Thursday, December 27, 2007
Happy New Year. I Love You
It has been a few days since I blogged. It has been the first time that I missed a day. I did not want to miss a day. However, computers were inaccessible and the library system was down. It may have been the best thing as it gave me time to think. It gave me time to understand some things that had me disoriented.
There were a few things that I wrote on my last blog that did not set well with me. I have written similar things before. Whenever I have made a breakthrough in thinking or activity, since being down here, there has been a pattern. Invariably, when I have gone through a door into the next room of opportunities, I can not see what is there. I do not know which way to go. Ironically, in the previous room, where the lights are completely on, there is no opportunity. The opportunity is in the room to which I have been trying to open the door.
When I have arrived at those rooms, I do a review. Sometimes I leave the blog feeling that the writing conveyed a since of bitterness. I do not like that as bitterness is something that I do not want to feel, let alone convey. Bitterness is anger. Anger is a manifestation of fear. Ah, then that is what I needed to look at.
The last time I wrote like that was during the Thanksgiving Holidays. I was opening new doors and experiencing new rooms. Things like that happen in clusters and you want the pace of progress to continue. However, the progress experienced has come from the work done, internally, as well as externally---the research for jobs, the self organization regimentation, etc.
When I experienced those last clusters of rooms, that signified progress, I experienced them when my support network was on leave of absence. Don was out of town. Jose was on vacation. The computers were not available. I remember telling Jose, from this location, in Little Tokyo, how change was happening fast. I told him that when it happens, I want it to continue. I remember going back to my room and not being able to talk to people. Kevin would call and check up on me. But that was a critical time. I remember I said I was going to clean and organize my room.
It took 3 weeks for me to get mentally and physically fit to plow through the baggage for me to be able to plow through the physical debris. Then, I had to develop the good habits about which my sister was talking. Put things back from where you got them. If you dont, and it continues, then the place is a mess. However, there is something more important to realize. If you do not do that, and things pile up, it is a sign that the internal baggage is not clear, that you are more comfortable with anxiety and burdens than clarity and light loads.
I went through the opening stages of making the steps in Thanksgiving that have me where I am today. It was tough. I remember saying that I survived a big day.
This past Friday, I survived a big day, Thursday, I called Randy, and we talked. He said I could come out on Friday to get the impressions done for my teeth. I did so. I was surprised that I did not procrastinate. I did not wait until today to do it. I woke up on Friday morning and did what I had to do. Friday morning, December 28, was the date that I started smoking cocaine, many years ago. Now, on that same date, I took a bus ride to begin to repair things in my life. This dental bridge will help me get a job. No employer wants to hire someone with teeth missing. That is just a fact of life.
I was surprised that I did not wallow in the speculation that I would have to go by my mother's house on the bus and then feel bad. I had to do what I had to do. The faster I get things done, the faster I move forward, the faster my family moves forward.
I did what I had to do. Afterwards, I wrote and posted my blog but something was missing. I forgot certain things. I forgot about the pattern, the momentary feeling of disorientation.
Finally, something happened. in the early morning hours of Saturday morning. But first tlest back up a minute. During the last month, I have been observing people that sit on the ground. I have observed them. I have observed people that sleep on the ground as well. The people who sit on the ground are not necessarily the people that sleep on the ground. Also I have noticed a few people are beginning to speak to me that have not spoken to me in the past. These are people who are mainstays in Skid Row. You see them every day. There are various incrowds in Skid Row.
These people that have said hello to me are a part of different incrowds in Skid Row.
Indeed, they are a part of the every day infrastructure of Skid Row society.
In Skid Row, you have your "fixed" infrastructure and you have your "variable infrastructure. It is easy to identify the "fixed" infrastructure but it takes a keen eye to identify and constantly recognize the "variable" infrastructure that exists on Skid Row. They are independent of each other and dependent on eachother, simultaneously. ( More on that later). One of the men who has been speaking to me is a spanish speaking black man who sits in a wheel chair. He makes sure, during the last week, that he looks me right in the eye and gives me an unmistakable acknowledgement of respect. Why, I do not know. What I have done to deserve this from him, I do not know. However, I appreciate the gesture and my new status with him. Every day now, when I walk past his wheel chair, he speaks to me. There is something about this man that intrigues me. He is a double amputee but he is beginning to show me how he walks. Or is it that I am just at the point where I am LEARNING HOW TO SEE.
I said all of the above to tell you that in the middle of the night, after this how year of going through big days, I finally realized what is important about the big days. It is not going through them that is important. One is capable of going through a big day without creating a traumatic or catastrophic event. What is important are the REALIZATIONS that one recognizes with the day. With the proper understanding of the REALIZATIONS, the day becomes a "Rite of Passage"
Without the understanding, the day becomes just another day. Yeah, you went through it but you learned nothing from it that can catapult you to the next level. Sometimes people want to stay at the level they are on, subconsiously, but that is another conversation.
I learned alot from this past Friday, and everything that I have been through the last 90 days, living at the Marshall House, has been a sort of a boot camp. going through that boot camp yielded results. I have begun to see things in me. I have begun to see things in my environment that I have not been able to articulate or codify in some way. It was that cumulative growth that led me to be able to come up with the "fixed" and "variable" infrastructure classifications of the societal structure of Skid Row. Some of this is beginning to form the outline of how to answer the question that members of the Los Angeles Times' Editorial Board asked me when we walked around Skid Row a few weeks ago. I told them I could not answer the question they posed to me at that time. I am glad I said that. I could not answer the question until I knew what I was looking at in its totality. Ah, and to be able to do that I had to make sure I was looking at myself and at life in a healthier totality. I am beginning to do that.
It had been the perfect way to end the year. I put in the hard work. I put in the tears. I experienced the pain. I researched the pain. With the honest research, came answers. I questioned myself. I corrected myself when my point of view was formed out of emotions that protected the pysche but were based on distorted reality.
It has been a learning process. I looked at those pictures that my sister sent me and I knew those were deep pictures. They symbolized something new, something good, something healthy, something enduring and strong. She is doing her part. I am doing my part. I am getting myself together.
I saw Randy on Friday. My seeing Randy was deeper than any would know. I will not tell you why. Howerver, I will share this. The last time I saw Randy was at a time when I was at the end of training for the triathlon. I was in great condition. I was tanned from swimming every day in the hot sun. My muscles were developed. I had gained some weight. I THOUGHT I LOOKED GREAT.
I looked like shit. I now know that I looked like shit. Randy told me somthing when he walked out of the examining room. It was the last thing he told me as he walked out. "By the way, you look 100 percent better." Hell, I thought I looked one hundred percent better when he saw me last. I had stopped smoking drugs.
But that meant nothing. I still had the drug user's air. I still had the aura of a drug user. I still had the awareness of "fixed variables" of a drug user.
Today, I no longer have that aura. I ran into a well known drug dealer from my neighborhood the other day. He remember my name immediately. They always gave me a certain amount of respect as I tried to always tell them of other ways to make money. Anyway, I could not figure out where I knew him from. I knew him from somewhere. I thought it was from the Transition House as so many people pass through there. "I will be damned" I said to myself. I forgot his name or where I knew him from. Perfect, a right of passage has been achieved. He told me one thing that was important. He still coaches basketball for a kid's league. In time maybe we can do something about that. For now, I will keep it in the data bank.
This year, I worked hard and the result is simple. It has prepared me for next year. I am prepared to do hard work. I am prepared to keep moving forward. I am prepared, on January 2, to blitz the market place with resumes. I am ready for the next step. This blog, today, has made all of the other blogs worth it. It has made all of the doubt worth it. It reconfirms to me that it was the right thing to do-to talk about the past as I carve my path into the future. It is ok to stand in the spotlight and talk about the times in which I had to live, in the dark of loneliness.
It is not enough to stop doing drugs. Clean time without knowledge acquired is nothing. It does not put you forward. I wanted to move forward. I believe I have.
I am glad that it all came together as it did and it still is, as I write, because I was able to look at the KNBC report with new eyes. I was able to look at it with new understanding. I had questions for weeks about the people sitting down. Then, last week, someone sent a short film to me that he did about Skid Row. It began to answer some questions. Then, more experiences, more self questions asked and answered as well as doors of realizations opened, propelled me to a new point and when I looked at that television show it helped to crstallize and codify some things. Some of those things are things about which I have talked today. They may seem abstract to the reader but for me it is manifestation is very concrete in my being. I am evolving, I am growing. I am becoming while enjoying what I "am"
at the moment.
I have wondered about my blog. It is part news. IT is part commentary. It is part "story". The story is my story. It is my climb back to life. I am proud of my story. IT is not a story of defeat. It is a story of victory. It is an ongoing victory. I thought my story was boring. But it is not. I have the opportunity to chronicle the moding of a new person. I have the opportunity to share with you how a new soul is being born and developed- to explain the processes as they go, as I experience them. It is an honor to do so. The processes, the understanding of the processes of recreation, of refurbishement are transferable. You understand the processes of rebuilding self, you understand the processes of rebuilding a building. I know as I have been a part of many building refurbishments. This is my first throrough self refurbishment. My hope is that someone will read my monologue of the processes and recognize certain signs or yardposts that they can use, for themselves, to recreate their life if necessary.
I was dam good in the real estate industry. I was damn good in various industries.
I would be better now in any industry because I am better with Walter. If nothing else, I may have helped someone else be better with themselves.
Happy New Year World. I love you.