Every day, all I heard were the echoes of sadness and defeat. Weeping rang through the halls of the jail, tears covered the floor. It was always freezing. Every night, I try to stretch your cheap-issued blanket to cover me entirely. It never made a difference, either my head was covered and cold toes and feet, or a wind-blown face chaffed from the low temperature. We all had to get up at 4 a.m. for breakfast which looked like flavorless pig slop.
Agonizing hunger hit me about 5 p.m. and pains besieged my stomach by early evening from lack of edible food. Most inmates were so tough acting. It felt like I had been transported to some of the most dangerous cities in the world. After a while, I knew who not to make an eye contact with especially lesbians who hit on to just about everyone. Everyday was a savage jungle. some played Uno and worked on ridiculous-looking puzzles to pass the time. It was impossible to get a good night sleep. There were 12 pods and each pod housed 15 women. Some would stay up all night laughing and being obnoxious or others snored so loud it was impossible to drown out the atmosphere and drift into sleep.
I finally got moved to the “Chaplain” dorm after 2-weeks-worth of requests. Wow, what positive energy flowing through the large dorm that housed 60 women. You could really feel the change in the atmosphere… more laidback, more peace. I could let my hair down a little bit. Inmates were kinder and friendlier but broken and lost in life was written all over their ragged faces. No matter, we had a lady come twice a week to minister. Lots of deep emotional cuts that convicted us to look at our ungodly character flaws. Everybody always cried tears of healing and joy. It was one of the most horrendous things I had to endure… honestly though, it was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. How ironic to experience something so awful yet gain so much. Love brought me to jail, Jesus knew exactly what I needed. A swift kick in the butt to reel me back into his protective covering. Now, as my walk has deepened from being in jail, I don’t have to obey God… I get to!
I wrote poems as a release to channel my pain somehow. It did lighten the load of my torn heart of not being able to see my little ones. Practically, all of the poems reflect my washed-up heart and horrific void of being separated from a two- and three-year-old. It was a deepest void I had ever known! Sadness gripped me virtually every day about their absence in my life . My ex-husband is to this day a cruel tyrant. He always did everything in his power to thwart and sabotage my relationships with Adam and Rachell. It worked to. What a horrible human being, he held all the cards for most of their life and believe me, he played them all, just because he could!
It was during this time, I also began sketching portraits of random inmates. I had never attempted to draw before jail. The portraits were evolving into these beautiful women. I just let the pencil guide me. The Lord was using me as a conduit to sketch them on how He sees them! It was something to just be the artisan’s hand. All the portraits were from the Lord and how it revealed their inner beauty. The evidence of their hard life on the streets and worn-out faces disappeared and there was no evidence reflected in the portraits. Only beauty exuded through my drawings.
Let’s just say I was born sometime in the winter. I try to look youthful with expensive products, of course. Ah Yes… my name is Tallulah Banks. My heart cry is for anyone with a pulse that needs healing and restoration. I want to bring people to a place of wholeness.
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