"Yesterday I wrote of my friends.
The whole experience started when I wrote a man's name on my blog. Months later he googled himself and on the third page was what I had written. It was something that was special and he was curious who wrote it because not too many people would know of the events written about. He clicked the link and found out it was I and emailed me.
As a result of that, I felt alot of things and wrote about some of them. That is a powerful thing when the internet can do all of that. Bring up feelings.
Bring people together that have not spoken in years.
That is power. It still amazes me how that can happen. Since I have received his email, I have gone through many emotions but that is ok. It magnifies the fact that this venue is so powerful.
I started googling names of people I knew and I miss. It did not surprise to see their names in situations where they made a difference in addition to advancing their own careers. Congradulations Tony LeCour and Claudette Christian. I miss you guys.
I talked to a man who is in the Marshall House. He grew up around the corner from me. He is one of those guys who has a $30,000 judgement on him for child support simply because a woman never took his name off of some documents. She even went into court and told the judge that she was wrong and was on drugs at the time. The court did not grant the mans's DNA motion or lift the judgement. I know both the man and the woman who initially put him in this spiderweb. I know the story to be true. It amazes me that there are so many stories like that around here. Tragic stories.
It is all of the more amazing when sometimes a person cleans up his life and then, finds out something that was filed decades ago and he was never made aware of it. He must pay this money even though it is not his child. The boy is now an adult.
Still, the man works. He keeps going and he refuses to go backward and return to drugs. His name is Wesley and he deserves to be in Scribeskidrow's
Profiles of Courage. he is one of the remarkable people who are fighting to elevate themselves.
He makes me keep things in perspective. "Walt, things happen. I stopped crying about that money after I went to court 10 times and could not get any luck. You learn down here that things happen. What happened to me happened to at least 10 other guys down here. They let it drive them crazy. They returned to drugs and you no doubt see them walking down the street talking to themselves. You just can't let your circumstances drive you crazy. As bad as you may feel about your situation, someone has it worse. It makes you think. It makes you want to fight harder. "
"Walt, when I was on the street, I was out of my mind. Eventually, I got tired and fought the drug thing. I knew about the drugs. I did what I had to do and learned what I had to learn about myself. However, I did not know anything about this child support situation. I did not know anything about it until money was garnished from my check. The woman lied. She told the judge I am not the father. It is obvious I am not the father. The judge said that is not the issue any longer. The issue is that there is a judgement."
"People around here go back to drugs because of things that they know they did not do and are being punished for them. that is what drives people crazy. They had no way of expecting certain scenarios. I had no way to know or prepare myself that someone lied on a document. In some ways if I never quit drugs and never returned to work I would never have known about this. I fought the drugs and won. I lost in court about a lie. I prepared myself to handle the regrets of drug usage; the time wasted, the years that I can not get back. I could not prepare for something that there was no way to prepare for. Those are the kinds of things that destroy people down here. In this environment, lots of people have dealings, or have had dealings with extremely scandalous people. People who will use their brother's name when arrested for a crime and the brother ends up going to jail and prison and was no where near the crime scene at the time. He is in prison and his sibling does not care one bit. So if people know you are down here and are using drugs, you are an easy person to kick. You are an easy person to blame. Many times, things are not true.But because we are painted as the scum of the earth then every thing is true if it is said against you. That is what drives people crazy. That is what will lead a person to commit suicide or return to drugs--and that is a form of suicide. They have to battle things that they can not see. People prefer to believe things about them that are not true because they do not have to look at themselves. It is an amazing process to experience. Some do not make it. Most don't down here when it comes to that part. It is that part that sends them back to the dope man. You see these people on the streets, alot of them love it here. They are happy. They get fed. They can be with their "homeboys." They can smoke dope and do drugs and coerce women for sexual favors. They do not care if they use someone's name when the police question them. They are only concerned about not getting locked up themselves. Happens everyday.
The best way to avoid that is to not talk to alot of people down here and to stay away from women. These women down here will get you killed, at worse, and put in prison, at best. They lie. They still. They owe everyone money. They do not care about your life. They do not care about their lives. They will put you in a trick bag. You find away to keep going. You can not make people see their part in anything. You can not make people see that they are unreasonable because then they have no one to fight. They have no one to blame and they have no one to be angry at."
That was a powerful lecture on an aspect of living down here that I have not thought about. He said that there is alot of people who have to endure finding things out that were said about them as truth in order for somebody to get something done. They usually find out much later and it is too late to contest the lies. He said the things he heard makes his situation look like small potatoes and his stuff is not small potatoes.
I do know about reading documents that are not true. There is nothing like it. It brings a pain inside that indescribeable. One learns how to walk through it. One hopes that the walk is not long and still, while the walk is occuring, one must still focus in on the things he must do and needs to do to advance his own cause.
I have gone back and forth from writing this to googling names. I googled all of the names of my long term girl friends. I have always been proud of them but even more so as I caught up on their activities. They are all directors of something. One is a Colonel in the Air Force. Only 4% of officers in the Air Force make that rank. One is Trustee member of a University. I have wondered what they all were doing. I am glad to know what they are doing. Of course I look at myself and say, well, I guess , they certainly can't be proud of me but I went down a road that I did not know would put me at a computer terminal on Skid Row.
It is amazing that today's activity comes from a name I typed in month's ago on this blog. Because the person read their name, I was contacted.
It is ironic that one could find me as well. I punched in my name and Scribeskidrow popped right up at the top of the page. There were other Walter Meltons. Some of them were doing big things. I was surprised that Scribeskidrow was at the top of the list of Walter Meltons. Only a few years ago, I thought there was no other Walter Melton. Boy, was I wrong.
So it is good to know where everyone is. I wondered where they all were. Men and women. They are all doing exactly what I expected--making a big difference. I did not try to research out people during the last ten years. I was too enmeshed in an effort to end a lifestyle. First it was a lifestyle. That lifestyle turned into a "Painstyle".
I desired to get in contact with many but I did not because once I met a woman from my university. Her name was Tracey. We have mutual friends. Anyway she remembered me and we struck up a telephone relationship. She visited me from New York. Actually she came out here for business. We went down to San Diego where she had to do some corporate business. I basically took her to all of her meetings as she could not drive and did not know where anything was in California.
I had to recall many things when I saw her. We talked naturally of things that were related to Penn. I had to deal with my failures and it was very painful.
I did not want to meet her in San Diego because I self sabotaged. I was so nervous about seeing her that I panicked and I got high for a whole week. I was in alot of pain. I told her I looked bad but I went anyway because that was at the time when I was commited to keeping my word. I did and she was disappointed when she saw me. She said some things to me that hurt. I know she was in pain herself because she saw what she did not expect to see.
That is why I understand it when I have seen people sabotage themselves around this neighborhood. They have not worked out the baggage. They were not ready to break out of a prison that they were in emotionally. They did not know how to go the distance. You have to train yourself to go the distance. I know. It took a long time to train myself to go the distance. Once there, it is a snap.
Today, should I be sad that I am where I am? I do not know. I know this. A few years ago I could not google these names. I would not have wanted to know where they were. If I did I know I would have been worlds apart from them even if I had the corporate job and all of the appropriate masks. Today, I do not have the career,YET. I am working on regaining that. But I do not feel that I am worlds apart.
I might be, physically, worlds apart. I may not have certain things. But my state of mind is clear.
My perspective is not clouded or my activities do not preclude me from a self imposed exile from them any longer. From that stand point, I had a chance to understand that as I googled the names. I reaquainted myself with my history, with the people of my world.
In some ways, I am closer to them now than I was when I had the props. I am on Skid Row but my mind and spirit are not in the gutter. My mind and spirit was in the gutter when I was looking out of windows in office towers. I was on a slow spiral downward. Very slow but definitely downward.
I am on a slow climb up. But I am definitely going up. I am within myself so I can maintain the assent.
I knew that when I was in the home of Kevin and Debbie. There would have been no way that my previous lifestyle would have allowed that. A habit of behavior, only that habit I thought, would have precluded me from enjoying their beautiful friendship. It would have been too stressful trying to hide something that was a part of my life.
I look at myself every day and say,wow, that has changed. Wow, my hands are so soft. Wow, I thought I was filled out. Now I see the nuances of how longevity of change can bring subtle but very distinct changes in ones appearance and attitude.
Each time I make this discovery, I say to myself
"dam, if I can see these things coming back to me, could others see these traits or characteristics change gradually over the years?
Even if they could not see the change, I am certain that they could feel a lack of shining spirit in me. I did not inspire confidence in myself so at the "margin" that aura would be lacking. I know it.
I wrote something to someone recently. She told me I had found my calling. It is not important what she said it was, what is important is that as she reads these blogs (and because she read them all she is the best one to see the trends) she can see evolution. I might right paragraphs and paragraphs but it is one thing that my grab her attention and she can say "Ah, there it is".
I know I see it at times. Sometimes my writing takes on the role of a search engine. Let me see where this goes. let me see what will pop up from the many things that are lurking just underneath my awareness. What are the forces underneath that are bringing discomfort above. What are the underlying forces of my attitude? Why is it that I am up today? Are they valid reasons? Why am I down today? Are they valid reasons? What is my perspective? What do others see? Why is it they see somethings? What,in there background, compels them to have a propensity to see some things more than others?
This is the through which I went when I was triathlon training. It was painstaking. It was methodical. It was meticulous. I went through that kind of self question session when I finished every workout because I was monitoring what it felt like to be "free". I wanted to stay that way so I had to understand everything about tearing away the toxic self and rebuilding back a healthy self.
That is what Wesley was talking about when he said it is not the drugs, it is what you DONT know about. It can be a circumstance. It can be self. Dont let self cloud view of the circumstance and dont let the circumstance take you away from self and every thing that is important to self:perception of self and perception of family that impact you and that you impact.
I am finding "cans". You remember that term. I am finding all sorts of cans. Some will be able to be cashed in soon. Some will be more long term. Whatever kind of cans, they must be gathered.
Wesley just walked by and he saw my room earlier and he just stopped to say this."Walter, I just saw your room. I know you cleaned it but it is STILL cleaned." I thought that was funny. I also thought it was important that he told me. LONGEVITY OF CHANGE. I believe I talked about that earlier. That longevity of change in one area paves the way for change and growth in other areas. People see these things down here.
A person has more people watching their every move
down here than anywhere else I know. Drug dealers watch your every move. Your neighbors watch your every move. Counselors watch your every move. No one watches the people who are using drugs. They are a known quantity. You know what they are doing. You know what they have to do to do what they do.
The clean person is the one down here that is the unknown quantity. You do not know what they are going to do. ARe they going to keep moving forward. Will they self distruct. Do they have a
"Wild Card" that will propel them upward and onward.
Is there an unknown "x" factor that will cause them to crash and burn?
Can we learn something from him that can help someone else? STaff people talk about people that they see, that they have known, particularly the ones they met when they first arrived on Skid Row.
They see their growth through you. You can assess your growth through them. If they do not see you, they become concerned. If they see you, they want to see certain things.
I am going through a phase because there was a time when I would ask," Do you see something?" It is a chorus line down here? You ask that before you ask about the glow. Now I am noticing that I dont ask.
Or I do not ask as much. People are volunteering. They are doing it at the most unexpected times.
In short all of the good things said is because of work done. Understanding the history of what makes me, me. It is not a school. It is a total set of events and people in my history. EVerybody has that history. Then in a situation like this, you must look at each thing that makes you you and make sure you do not lose it or learn how to recognize what is returning that gave you the EDGE. People think they have that edge and they do not see that they have lost tangible and intangible components of their total package.
They think they are at the 10th level and they are at the 3rd level. That is why people run into problems down here. You see it everyday. The more you become less consumed by Skid Row, the more detached, the more you see and understand it. It is because one is becoming more comfortable with self and doing all of the things necessary to move forward. Every so often you get feed back that lets you know you are moving forward. It comes in different ways. You receive a compliment or a statement from someone about a change. You do more in one hour than it took you three to do the same amount of work. You are streamlined in every aspect of the word.
Tomorrow marks a new phase. I will tell you what it is. I do not know all the ways that it will present itself. I do know that the phase will bring new realizations. That is most important.
I am moving closer. I am moving further away from things. That is all that I know. I talked to people who are moving closer and they are moving away from, today. We see alot of people who are moving away from selves and moving further away from having the chance to being themselves. It is a complex world down here. As I said it is a university. It is a unique brand of independent study. I must go/. I have to get ready. I have work to do. I have feelings to feel. I have perspectives to uncover. I can only move forward if I get these things done. I will talk later.
Yes, I am in the trenches.