Every so often we get the urge to do a personal project to help keep our creative juices flowing. It's nice to work on something a little different that a client wouldn't typically request. This was one of those projects!
For several months we hit the streets and approached random people and ask them if we could take their photo and ask them a couple of questions. Yes, it was as nerve wracking as it sounds!
Surprisingly, most people said yes and it was very interesting getting to meet such a wide range of people.
This is Tim. Not George Takei as you may have initially thought.
He spoke broken English so when I introduced myself and he said "Tim," I assumed he was repeating my name. But no, he was saying his name. It wasn't until I asked his name a second time that I realized we had the same name.
He was power walking down the beach when I interrupted him to talk. As he walked he would quickly raise both hands in front of him and let them slowly fall to his sides; that must be what turns a normal walk into a power walk. He said he walks the beach everyday for exercise.
As we talked, I asked him if he could give one piece of advice to someone, what would it be; he said "Work hard and be wise."
"How has this played out in your life?" I asked.
"When I was young I worked hard and was wise with my money, and now I do not have to worry about things." Then he pointed out his condo that was there on the beach.
Thanks for he advice Tim! Reminds me a lot of what I have been hearing as I read through the book of Proverbs.
“Find a group, you guys will motivate each other and you won’t want to give up.”
“When was a time when your group was there for you?”
“I was coming down the hill, my bearing came out, my board flipped, I fell and Jay he came and wrapped my hand up with his bandana and all the rest of the team aided me.”
“You don’t look like a typical homeschooler. What's the best advice you could give someone?”
“Don’t care what people think about you. You’re still a person no matter what, know that and go for it.”
“Has that ever been difficult for you?”
“You can definitely tell that people come up with assumptions based on what they see and they instantly regard you as one thing. But, blow their minds, you are who you are regardless of what you look like.”
This is Josh, I met him in downtown Lynchburg in front of a pawn shop this past Thursday. His mom recently passed away:
"This is the first time I have really talked about it man, so it’s kind of hard. I feel like I killed her. I had to sign to take her off of life support.
I loved her, but I hated her at the same time for what she put me through.
My whole childhood growing up she was a really bad drug addict. So I bounced up and down the east coast. When I was 14 I started selling drugs. Got into some trouble for doing that, did five years in prison for it.
She OD’ed man, she overdosed herself. She was in a lot of pain. She was not healthy at all."
"Do you ever see yourself headed in that direction?"
"I mean I did, like five or six years ago, I saw myself on a self destruct course. But I had to just wake up and realize, man I got my kids to live for. And I had to, I just had to get away from it."
“What was it like for you being gay and growing up in a conservative southern town?”
“Well first of all I am the son of a preacher. So, go figure. I tried to change and all that, it just didn’t happen for me.
I hate to say it but I put God on the back burner. It’s hard to explain, I love the Lord, I really do. I just wish I could love the lord and love the people like me.
I feel like I have a purpose, but I’m still running. I just pray to God that He will have mercy on me.”
“I’ve always loved cars.
My dad owned one of these in the 90’s. I just remember being pinned to the backseat, so that’s why I had to buy it. I was so stoked to find one in good condition.
And that’s how I really got into cars too, because of my dad.”
He then pulled out his phone and showed me a photo of him when he was five or so sitting on top of an identical car.
- Xavier (left)
“So how did you guys start your coffee shop?”
“With six bucks.
Neither one of us could find a job for personal reasons. We couldn’t get any help from anybody. I had the place leased and my partner flaked out on me.
So I went to the DAV I got myself a coffee pot and a thing of muffins and we have been open ever since.
I thought, I’d be homeless next month anyway so I might as well give it a try.”
“Love your family is all I can say. I have family and they all love me very much.
We grew up not talking about love, but we loved everybody, but we didn’t use the word love.
But, now my family is always telling me they love me, and I tell them I love them. I tell my granddaughters and I just can’t express how much I think of them.”
Henry is 92 and he was mowing his lawn when I stopped to talk with him.
“What’s one of the most difficult things in your life?”
“Watching my daughter grow up. I don’t like that at all. I want her to stay three years old, cuddly and adorable. But, she’s getting ready to graduate high school and go to college. So, it is what it is.
The hugs quit at 13.”
“What’s your biggest challenge in life right now?”
“I would say patience. In the sense of having this urge to be what I have been becoming for so long. You feel like you are right at the edge, but you want to get to the next step. But you know you aren’t there yet.”
“I think about my younger days when I was really carefree. I would sing songs and climb trees.
I enjoyed my younger days because I was free and didn’t have any responsibilities.
And then I got married, and that was halfway hell!”
“My life motto is ‘go wherever the wind takes you.’ It’s from something real stupid growing up and it just stuck with me."
“Was there a time when that was difficult for you to do?”
“Just recently actually. I didn’t have enough money to live on campus at Lynchburg College. So I got really upset. And you know, I just got started calling around and asking for help, and I got a family friend who let me live with them.
It can either lead to something totally disastrous or it can end up in something really beautiful.
You just have to take a chance see what happens.”