Saturday, November 17, 2007
Classes in Foundation, not Money Management
It is in the early hours of Sunday morning. I am sitting on the second floor, in the dark, working the key board. Skid Row is quiet. It is a good time to be awake. I can hear myself think.
I obtained this idea from Ed Fuentes. He photographed his awards that he received from Jan Perry and Don Garza and posted them. They looked very nice. SRO Housing Corporation provides on going educational workshops for its residens and clients. This class is one of them. I scoffed at this class when I heard I had to take it. I had just moved in the building and I had to start "job classes" for the county on the next day. I just completed "job" classes at the T House from where I came and at Chrysalis.
These classes cover the basics-THE VERY BASICS. How to write a resume, how to interview.
These are skills to which I was first introduced when I was 11 years old. I had been developed interview skills in pursuing many opportunities all of my life. The most interesting interview I had was when I applied to be a foreign exchange student in Brazil. They put a chair in the midde of a room and 12 people asked me questions for about one hour. I went to Brazil in the summer of 1972, the first student at Harvard School to participate in the foreign exchange program at American Field Service.
Interviewing classes were not what I needed. Money management classes were not what I needed. Economics and Finance were my fields of study at Penn.
However, I was wrong about what I needed. I told you how I was scared of the world and I wanted to hide from the world. Actually, I realize I was hiding from the world when I was using cocaine. I did not want to face the world, live in the productive world because I lost confidence.
I told you how I sat in that guard shack for hours, 12 hours a day. At first it was to have some peace of mind in order to write. Later, it was for a different reason.
When I was told I could begin to look for work. I was terrified. I wanted to work but I did not believe anyone would want me. I was going to return to the labor force before all of this happened. I was developing relationships at USC while training for the triathlon. I started to investigate opportunities on the campus as I loved it there. All of that came screeching stop.
My discipline had returned and my verbal, speaking discipline had returned. I knew that was key. When you must go into the world of the streets, one must speak in the manner of the streets. You curse. You use double negatives. These forms of behavior do not enhance ones chances of success in the corporate world.
When I changed worlds where the use of formal grammar was expected, I found my conversation did not flow at first. I had to think before picking words because I used words like
'shit', generically. A person could substitute whatever word the wanted to fill the descriptive need. That is the custom of the street. That is not the morey of a top educational institution or corporation. At first I had to stop and think. There were too many "ah's" in my sentences.
The classes did not give me new information. The classes reinforced, subliminally, the discipline
that I regained when I did my self life research, and dealt with the internal problems that drove the drug use. In the classes, saving was discussed, bargain shopping was discussed. All of these practices were behaviors I had enjoyed while rebuilding myself. I loved shopping.
When I first started going to the grocery store for my mother I would just grab what she needed, what the household needed. Over a period of time I started to stretch out the dollar. I began to utilize and practice the economic principles that I learned in college. In other words I made sure my "indifference curves were tangent to the budget line".
That is why it astounds me that they said my mother had no food. I loved going shopping everyday or every other day because I was able to rebuild my discipline and expand on it while helping my mother. I was determine to accomplish at least two things, and optimally three things with every unit of energy invested. I was doing that and enjoying that.
The classes brought back those memories and allowed me to feel, again, the foundation that I had built before my night mare started. Just like being in the room and doing drugs was a retreat from the world, the shack was as well. I retreated from the world in that shack.
Therefore, the classes broke up that pattern and pushed me to deal with the world. I knew they would. I just had to get rid of certain attitudes. I did not know if I could survive 6 weeks of learning how to write a check and balance a check book.
However, I survived alot and I survived this class. It was on the second floor of the James Wood Foundation on 5th and San Julian. Actually the portion of the building that it was in remings me of the Marlborough School on Rossmore and Third.
This certificate symbolizes everything that I have gone through and survived from the time I started training for the triathlon until now. Every challenge, every class, every adjustment made to a changing situation is represented in this certificate.
This is what rebuilding is about to me. It is about using every experience of my life to my benefit. I know what it is like to study hard, to train hard. I know what it is like to be a screw off time and resources. I know what it is like to engage in self destructive behavior. I know what it is like to watch someone go through the process of incresing symptoms of dementia.
I know the challenges that it brings. I know also the blessings it brings. I know how the unimaginable can go wrong because of it. I also know I am blogging and linking and learning and growing because of the unimaginable as well.
That certificate symbolizes all of the above. It is where I am at now. The one thing I want to begin doing again is swimming and cycling. Those endeavors enabled me to regain discipline and
patience and started a rebirth in me that reestablished study habits and behaviors of success.
I am sitting at a computer that cuts off all of the time. I used to have to retype blogs. It has cut off several times since I started to rewrite portions of this blog. I took the time to put in more links. I am attempting to have a higher degree of detail be a part of my being, not only in blogging but across the board. It is discipline and patience that takes one's imagination to the doors and allows one to open the locks of creativity.
I had to redo the links several times on this Sunday morning. I was not deterred. I finished them and in the process established a new level of thoroughness, of completeness. I am beginning to climb the ladder of skills integration and application.
That is what Skid Row is to me now. It is a rebuilding laboratory. When I focus and push myself things open up. Something will stick sooner or later. I enjoyed putting in the links because this blog was about learning. Those links are largely related to learning institutions and I had to learn to put the links in. All of those links have been a building block in my foundation in one form or another.
I love building.
Do you remember when I said I said the harder I work the luckier I get. I got lucky again. It was in the form of finding out information. All of that came from spending the time linking. I will share it with you on the next blog.
good morning world. I love you.