Thursday, February 28, 2008

I get by with help from my friends

Just walked back in from the movie set. Robert Downing jr. and the director, Joe Wright, worked on a scene all day. It appeared to be the first time that Steve Lopez, the Los Angeles Times reporter meets Nathaniel Ayers. From my vantage point, there seems to have been a bonding that took place in the scene.

It has been an interesting four days, taking a break from shooting out resumes. I just caught my stride with shooting out resumes and then am taken away from the computer to make money. It is a strange feeling, working and feeling like I am not doing enough to insure my future. Yet at the same time, I have an upcoming 2nd interview with an organization in which I must make a marketing presentation. I worked so hard to get to this point and yet I have not had the time to focus on what is needed to be done.

I talk less on the phone with my support network. It has caused some stress but it has been needed. I must rely 100% on self. My new friends have their own lives and it is time to ween myself from a certain brand of emotional crutch.

I felt my guts churning alot this week as I am going through new doors and with that comes many unknowns. Usually I talk with people during those times so this is new frontier. Fortunately emails have come in from people who I love. They are pleasant surprises and a brief respit from the challenges that each day brings.

I called up the human resources manager of a firm that wanted to hire me a few months ago but could not due to insurance reasons. There is a new position opening up that I may be able to snag in the evenings. It is not like the marketing position. Far frrom it but It is a start.

That picture above is the wall where OG and his Skid Row Three on Three league members painted a new mural with a message of love and hope. I put it up there because a block away from the above pictured corner, a friend of mine was attacked last night. He manages the computer lab and was responsible for convincing the executive director of the STRIVE program to open up the computer lab at night so that people can improve their computer skills.

He pulled me over to the side and told me about the incident. It was the first time anyone that I met on Skid Row was physcially attacked. I was confronted once. Drug dealers attempted to force me to smoke cocaine but there was no violence.

My friend was not robbed. The assault puzzles me but so much does on Skid Row. Anything can happen. I must not lose sight of that fact even though postive things like the movie is being shot not far away.

There are other reminders that a plague of sorts still grips the area. The woman ,who lived next door to me, relapsed and ran up and down the halls, believing that someone was going to attack and hurt her.

Another woman who was in the shelter with me last year at this time, relapsed, lost her job, her apartment and is on the streets hustling for cocaine. The trigger for that relapse was the discovery that her fiance was cheating on her.

It makes me appreciate so much the support network that I have built up since I arrived on Skid Row. I am not concerned about relapsing. (I hate that dam word).
I just never want to feel as alone as I felt when I arrived here. That feeling lasted for most of last year. I never want to feel that way again.

I look at emails or comments on my blog where people have said nice things to me or voiced their support in letters to others like Paul Freese did recently.
I am lucky.

I think of the potential bosses at the organization for whom I must do the presentation. They are giving me the chance to show what I can do. They are giving me hope.

And I must go home and wonder how my friend is handling his attack. He must walk to the same bus stop to get home tonight. I built up a network on Skid Row. I have done well in that regard. However. I have been doing that kind of thing all of my life. It is apart of my makeup and it has been a vital component of my survival down here.

However, Skid Row still exists and people still relapse and wonder the streets. People that I know who I thought were well on their way, have suffered heart wrenching set backs. "Recovery is not for everyone, Walter. " I was reminded of that tonight when I shared the information of the relapse of those women. It particularly disturbs me because women relapsed. It is harder for them when they relapse and predators are waiting for them to gain sexual services for a few dollars.

I am lucky. The virtual world has enabled me to see words of support from people and those words of support help me push on and comfort me. A man wrote that he will always be back my side. Paul sends a nice letter to his colleagues about me.

Those words help me to keep fighting. I must not forget the horrors of this place.

I must go. I will walk my friend to the bus stop. Afterwards, I will try to find one of the women who relapsed. Maybe I can convince her to go to a program. She came so far.

Good night.

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