What happens when two Black queer women sell all their possessions, quit their cozy careers, and decide to drive across the country in an RV?! Find out in ELIXHER’s column, QTWoC Chronicles, where Tabia and Mimie Lisenbee-Parker of Purpose.Driven.Love. document their physical, emotional and spiritual journey. Get an intimate look into their lives and lessons around love and intentionality.
I am seriously proud to share that my wife and I successfully spent our first year of marriage traveling together in our 18-foot camper. After making it north to Maine and west to California, we were both craving a taste of our southern roots, so we decided to spend some time living in my hometown of Augusta, Georgia.
I am Tennessee born and Georgia grown, and many of my family members live in Augusta. Coming to Augusta appealed to us as a booster step between the solitude of the woods and the crowdedness of the city. Living there would provide us with a comfy space to decide on our next step and design the next phase of our ultimate life. As it turns out, the gifts of living here have been part what we hoped and part what we never expected. This may have been a sleepy place to grow up, but Augusta has grown since I was a teenager here. Tabia and I have both gone back to working full-time — me at the high school near our house and she with her photography business, Captured by Tabia.
“Moving out of the woods where focusing on the things that matter is really all there is to do means figuring out how in the hell to stay focused when there is so much else to do.”
The second of my three older sisters owns, lives, and works in my childhood home. This is the home where I had sleepovers, where I made science projects, where I choreographed hours of dances for my youth group with my friends. This is also the home that caught fire during high school and where I got the news of my mother’s death during my first year of college. It’s the site of both light and heavy memories: the din of children’s laughter, the shock of a family’s grief. It has always doubled as a business. My mom turned the garage into a daycare, and now it is my sister’s hair salon.
My sister, Devon, is very artistic and had already undertaken some renovation projects in the house. We loved renovating our camper and are always dreaming of building our own home, so we were thrilled to help Devon develop the house into more of a home-base for our family visits.
“The second gift Augusta has given us is the opportunity to exercise healthy boundaries. It can be so tempting to fill up our calendars with events and obligations like we did before, but allocating our time and energy wisely can only be accomplished by saying ‘yes’ selectively and ‘no’ assuredly.”
While I am super excited to shower with my shoes off and fit full-sized items in the fridge, I can say for certain that things like a big house, cell phone/internet service, television, a closet full of clothes and gadgets…and really most things…are extras and are not necessary to live an exciting, full, healthy, happy life. But moving out of the woods where focusing on the things that matter is really all there is to do means figuring out how in the hell to stay focused when there is so much else to do.
So the second gift Augusta has given us is the opportunity to exercise healthy boundaries. It can be so tempting to fill up our calendars with events and obligations like we did before, but allocating our time and energy wisely can only be accomplished by saying “yes” selectively and “no” assuredly. Drawing clear boundaries helps the folks around us know what to expect and also leaves us the mental and emotional space to continue our career and family building.
I’m not sure I can accurately explain how it feels for me to come back to this house and this city, to heal myself and make peace with everything I experienced here, to get to know my sister as a grown woman, and to share it all with my wife every day. I am thankful for the opportunity Tabia has to study and decipher me through the relationships she’s building with the people who raised me.
This chapter, like each one before it, draws us closer to ourselves as well as to each other. It tethers us to awareness and lessens the distance between who we are and what we were put here to do.
Purpose.Driven.Love. is a personal movement designed around living ON purpose and loving intentionally. Follow Tabia and Mimie as they embark on an epic adventure across North America to discover a life filled with more of less. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PurposeDrvnLv and on Twitter @PurposeDrvnLv.
*Photos Courtesy of Tabia Lisenbee-Parker