and nearly ruining my life in an abusive controlling relationship I decided to do something for somebody else for a change. I packed up and moved 2500 miles away from everything I had ever known in an attempt to find truth and identity for myself. I ended up finding my voice for the first time in 23 years. I joined a urban missions internship where I thought that if I took the focus off myself and my issues I would be able to make sense of the mess I had made of my life in a mere few years on the planet. I had taken for granted ever good thing ever handed my way and had instead focused on the things that were wrong with me and finding validation for all of the things that I felt was inadequate. I went i learned . I grew and I contributed something meaningful during my time there. I tutored elementary school students and helped teach a 4th grader to read when I tried to help him with his reading homework and realized he didn’t even know his letters. I babysat children whos parents where to cracked out feed them. I even went on a mission trip to Puerto Rico and bandaged abcesses of heroin addicts but no matter how heroic and fulling of an experience I had I still never felt like I had a voice. Till that fateful night that I learned that in the clacking of keys on a laptop I could shout from the rooftops how very frustrated and angry I was. Soon I learned not to only write about the things that made me angry but also about the things that brought me extreme joy or even sorrow. I found that writing was the outlet I needed to be able to be completely honest with myself and the world about who I was , why I was and where I was. I learned that my identity wasn’t tied up in my geography or in what heroic deed I had done that day or whos crack baby id held. But rather in my ability to sit in a dark ,sticky , rat infested parking lot in downtown Atlanta Georgia and be honest. .
Writing gave me a voice where I had none, anonymity where I was afraid and the ability to say what I felt without being concerned that someone would find my options lacking or inadequate.