Archive for Cry Purple

Test the Spirits… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , on November 22, 2019 by paulthepoke

Acts 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.

…Of course, I thought to myself, I’m a working girl. Not even a leader of faith can allow me some safety, some sleep, some warmth, without expecting me to perform at some level. I understood all too well that being a prostitute meant the world around me viewed me differently. I knew people didn’t see us the same as everyone else.

Leaders of faith, law enforcement, case workers—it was all the same. Leaders of the faith would use you just like everyone else. The officers who arrested you would drive you someplace, only to offer to let you go if you’d perform. Sometimes you’d perform for them only to be treated horribly while they laughed and called you names. And they’d still take you to jail.

I suppose, as I consider, I have been bought/paid for by lawyers, judges, teachers, preachers, counselors, construction workers, professional athletes, journalists, cops, fathers, grandfathers uncles, brothers, husbands, boyfriends—I could go on. But one thing is absolute: They, the buyers, were from all walks of life and all economic statuses; the only common denominator they had was me, the prostituted person, an object for their play of privilege and perversions. And on this day a believer, a faith leader, an apparent “helping hand” could not see my pain, my despair.

Even the supposed good guys saw me, the prostituted, as a mere, simple object and somehow less than human and unworthy of anything beyond that identity. Thus the cycle of exploitation continued in place of the help I desperately sought.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/


Neck Bones and Taters… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , on July 5, 2019 by paulthepoke

There was an older black woman who lived off Prospect, and every year around the holidays she would holler at me. She called me “Blondie.” She had a large bowl of neck bones and taters with amazing tiny peppers. The peppers weren’t hot, just spicy enough for flavor.

She’d always tell me, “Now, honey, you can keep that bowl, but don’t you be leaving it out just anywhere. If you can make it back this way, just leave it on the steps. If not, then at least find it a home in a trashcan. You eat all of that, honey, ’cause you ain’t nothing but skin and bones, a walking skeleton. I say now, go on now and eat all of that, and God bless you.”

Those neck bones and taters were amazing. Year after year, she never forgot me. Once she even walked down the street about two blocks from her house because she said one of her boys had seen me out there. She always reminded me to eat every bit because I was just skin and bones. She always offered me a warm smile. She always made a point to touch my hand and look me in the eyes when she spoke to me.

One year she put $5 in my hand and kissed my cheek. Another year she tossed me a pair of gloves and an old jacket and cautioned me not to catch a cold. She even told me I had a lovely smile. I never knew her name, and she never asked mine, but I did feel human each time I heard her voice. I wasn’t invisible to her.

In the wee hours of many nights, doubtful thoughts would drift through my mind, tormenting me for a while. Would someone eventually find me? Did anyone even know I was alive? Would someone look for me if I were dead?

Everyone else who offered me food or other such necessities had strings attached—I could have it if I provided sexual services for them. After all, I was a prostitute, and my purpose in life was for their pleasure.

My neck bone and tater patroness, however, never forgot me and never asked for anything from me. When she saw me, she simply acknowledged my humanity. I always felt that, for some reason, she loved me just as I was. Somehow, this woman, if only once or twice a year, gave me just enough hope and genuine compassionate care to keep me going. Her gentle concern ignited small embers of hope and made me question if there might be more to my life, after all.

From time to time I would wonder: Did she watch for me so she could speak to me or bring me food? Was she the one person in her home, with her family, who truly knew I existed? Did she ever wonder about me? Did she wonder if I were cold or hungry or alive or dead? It seemed like she thought of me. Maybe I did exist. Maybe she alone had the ability to see my invisibility.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

72 Summer Hours… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , on June 1, 2019 by paulthepoke

Caution: Very Adult Content

Isaiah 29:20 For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off…

I read somewhere that an individual’s mental and emotional psyche can be altered and changed forever in as little as 72 hours under the right conditions, such as sleep deprivation, food deprivation, and violence (or the perceived threats of violence) intertwined with random acts of kindness. A lot can happen in 72 hours that can affect an entire lifetime.

It was a scorching hot summer day. I had been standing on the corner through most of the heat of the day. I’d taken my shoes off blocks before as I was walking up and down the Avenue in the hope that someone would pick me up. My hair had been uncombed for days, if not weeks. I’d also been without a bath for a long time. Flies swarmed around me. It was too hot even to think about my hunger. By now I was hoping I might even make it to jail for a shower and some sleep.

Finally, a guy in a fancy new truck pulled up next to me. He was in his mid–to–late thirties, and he had a warm smile. He made eye contact, his teeth were straight and white, and his face was clean–shaven. His clothes were nice, and his hands were clean.

He rolled his window down. “You hot?” he asked. His voice was mild and soft. He held out a bottle of water. The air–conditioning from the truck felt cool. So I got in. I drank the water. He asked what kind of music I liked, and if I was hungry. At the time I was just hot and thirsty. I poured water on some napkins and wiped my face and hands clean as we drove.

He gave me 20 bucks. “That’s for food,” he said, “No strings attached.” Then he handed me a $50 bill and said, “This is for our date.” He said he would find a shady place to park, and noted that he was in a hurry. He said he was between meetings for work, so we drove to the cemetery down the street and parked under a tree.

…The zip ties grew tighter. He grabbed my hair and put strips of tape across my eyes and across my mouth. He threw a blanket or something over me as he used his hand to force me farther down on the floorboard. He spoke calmly, “The more you move, the tighter those zip ties will be. We have a long drive, and I’d hate for you to cut off your circulation before we arrive at our destination.”

My ankles still had multiple zip ties on each. Whenever I moved, I felt them grow tighter. As for my hands, he readjusted the ties so that they were zip tied in front instead of behind my back. “Thanks,” I said. I was crying. I was scared.

“You know,” he said, “you could live through this.” Then there was deafening silence.

…I could hardly get my legs to hold me up. I was shaking uncontrollably from pain and fear. When he returned, I smelled fire, and figured he planned to leave me there to die. Then there was the burn, the searing pain. I smelled my burning flesh. At last it stopped and he left. I had been branded like a piece of cattle.

I was unable to hold my body weight; my legs had given way. I was still taped and strapped to the table. He returned and threw what must have been large buckets of water on me. Then he moved me and locked me up again. Somehow, I found sleep. When I woke my eyes were still taped shut, and my clothes were dry.

He proceeded to zip tie my legs and carry me out. I had no idea what he would do next. He put me in the truck on the floorboard of the passenger side, covering me with a blanket. We drove. “Are you scared?” he asked. I nodded my head yes. Then he asked me if I wanted to die. By now I was sure that days had passed since the beginning of this whole ordeal. I hurt so much, and I was scared.

“It’s your lucky day,” he said. “I’m going to let you live. But I know how to find you.” He told me he had been watching me for weeks, and he knew no one would come looking for me. He even told me about some of the cars I had been in and some of the corners I had stood on. He even knew the last day I had changed clothes. I was terrified.

We drove on and on. When we stopped, he said he was going to untape me and let me out, but he would find me and kill me if I said anything to anyone.

By the time he removed all the tape, it was dark. We were in that old, empty, closed cemetery where the nightmare had started, blocks from anyone. He shoved me out of the truck. My legs were shaking from pain, and my face was raw from the rip of the tape. I felt air on my skin once again after days with the tape across my eyes and mouth. I began wiping the oozy, caked–on crust from my eyelashes, squinting at the brightness of the lights. Then I saw he had no license plate on the back of the truck.

I began walking back to the Avenue, my hands in the pockets of the sweat pants he had put on me. I realized then that he had put the money he had given me at the beginning of this ordeal in the pockets: the $50 and $20 bills.

I walked past an open gas station and grabbed some food, a soda, and some ibuprofen. I called my dope dealer to pick me up and give me a ride the rest of the way. Getting high would ease the pain, remove the fear, and once again be the coping mechanism that my life seemed to dangle by.

I had survived another nightmare. I had endured another buyer of sex who sought a victim to act out his fetishes with. I had been reduced to an object without emotions or feelings once again. I had been dehumanized, objectified, and tortured for another person’s pleasures.

But remember: He had looked like one of the good guys.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Rays of Hope

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , on May 4, 2019 by paulthepoke

The story below is excerpted from my book Cry Purple.

Christine McDonald

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Life has a way of beating a person down when they think they can’t sink any lower. Such dark moments can squeeze you until you feel there is no hope. But somewhere deep down we all have the tiniest bit of faith that the darkness isn’t supposed to be the norm. Somehow we all have a sense, though perhaps buried, that darkness is the intruder, even if darkness is all we have known. Something in us cries out for the light even if we have never known it.

Photo: Shutterstock

We see these glimmers of hope in the world around us, the sunlight warming our faces, flowers demanding our admiration, a gentle breeze hinting that change will come. It’s easy to take tiny freedoms, these small displays of beauty or simple breezes, for granted. Some of us see change or even our redemption right around the corner. Yet others live on these small moments for years, barely surviving, but surviving all the same.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

~

https://www.gofundme.com/crypurplemovie

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Basic Human Needs: Sleep and Food… Christine McDonald

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , on March 2, 2019 by paulthepoke

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://www.gofundme.com/crypurplemovie

https://crypurplemovie.com/

The winter wind was bitterly cold. I was curled up, with no shoes or coat, barelegged and in a skirt. I was too tired to get up from the spot I had found beside a cold brick building. I was alone. There was no one bugging me, no one wanting anything from me that I was not willing to give. I longed for rest…sleep…a friendly word…a rescuer. Could someone find me?

The concrete was so damp, the cold causing my frail, 88–pound body to ache. Yet with my head against a vent, where part of my body found warmth, the brisk aroma of ground coffee beans brought me comfort of sorts, transporting me to a different world. This aroma was occasionally overpowered by the stale, musty smell of urine, reminding me of my reality.

https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/sex-trafficking-survivor-preaches-inspiration-to-women-in-st-charles-county/63-0b6bb1b3-5c66-4db8-adea-4d9d5a6347f7

Was I invisible to the world around me? Was anyone trying to find me? Wouldn’t someone please take me home! I wanted a kind person, someone who didn’t want me as an object, a thing, but someone who would allow me to belong, who would keep me safe and warm. I wanted someone to see me as a person.

My body ached; my stomach grumbled for food. Eating food is such a seemingly basic human need. Yet out here, even food came at a price. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t turn another date just to eat. The thought of what I had to do for the money to eat revolted me. I couldn’t dare to put food in my mouth. Instead, I’d get high to make it all go away—the hunger pains, the shame, the hurt, the despair. Tonight, however, I was too weak and frail to even ponder the idea of standing, much less putting on the show necessary to earn money for food or dope.

Photo: Toronto Star

This corner, this building, the warmth from the vent…if only I could meld into the bricks for a rest, a long rest. Oh, to sleep safe, to sleep without expectations of my body. To sleep in a clean, safe bed with no one touching me, no one expecting sexual deeds for that sleep—another basic human need. A shower…oh, just to soak in a tub. Oh, my! And with bubbles to wash away the filth, the grime, the smells of all those men, of all the shame.

No. Not in my world. Not in this life…

Read more at…

Please Don’t Use Me… Christine McDonald

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , , on February 23, 2019 by paulthepoke

We have to acknowledge the intersection between poverty and homelessness as a platform for individuals to be vulnerable to be trafficked. Males are often labor trafficked, and females fall victim to commercial exploitation. We can’t continue to turn a blind eye to this population and its targeting by traffickers seeking victims to exploit for their financial gain.
—Christine Clarity McDonald

https://www.gofundme.com/crypurplemovie

There are times when we all want to slip into the crowds unnoticed, but there is still a part of us that deeply longs to be known and seen and cared for. Jesus offers this to believers, and being known by the Creator of the Universe is the most profound “knowing” we could possibly experience. However, the world around us is full of broken individuals who feel invisible because they don’t yet know Christ, and the rest of humanity either ignores them or only sees them when they can be used.

In John Chapter 4, we read the story of Jesus and his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. The most profound aspect of the story isn’t that Jesus calls her out for being married multiple times. Nor is it that He knows that the man she is currently living with isn’t her husband. What is profound is that He truly knew her. He saw her. Because Jesus was able to see her, when He offered her living water, she believed.

When we claim to feel moved by the hurts and sufferings of others, yet we fail to truly see those who are hurting as individuals, our efforts to relieve suffering or bring healing fail. Sometimes such efforts even do more harm.

God doesn’t ask us to take on the world, but to offer the world hope. We are His ambassadors to a hurting world. Being intentional and thoughtful in our interactions can go a long way in offering hope to those in our sphere of influence. What if we open our hearts to Him, and let Him help us see those around us as He does?

Each and every soul on this planet was fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

Each one is a treasure to the One we love most. He is calling us to see them as precious treasures, too.

https://www.gofundme.com/crypurplemovie

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Created to Crave Community… Christine McDonald

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2019 by paulthepoke

Every single day, our lives are filled with opportunities to connect with others in meaningful ways. In times gone by, neighbors were friends who chatted over the backyard fence, played board games on Saturdays, mowed each other’s lawns, and borrowed sugar and eggs. Today we are surrounded by people all the time, yet we exist in a world where we share a mutual unspoken expectation to keep to ourselves. We have separated ourselves from our fellow humans into a world of isolation and superficial contact. Yet we are commanded to love our brother as ourselves.

https://crypurplemovie.com/

What would happen if we defied that isolating expectation and began to notice those we interact with? What could happen if you looked the cashier at the grocery store in the eyes with a smile and asked, with genuine care, how his or her day was going?

God has hardwired us to need one another, to respond in kindness, and to crave community. Somewhere along the line, the church seems to have lost that concept, or at least the fullness of the concept. Paul says in Romans 12:4-5, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” We are to be as one. Yes, we are hardwired by God to crave community!

Look around. Who have you trained your eyes to ignore out of discomfort, or even because of things deemed too painful to consider? Those who are different from us (this may include those who are homeless, those who are prostituted, those with disabilities, or those from a different ethnic or socioeconomic background) are sometimes the ones we are most comfortable blinding ourselves to. Yet they are the ones most in need of being seen.

God has promised that His grace is sufficient. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) He has equipped us to see even those we may be afraid to notice. But they need you. And believe it or not, you need them.

Lord, open our eyes to see those you’ve called us to see today. Help us to step out of our comfort zone and look beyond ourselves. Help us to see your passionate love for others in such a way that we are compelled to love in the same way you have loved us.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

PaulthePoke

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