That Was Then, This Is Now

by Tianna Blackmon
June 2009


On the day of March 2, 2008 (my birthday), I gave my 23rd birthday party at Bar 21 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Ms. C. happened to throw a drink. A fight broke out soon afterward, and in the midst of the fight, I hit C. in her face with a glass.

From that day, my life changed, as did the life of A’Shanti’anna, my five-year old daughter. It hurt my heart so much just to know that I hurt C. I prayed – and still pray – all day and night that she will be blessed and healed, because God is the only one who can heal her.

Even though C. is the one that started the fight, I still put myself in her situation. I’ve tried to put myself in her situation in order to see things from her point of view, and wonder how I would feel if I had to look in the mirror everyday with a scar on my face – wonder if I was still pretty?

I can’t imagine the pain I have caused C. and her family. She wasn’t going through the pain alone. I felt her pain; we were going through it together, even though we didn’t know each other.

I have hoped and prayed that C. can find it in her heart to forgive me – not forget. Her forgiveness is all I ask. There is nothing that I can do to change what happened that night, or else I would go back and change it. In order to finally go on with my life after these months in prison, I had to ask God to forgive me. Then I had to forgive myself. If C. can’t forgive me now, maybe as she accepts God into her life and matures, she will do so.

On August 18, 2008, I was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for felonious assault. It was all over something that could have been prevented. As a woman, going down that road to prison took a toll on me, knowing that I was leaving someone behind: A’Shanti’anna, my five-year old daughter. How am I going to explain to her the things I’ve done, when in the long run she is the one that is hurting?

When I first got to prison (initially at Ohio Reformatory for Women), I wanted to kill myself. I thought, “I can’t do this!” Then, God spoke to me and said, “Yes you can and you will. This isn’t the end of your life. It’s the beginning. I know it’s hard, but I’m here to help you, so lift your head up straight. Trust in me. I will get you out of the trouble that the devil go you into.”

It is hard lying here in this bed, crying myself to sleep every night and thinking, “This is how fast your life can change when you least expect it.” Being in prison makes me feel alone, with nobody by my side but God. For real, that’s all I really need.

My family doesn’t know or understand what it is like. (I didn’t either until I got here to see for myself.) I guess you have to go through an experience like this to know how it feels when you don’t get mail, when you can’t sleep at night because you miss family, and you try to call but you can’t get through to them. When you don’t have money on your “books” you go to sleep hungry. You think, “Should I go on?” I can’t dwell on the things I can’t change, but I can focus on the things that I can change: myself!

Deep down, I am hurting mentally and physically. I know that God is going to bring me out of this situation, and when he does, Tianna Blackmon is going to be a whole new person. I am going to help others before they make the same mistake I have made.

God knows how and what I feel in my heart. That’s why I thank God for bringing me this far in life. I can look back at all he has brought me through, and still I am standing. God isn’t done with me yet. You know it is a work-in-progress, until there is a point when you want to turn your life over to him. God is good; he is changing me little by little everyday to make a difference in other peoples’ lives.

God has brought me here to prison for a reason. I may not know at this moment what his purpose is, but one thing I do know is this is going to work out in his ultimate purpose. I can’t wait to experience the things he has in store for me, especially as I want to reach out to help change and help others that have been through things in their lives, with no one to talk to. They think they’re alone. But I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone. God is with you.