Saturday, April 26, 2008

STephen Carter and the LA Woman

On Thursday, April 3, 2008, I posted a blog. I just re read it. I JUST noticed that it has no title. I did not change it. I title posts based on the theme and the moment. I have lost the moment. Yet I have gained perspective.

I reread it because someone said "you have the right idea. Keep writing." I pay attention to every thing that this woman says. Everything. I study every thing that she says. Her words and phrases, severally and jointly have a plethora of meanings.

I have read that comment many times. Today was the first time I reread the post. I needed to know what my state of mind was when I wrote it. I needed to understand what she sees or the direction she sees me going.

I knew today I was going to write about the subject matter that I will start shortly however I did not realize it was an extension of that post on April 3.

Last week I finished my real estate requirements and also was granted a further modification that will allow me to visit my mother. I am no longer concerned that the court know, RIGHT NOW, that I had done nothing. It will happen. When it happens it will mean more than it would have at any other time.

"Are you satisfied, at this moment, with the arrangementsto see your mom?" "Yes", I said. And that yes, said alot. IT said alot about a great deal of growth that has taken place and the long process and different levels of the process of which I have experienced. I commented to the judge later, "I have learned a bit about waiting and patience". "Yes", he said. "I have noticed".

And this growth process is continuing.

This morning I read more of the novel,"emperor of Ocean Park", by Stephen L. Carter.

Stephen Carter and I have never met.Yet, I saw his picture in the Yale University website and knew, immediately, that I have seen him before. He does not know my name. Yet, we know so many people in common. We share so many experiences. We share the same insights and he is helping me articulate those insights with honesty. Some times that honesty is about honesty itself.

Ah, honesty. I remember the first time my photo critic and mentor, of sorts, mentioned the subject of honesty to me. it was in one of her comments after I mentioned to a prospective employer about my past. She wrote a statement about in response to my comment about feeling stupid about being so honest. Though I never would have been dishonest, her level of morality clearly is that omission of facts is dishonest or at the very least warrants caution from others in trusting the person that does the omission.

If you recall, I said in the early days of my blog that I would become more honest as I became more comfortable with the actual behavior. I believe most people thought I was referring to the events that brought me to Skid Row. If that were the case, that is far from the truth. To what I was referring was the honesty with self about things so private and/or embarrassing to admit to oneself that may not be politically correct but are very true-the things we like but shouldnt.

For most people, these battles with self have been life long wars within their own private sanctums of hell. Stephen Carter has been pondering certain truths for a long time. He is obviously comfortable with them and it shows that he has struggled with understanding them for a long time because he is able to partition them and integrate them in their collective relevance and germaneness as certain phenomenon impact our thoughts, selections, behaviors and self freedoms.

I was not able to harness these issues to any kind of proficiency. That is why he is a professor and I ended up abusing substances.

I started winning my battles and life long wars and, eventually, ended my war with drugs, and self successfully.

Last week marked the end of a couple of struggles, and the birth of new freedoms. It marks the beginning of being honest about things to self on a wider basis. The things that I want to be honest about are the very things with which people struggle on a daily basis. Societal issue and expectations. Peer pressure that is so insidious that it affects us in our sleep.

I always felt that my experience from going to going to certain schools also had certain realities that few experience in some ways but we all experience in more generic ways. I believe that my experience of transcending socioeconomic and cultural boundaries all of my life had a body of knowledge and insights that came with it that were valuable. However, the most important thing about sharing and imparting insights is honesty. And the only way to get people to be honest with themselves is to be honest about the same issues with oneself and be fearless in sharing that honesty. Though, I will admit that there is much fear in getting to certain plateaus of being......

I believe Stephen L. Carter has taken me to the next step. He is the only man or woman who is discussing the unmentionables that people do not want to admit that exist within them. Particularly the black middle and upper middle classes.

For instance, I can now say that I loved going to a very exclusive private school and ivy league university. I loved being around the power brokers and successful people. I loved the benefits. And yet I hated that elitistpart of me. It does have an imprisoning effect on one. I think the freedom comes from admitting that it is inside of me. I think it is in everyone, these kinds of conflicts. These kinds of conflicts are in those that have the most education and autonomy. Black and white. Prejudices. And yet we do everything and believe in the RIGHT way to think as well.

We live the right things as well. We treat people as equals. equals in all kinds of areas. and we believe what we think. that is the good part. The imprisoning part is the part, where in the privacy of our souls and thoughts, we say, to ourselves " I am glad I am not like that". Or we become judgemental and myopic and less understanding because we truly DO NOT KNOW what it is to be truly understanding and we seek to know and feel. That is why you have people on Skid Row who stand in the soup lines and serve those that are less fortunate. And yet, in ways that it is hard for some to understand, with all of their struggles, they are more fortunate than we because they have no masks. They have a true lens in their life.

That is what I meant by the University of Skid Row. It is indeed a place where you learn more about yourself than anything else.

I am reading his book and it is an affirmation of all of my life.

I am beginning to believe that my being honest with drugs in my blog was a prelude to being honest about so many other things that need to be brought out.

I think Skid Row has taught me so much. I believe it is healing me in so many ways. IT has made me stronger.

I will write Stephen Carter. He has drawn me in and we were already on the same boat that has sailed around in our perspectives all of my life.

I am his friend already. I want him to choose me to be his friend. There is no doubt that we know so many of the same people. The fact is that may not be a ticket of acceptance. Knowing the same people does not mean that they may share the same degree of honesty and self honesty. These things are hard to come by in self.

I will write Professor Carter soon. It is funny that I will take days to draft a letter that comes from the heart. It will be something. It is funny that his work drew me in from the very beginning. Then he talked of a character that went to Penn and was on the tennis team. And I was the first black that played on Penn's tennis team. I must share information of understanding without it sounding like I am trying to impress. He knows that so many will say things for that purpose of climbing on the status ladder.

Yes, LA woman. Maybe I am on the right path. I do know that my life is changing and perhaps I am free and healthy enough to finally become a scholar of sorts.

With you and others as well as Stephen Carter teaching me, I have committed to learning more about the discipline of writing. I bought a book by walter mosley on how to write a novel. Thanks stephen carter.

I will keep writing. I am going now back to my dorm. I like being alone to study. Of course I mean my dorm room at the University of Skid Row. I have some learning to do.

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