Living Collections bring together Hidden South Stories, Road Notes, and Observations about specific subjects r groups of people. Living Collections continue to evolve over time as more content is added and more truths are revealed.
When I was 16. My mother gave me up to the state. After my mom gave me up, I hit rock bottom and got really bad on drugs. I started shooting heroin, coke, pills, alcohol, whatever I could get my hands on.
I found what appeared to be an abandoned trailer park in Luthersville, GA yesterday, so I stopped to explore. As I was driving through, I heard someone holler at me. It was Trena. I told her about the project, and asked if she'd tell me her story. We talked a lot about God and how she felt abandoned by her spiritual family at the local church.
Atlanta's a great city, man. Every city has it's ups and downs, but for me and my healing process, Atlanta's been a great city. I've been in and out of Grady and Emory hospitals having research done and tests done.
some things have happened. Like he hit me once or twice but he apologized after that happened. He cried and said “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.” And now I’m having a child from him. I want a boy.
BW: What do you do about your cancer? Do they treat it at all?
Lisa: No… when I get sick I just go to the emergency room.
BW: So, you don’t have a regular doctor you can go see or anything?
Lisa: No because I don’t have no insurance and no Medicaid.
When I met Timothy in Birmingham, Alabama he was having a hard time standing up straight and was leaning against a wall. I could tell he was in pain so I went up and talked to him. We didn’t get very far before he was in so much pain that he really couldn’t talk coherently.
The irony of this… I used to look at artists on the street growing up and think, “what a bum” and that’s what I turned out to be. I’m making my living out here and I think this is where I’m going to really get my reward for all my efforts.
Drugs became more important than paying my rent and car note. With opiates, when you go through withdrawal, your whole body hurts so you can’t exactly get up and go to work if you’re dope sick.
I had a culture shock here. I never seen people be homeless where I grew up in Africa so I got inspired to make a film. I didn’t have a gold pot but I had a gold mind so I been banging these bracelets for ten years.
We were able to pay for one month in an efficiency motel for Alicia and her daughter, Emma. One of the donors asked that we spend some of their donation on Emma. It just so happened that she had a birthday Tuesday so we were able to make it a special one with those funds.
I’ve been panhandling every day just to get $55 to get a motel room. It’s very expensive, especially when there’s a place right next door that I could get for $150 per week, and I can’t come up with that much.
People know that I really care. I talk to them, hug them. I don’t care what they been doing or what they smell like or what drugs they been doing. I hug everybody and they know when I hug them that it’s a hug of love. I don’t judge them. It’s unconditional. I’ll love them whether they get clean or not.
I just wish I could get somebody in my life that will say, “that’s my girl” and they could see me through coming out of this shit. I’m a damn good cook and I try to keep the house clean.
About six times a day I have to say, “I’m not for sale.” That’s just how a lot of people live on the streets. I don’t belong on the streets *tears”. I have a masters degree, I don’t belong on the streets! I have cancer. I need medical treatment and a home to live in and a job.
It took a long time to put my dad in prison. I couldn’t tell about what he’d done to me until later but he’d molested cousins and other people too. He was a real nut.
He brought me here [New Orleans] about 2 months ago. I’m pregnant again, as you can see, about 5 months. Recently he up and just disappeared. So, this is the position I’m in at this point.
I’ve learned that you can’t look at nobody and judge them, cause you never know. No, I don’t do drugs. I’m just in a fucked up situation.
I got injured about two years ago. I’m a diabetic. I was working a job and I dropped a board and cut my foot. It got worse and they had to do surgery and amputate my small toe. That was traumatic.
My family didn’t believe me, so they didn’t do anything about it. It continued for another year and didn’t stop till we moved from Panama City to Daytona.
So, I had my daughter and gave her up a month ago to a beautiful family that couldn’t have children. She only weighed 5 pounds 8 ounces.
This is my life and I love it. I don’t allow anyone to just come down here due to the fact that I like my space. This is my castle and I am the king of my castle.
The last little bit of money that I had, I spent on a bus ticket to Atlanta. I left everything that had value to me in Ohio. Everything that was good is shattered to me right now.
I was working on a multi-million dollar house. It was right around Christmas in 2009. They had a leak and I was helping fix the chimney. The ladder kicked out from underneath me and I fell thirty feet on to their wood deck. I thought I was dead but I’d just shattered my ankle. The doctor said I’d never walk again.
My dad woke me up on the 28th of April and said, “we got to take your mom to the hospital cause she’s dead.” ... I walk out and she’s slumped over on her futon with a burnt out cigarette in her hand. Next thing I know, I’m riding home with her ashes.
To my surprise April pulled up with her family and they visited for a few minutes.
I was married for twenty years to my second husband. It was an abusive relationship that I stayed in. I found him hanging in my garage two years ago. It devastated me.
my grandmother told me that if I ever got pregnant she would put me out. I never thought that she would really do it and when she did, I ended up getting with the wrong people. I’ve been kidnapped. I’ve been held hostage. I’ve been raped.
I got diagnosed with cancer and I got diagnosed with heart failure and liver failure. My mom lost my little sister when I was 16 so… this is a big change. I don’t want to go. I know the man might say I only got 9 months but the Lord is the only one who can tell me when it’s my time.
I was 15 when my mom found out that I liked girls. She kicked me out of the house. That’s what hurt me the most. She was there for them boys [brothers] more than she was there for me.
I’ve had a nice run up until the last year or so. I’ve enjoyed my journey of living so far. I definitely could be 6 feet deep but I’m not.
This collection will continue to grow as more stories are released. Check back often for more stories that deal with recovery from addiction.