It is about 8:30 in the morning on Friday, May 23.
It is quiet as I sit in the room and begin this post to you. It has been a long time since I blogged in the morning. When I first started blogging, I was relentless in getting to Chrysalis each morning at 8am. I wanted to make sure I was able to secure a computer. There was one on the second floor where I live but it was erratic and would cut off unexpectedly. I mentioned many times how I had to repeat a posting several times. I was determined that nothing was going to stop me.
At Chrysalis, in the morning, coffee is made available for the clients and people who are in the office. Many of the people are homeless and drink the coffee to keep warm and seek a respite from the streets. Everyone stands in a line to sign their name to avail themselves of the services. Invariably someone does not want to follow the rules and when is called back to stand in the line instead of letting him proceed to the coffee, he starts yelling and cursing the staff.
I experienced a lot of anger as a woman was so frustrated that something happened to her possessions where I work. People in this neighborhood are extremely frustrated and angry. They strike out at anything or anybody. Anger fills the air.
Last night two men walked into the place where I work with ugly black eyes. One of them had his arm in a sling. I saw two or three other men with new casts on their arms, a trophy from fighting. Casts on arms are common as men brake their hands all of the time from fighting or just hitting walls out of frustration.
I enjoy sitting here and blogging because it lets me get away from the anger. I am learning how being around this much anger is stressful.
Two nights ago, a man tells a seven month pregnant woman that he will slit her throat if she does not follow his orders. Five minutes later he speaks to her softly, asking her if she wants something to eat. I look at it in total bewilderment.
My new computer affords me the opportunity to stay away from all of that as much as possible and go inward to hear my heartbeat. It fascinates to hear what it is telling me.
Many times I have said how much Skid Row is a mirror of our society. People here want to feel a part of something. People here have health issues. Our nation has health issues. People in Skid Row are angry. People in the country are angry.
The sources of the anger may differ but it is burried within us and more is piled on every day.
Even Walter Moseley, an accomplished novelist, discussed his anger in his instruction book about writing a novel. He said that each day he becomes angry and if rules where not in place, he would express his anger or act upon it. Fortunately, he said, the laws are a deterrent because he does not want his anger to cost him his freedom.
I worry about our anger. Anger is another description for frustration or fear.
It gets stored up inside of us and many times is not released in a healthy way or it is triggered by something that would not seem to be associated with it or have the power to ignite behavior to express it.
Every day I see it and wonder about it and its crippling effects on us. I believe it has the power to destroy us, like nuclear bomb or terrorist attack.
It is not only dangerous in Skid Row, it is dangerous in otherwise peaceful environments where it springs up unexpectedly--places like Columbine where our teenagers are acting out to being bullied or from other societal malady or Virginia Tech where a person has even more "freedom" to express his anger destructively because he has more latitude, including lenient gun control laws.
It frightens me that there is so much hidden anger amongst us. The visible anger is bad enough. It is ugly. Very ugly. However the more someone yells and screams, I surmise that the person is less likely to pull a trigger or stab someone with a knife.
I talked about Sammny yesterday. He is on one path. Not too long ago, I mentioned how Connie, a student at the STRIVE program overcame so much and has learned how to master some of the applications on the computer. She is very calm. She has found a a great deal of peace. She used to live in the streets, homeless for many years while in her crack addiction. She said she saw so much anger every day and that she swore she would get away from it. She found a way to insulate herself from it physically, and when she could not do that, she discovered how to not let it effect her new happy spirit.
Connie is graduating from the University of Skid Row today. She finished the STRIVE program yesterday and she is leaving and going to another state to live. I am happy for her. For a brief moment I felt she was leaving me behing in this anger but she has taught me not to look at it that way. Also I have had a great deal of experience with people moving on.
But this is different. Connie symbolizes a period in my life on Skid Row. I met her when she started her computer class and she was wondering if she would ever be able to learn any of it. I saw her burning desire to learn. I encouraged her to stay with it.
Connie told me I was a role model for people in the program and those words gave me the strength to keep searching for a job, to keep doing what I had to do to get through the court system. She told me to not be angry about things, just learn from them.
I believe I am. So I am happy for her. I am spending time in my room away from the anger. I am learning how to be gentle with myself as I dig deeper into myself and focusing on the requirements of self development.
It is funny that now I have a pen pal and my pen pal is a respite from this anger. Every morning I used to go to Chrsysalis and the public library to blog. Everyday for 9 months. Every day, my pen pal from Kazahkstan near mongolia, goes to a train station where she can use the old, slow computer so she can write me. She is so open and not scarred by the frustration and anger of people who have little to look forward to in the small towns in her region.
She has this pure, soft gentle spirit that wants to discover the world. I worry about her because she is exploring the world through the internet and in that part of the world there is so much anger and cruelty and the slave trade is a big industry. I do not want her to get tricked by someone on the internet.
But every morning I wake up and see her email to me. it is the first thing I see when I wake up. It is my respite from the anger that I hear outside on the streets of Skid Row. I picture her rushing to get on the computer with fierce determination. She explained her procedures but she did not need to because I am intimately familiar with it. I admire her determination to accomplish her goals.
Listening to her and her gentleness contrasts so much with the anger that I witness every day. I see it on the streets of Skid Row. I see it on the television news.
I see it in our elections. A good percentage of the time we are angry and elect people out of office more than we love the person that is going in to office.
We must find a way to conquer the anger. It is inside all of us. If we do not come up with answers, there will be more shootings and stabbings on the street, more drive by shootings is neighborhoods, more domestic violence, more wars, more Columbines and Virgina Techs.
So, at this time, I am enjoying my time away from all of the chaos that I see and I am able to study these questions on the internet. Anger, what is it?
What is associated with it? Where is it going to lead us as a society? How do we get rid of it?
Anger is a big ingredient in Skid Row. It needs to be illiminated. If the problem can be illiminated here and can be eradicated in our society.