There have been many challenges since Friday. I was told about a week or two ago that I would have challenges coming from places where I least expected the.
Today is Sunday and it is fitting that I write about this on this day.
A friend of mine from Philadelphia came to see me briefly on Friday. I have known Randall for over thirty years. I called him about two months ago as a way to phase myself in to my friends. He was in "recovery". I felt we could talk.
When he returned my phone call, I was surprised at the things that he said. He said I was emotionally, spiritually and mentally dead. It rocked me. It rocked me badly.
He told me I should not want to live at home because, as he put it, it would be too much pressure. what kind of madness was he talking about?
I talked to another friend who I have known for about 30 plus years and he
is five years clean. He told me that that "spiritually dead" statement is something that they tell people in some twelve step program. He told me that they say that when someone is smoking cocaine. I did not realize it at the time but Randall still thought I smoked cocaine. I did not say the things that he identifies with "recovery".
Subsequently, he told me I was full of shit. He has never said these things to me.
We hug on a street corner on Friday. I was all choked up to see him. We went to a bar to have lunch but the companionship was cut short. He said some things to me to bait me. As soon as I saw him, he mentioned that he would be having dinner with Ken, a friend of mine who wont speak to me. I was told on Friday it is because I let Ken down to many times.
He talked about my sister and what my sister had been saying to Ken for a few years.
I remember him saying something like that to me 10 years ago but he claimed, a few months ago that he did not remember. I let it go.
As soon as he said something else, about Ken I told him to tell Ken to go fuck himself. While I was saying it, I realized that I was not mad at ken one bit. I was mad at Randall and myself.
Randall knew what he was doing trying to bait me. He wanted me to say something.
He sat there and told me to not dwell on my past yet at the same time he would bring things up from the past and accuse me of doing some things.
"You cussed out Kenny," he said.
"No I did not. I have never cussed out Kenny".
"You said you did."
"Randall, I have said no such thing. what are you talking about?"
Then it all hit me. First off, I have never cussed out Kenny. I could see where Randall might have told him I cussed out other people which was not true but I could see now why my sister has said certain things. People create history and then communicate that history to others as a socalled expert on a topic. Kenny knows dam well that I never cussed him out. I would not put myself in a position to cuss him out. He would not stand for it anyway. If I ever cussed him out, it would have been the last time I would have spoken to him. At least it would have been a long time.
Rand did not know kenny or me as well as he portends. The real thing is that he does not know himself as well. Maybe he does and does not like what he sees.
"why are you so concerned about what kenny thinks?" "He does not care about you anymore".
That hurt. What really hurt was this. I introduced Randall to Kenny. I remember when Kenny got him a great job with a beer company and Randall accepted the job and did not even show up to the job. I, through one of my friends, was able to get him in the Wharton School. He was kicked out after a month.
I remember when I when I mentioned something to him at the time about Kenny, he panicked and whined to me about how he did not want kenny to lose confidence in him.
funny. both of those failing situations were from opportunities brought to him from my friendships with people. How quickly he forgets how he was when things went south and then redicules me for having the same feelings and concerns.
I was not mad at Kenny for speaking to Rand.Five months ago, I would have been. I was not mad at my sister, Janice, for reaching out to Kenny.Five months ago, I would have been. It does not matter if what she says was true or not. What mattered was that I understood why my sister talked to kenny. She did not know how to approach me. Kenny did not know how to approach me. I understand that because I did not know how to approach Kenny. I tried to think of ways to speak to my sister about my problems and my fears at the time. There was so much tension I felt and I had so much shame as well. I could not figure out a way to talk to her. I just couldnt. The only time I saw a chance was when she called me to tell me of an idea about having a property in our name. I had thought about it so many times.
I thought about it because I felt it would give us a chance to get to know each other and for me to share some things over time. I was so hapy when she talked about it on the phone one night.
As soon as I was going to tell my sister that I thought it was a great idea and to tell her all of the reasons why, our connection went dead. Connections go dead all of the time when there are cell phones. I tried in vain to reconnect with her number. Each time the line was busy.
Finally the phone rang and it was she. I thought I would continue where we left off.
I did not get the chance."This conversation is not over,. You are going to listen to me." she was angry. I was in shock. I had done nothing wrong. I was grateful to speak to her she did not know how much. She finished saying what she had to say and then hung up. I tried to call her back but she would not pick up the phone.
I started to ride my bike to her house but I just gave up. That outburst was one of many and I knew it was no use in trying. I knew that we had to start with easy communication and work our way up. It was no use. However I just sat in my seat with tears running down my face because I thought we were going to have a chance.
I am digressing but I will bring it back.
Listen to her, I thought. I listened to her more than she knew. I was sitting in a freshly painted room. I painted it when I wanted to improve my environment and to remove the old. At this time I was training hard everyday. I was doing alot of things.
She said some other things that upset me but I had to learn how to interpret some things. Later she was mad because I did not contact her on something pertaining to the property. what she did not know was I was seeking tax advice because if the property was going to be deeded to us, we would be hit with taxes. I knew it. I also knew that I had tax problems. I did not want our tenants in common ownership to result in problems for her. The property would be best in the title of a family trust. I knew that for years but the tax problem that I would bring to our partnership I wanted to avoid. I was in a meeting when she said a contractor was going to be there. she did not know that.
I have a problem with people telling me about my family and dont know anything.
It was clear that he is not secure with his own"recovery". It is clear that he loves his status, whatever it is with ken. I am glad for him. However, Dont shit on me. I am minding my own business. He knows why I cared what kenny thinks.
I wanted kenny to know that I have turned around my life. The last time kenny saw me he said I looked fit. he did not believe I had been training for the triathlon but my fitness was as a result of that.
At that same time. I was reaching out to ken. I had regained my moral compass. I was beginning to live and practice the prinicples that were engrained in me. In many ways, they saved me. I told ken to pick me up to go to church but he never came. he did not know that I had been going to church in the neighborhood. I was a man who was doing. I was not talking about it.
People use a person's situation to better theirs. I see it all of the time.
I cant help that kenny refuses to believe that I no longer do drugs. I cant help it if nobody believes it. People down here know it.
I did not piss my life away as Rand said kenny feels I have. I saved my life. I could have made big money first and then try to get things straight. I would be dead by now. I would have derailed and done nothing but increase the problem.
They say that when you are making strides. People say things because they want to keep you wherer you are. There are many reasons for that. I hope that Randall sees the real truth. The real truth is that no relationship with any of my friends or contacts is going to make him feel more secure within himself. That is the issue. his self esteem. Resolve the issues that he has with himself and stop judging me or forming conclusions. I have known of certain little envys but I never thought they would manifest themselves like they have.
"Why should you be so happy, Walter, when I am so miserable," he once said to me.
He meant it. I thought it was a joke but some of the most sincere things are said in jest. It took the right variable mix for certain things to come to the surface.
I am not even mad at randall. I feel he needs to examine some of his statements to me and the motivations of them. He was very very cruel. Being cruel to me will not absolve him of the things he did to his family when he was using drugs and the harm that was done to them. He will not feel better at my expense.
Tomorrow is Martin King day. I read alot of his speeches. I reread those speeches when I was rediscovering my moral compass. It is so important to live by a certain code. I remember when Ken used to recite those speeches by heart when he was the student body president in high school. I reread those speeches and began learning how to write, to follow kenny's footsteps at the same time.
I can not turn back the hands of time. I can only be the best I can be from this point on. It means that I have to make sure that I do not "dump" on someone because it is convenient or that it serves my purpose to ingratiate myself with someone for career advancement. That is not living by the principles that I know to be the way to code my life.
One of the best things of having a problem with drugs and looking back on the things that I did is that I realize how the smallest infraction from those prinicples or codes of conduct can rob you of your character, your soul. It creates the tiniest hairline fraction in your moral foundation. I have taken great pains to make sure that my moral foundation is sound. That is all that I can do.
It is a challenge because there are times, like when someone comes to Skid Row to dump on me, where I could be angry. But I learned that that moment shall also pass.
I learned that I can overcome the petty insecurities that someone displays when they do not feel good about themselves by being cruel. I do not have to strike back.
This writing is not to strike back. It is an exercise in perspective. I am proud that I understand why my sister spoke to ken. She could not speak to me, she felt. That is all that matters. I did not know how to speak to her. I was getting better at learning how to speak to yourself.
That is what I learned how to do. I learned how to listen to my heartbeat. Hillary Clinton said it the same way when katie couric asked her about the time when bill clinton had the affair with Monica lewinsky. Hillary did not know what to do. She had to really take a step back and listen to herself and do the right thing. Not do things or react to things because of shortsighted impulsive emotional responses. She was hurt. She did not want to act prematurely because of it even with the national and international eye on her.
I learned over YEARS not to react to things said about me. People always gossip.
They gossip because maliciously because they have unhappy lives. I see it here on Skid Row everyday. People say things that get people in trouble because they have their own pain and guilt.
It was hard at first when Randall said some things and I realized the truth of it all. I wrote an angry blog and erased it. I knew I would find my way. I knew I had to be patient because the pain would pass.
I am getting better at things every day. I am redevloping good habits everyday. I am learning how to be more efficient in those good habits. With that, I am becoming more creative. I am beginning to grow. I am doing what I learned was so important when I was triathlon training--to understand everything about everything that I am doing. Someone wrote me an email about that and she did not know how much we were in agreement.
I said that this environment is a university. It is. It provides one with the most challenging independent study there is.
Skid row is changing. while I am here I want to help it change. whether kenny said I had a chance to help humanity or not is not important. I came from a family where helping people was a priority. I had to learn how to help myself, first, even though noone thought I was doing so. It does not change the truth. I am still clean and pursuing my goals. I am living some of them. I agonize over many of them.
I believe that I have a chance to help alot of people everyday while I am down here.
I believe I have a chance to learn how to do more to help people. The challenge of this weekend was for me to continue to push forward. I am doing so. I use to have many dreams. I stopped dreaming but I learned how to dream again. I thought I lost it forever last year but I fought and prayed to get that ability back. I fought and prayed for many things.
I have two suits now. I do not have to worry about having anything to wear when I go to an interview. I can spend that energy trying to pursue an interview for a position.
I can hear kenny's voice as he recited dr King's speeches. I will not be deterred. I have learned alot. I have learned how to put myself in a position to have a chance. I, too, have a dream. I have a dream that I can gain so much wisdom now that I have my moral compass. Mom saw me regain it. That is why she let me do things. That is why she said I matured. I did not know the right terms but I learned them at a religious service today. I learned about family and the things that keep it together as well as the things that bring decay. I learned what can bring a family back. I am doing my part.
I learned that is why I wanted kenny to pick me up those times I called to tell him I wanted to go to church. I know he did not believe me and he probably had good reason. kennys family had always been close and that church where he went was a strong glue that bonded them. I figure I could learn something. I had been going to services in the neighborhood. I did not need to go to Ken's church for services.
I needed to learn from his family. I always did. I just did not know how to apply it. I learned the theory. I have learned alot about theories in my education.
I am applying them now. I wanted to learn how to apply the theories from being around the family church of my friend so I could study how they applied certain theories and principles. That is why I made sure I went to his father's funeral when nobody told me. By luck, I was able to find out. I regard ken as family. If he feels differently, then he feels differently.
there is nothing I can do about that.
Randall is a "recovery bigot". There are many recovery bigots. They confuse their situations as being the same as someone else's situation.
They are judgmental and have the facade of credibility. However, like most bigots, they have prejudices, jealousies and issues that they need to deal with.