Friday, January 25, 2008


It is Friday morning and I am sitting at Chrysalis. I checked the job board but it there is nothing happening. I will start fresh on Monday.

Yesterday a nice man sent me an email. I did some further reading and found out that he lives on the same street in the neighorhood. I began thinking of my days on that street and how much that street and my family meant to me. Always have.

I thought about my teeth and I thought about something that I never told my sister.
I wrote her and told her. I must have wanted to tell her these things for a long time because there was an endless flow of tears that would not stop.

I always thought I was ugly. My teeth were a big issue to me. They were deformed because of an illness that the doctors felt would take my life. It did not but the legacy of it was deformed teeth and an abdominal scar. It was hard for me at times to be a competitive swimmer because of my scar. I tried to hide it when I was at the swim pool.

I always felt I had only one thing going for me. I loved everyone and was a sensitive guy. My imperfections were and issue growing up. I made some of them worse by doing drugs. That, of course, made the teeth worse. Thus, I disliked myself more.

Los Angeles is a place where teeth and cosmetic appearance is important. We all know that what is on the inside counts the most but in everyday application in the land of tinsel town, one can lose sight of that.

I told Randy, my friend and oral surgeon that it was not surprising to me that he became an oral surgeon. He loved medicine. He cared about people and he wanted to help them. He was also an artist of sorts. He loved to do sculptures.
He could be an artist and help people fill good about themselves.

I said that Skid Row is a great University. You have a chance to learn things. You have a chance to reinforce values. You learn alot about life down here.

People talk of the homeless. No one talks about the people who struggle to walk down the street because the prothesis leg has been damaged. They do not talk about the endless numbers of amputees that live in the area that struggle everyday. They do not talk about the people with half skulls or who have lost eyes or eye sight through accidents.

A man lost all of his toes recently. He is going home soon. He worked endlessly in the kitchen to feed people while he was in the same facility with me. The cook, with whom he worked, died recently of cancer that she did not know she had.

I was down because of my situation until I thought of these things and was able to put some things in perspective. Maybe those tears that came when I wrote my sister was a release of some pain-the pain of not liking myself because I had some petty imperfections years ago. Funny, when I was swimming at USC, training, I did not even remember about my scar. I would not get it removed even though they have the technology to remove it these days with a laser. If it were not for that scar, I would not be alive.

I came to understand those things when I was training. The more I understand, the more my drug consumption decreased.
I want to thank my friend Randy for helping people. I want to thank Mark for letting me think of my sister and to put some things in perspective. I want to think God for not having my sister go through some of the things I did, in so far as learning how to like herself because of imperfections.

Those people who struggle each day with amputations etc, have learned to deal with more things than we will ever know. They have good souls. They understand life and what is important. It is important not to feel sorry for them. It is important to learn from them because they are great professors of life at the University of Skid Row.

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