Feels Like A Lifetime...

I've been away for a while and a gnawing guilt eats at me. Why? Cause I understand that in these pages lies something deeper than even I can phathom.
But life shows up. And considering I practice being responsible, daily, I must respond accordingly. One of life's responses was welcoming into this world my first grandchild.
Yes. When I mention this chills cover my skin. Will that ever stop?

Anyway, like I was saying, I must write. I must. On this vehicle of communication is the opportunity to speak about things that, in general, most people don't even want to hear. But, I get that though.

Like the other day I was taking the kids on a nature hike behing the house. Man, we saw cotton-tail rabbits, quail and a very-long-snake leisurely crossing the trail. It was a very startling sight to the children. Some with fascination and some with fear. But it was the next thing I saw that caused my stomach to flip. After the, "eewww" and the "wows" over the snake, we came upon a camp, obvious even to the smallest child, that once belonged to someone homeless. And I saw myself.

I saw a filthy mattress and discarded cans of some food. I saw a chair that no one would sit and blankets, crusty, that smelled from the distance I stood. A backpack and clothes with more dirt than the original cloth it was made with. I saw a place where someone lonely and hurting and full of shamed slepted. Someone who disappointed loved ones and sabotaged every success that came their way. A person that the only thing they knew about hope, was the way it was spelled. I saw myself. And I was startled as if a venemous snake was thrust in my face. I had almost forgotten what it looked like to see such pitiful living quarters. It felt like a lifetime ago.

I mean I'm holding grandbaby's now and doing home improvement. I'm working all day and filling in wherever my family needs me to. How could I've forgotten about a life I lived longer than the life I live now? Well, I guess (actually I know!) that God is very good and He gives what is needed exactly when it is needed. Cause it brought me back to these pages. Writing about things that I need to write about. So I'll never forget about feeling the way I used to... and the places I never again want to go.

Ain't No Stopping Me Now!

I can remember walking in 100 degree heat, dehydrated, desolate and dejected, on my way (with a purpose, mind you) to meet my connection to get my drugs. Or was it raining like cats and dogs? Or was it cold? I guess, if I remember correctly, or document it "honestly", that,  it didn't matter what the condition of the weather was like. I went to get my drugs, to get high, no matter what! The cops could be making circles like sharks. Mexican gangs could be on the look out for any suspicious black male. (by the way, I am black - or so I am told - and I looked suspicious quite often)
I was there.  For many, many years, I was right there. My whole world and my every intent, was just to get high.

I guess that's why today, when an obstacle comes my way, no matter how big or small, I'm ready. Cause nothing stopped me from getting high. And today, nothing is going to stop me from succeeding. Whenever I even begin to think I can't, I just remember all those times when my feet were hurting, or when I was cold or hungry or in pain and I walked to retrieve things that ultimately destroyed my quality of life.
 Destroyed my life.
Today? Man, I have no problem getting up and doing. Whatever it is. I am so proud of the people in my life and the ones that love me,  that my every waking hour is dedicated to doing what I have to do. Once upon a time I walked for all things dark...Now I walk for God. It's a lot easier and a lot more rewarding than the person I used to walk for.

It wasn't that long ago...Part 1

It's early in the morning and I can hear the noise of the 405 fwy traffic getting louder with large trucks and speeding cars. My alarm clock, I guess,  so to speak. My body aches from the hardness of the ground slept on.  But, at least this morning, I am not as cold as other mornings. Yesterday, a man came and gave me a sleeping bag and a five dollar bill. When he gave it to me he said, " Jesus Loves You". Inspite of my situation, I believe he does.
Upon my waking I remember I have five dollars in my pocket. Cool! I can get a beer and something to eat. Then, off to start another day of hustling. I put on my shoes and move a little ways from my camp to pee. Looking around as I relieve myself, I think of how beautiful the side of the freeway is. Large trees, foilage of all types. Too bad the beauty I saw was external, only.
 Glad to be awake, yet carrying sorrow inside, I get back to camp and pull out of my back-pack a bottle of water, a wash cloth, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste. It is my attempt to look as normal as anyone else. But, when you look at me, you can still tell that I'm on the streets. I'm under weight and the look in my eyes tell a story of hurt, guilt and shame.
I check my belongings in my back-pack, put it on and carefully walk out of the side of the 405 fwy ( offramp Roscoe Blvd North ) I have to. Cause if I am spotted by a California Highway Patrol, I will get a ticket for trespassing on State Property and most likely go to jail for being on parole.
Making it out safely (I have never been stopped by Police) I tend to keep my head slanted at a downward angle or just pretend to be looking in my back-pack or whatever, just not to catch the eye of the motorist coming off the freeway going to work or wherever the hell they're going. Their eyes say to me why? What are you doing? Why are you coming from back there? Are you dangerous? Are you crazy? Their eyes ask of me questions I'm not willing or able to ask myself. So I walk and I keep my head down and I pray for no Highway Patrols and I avoid their eyes...and the questions they ask.

These type of experiences were not that long ago...Less than a year, actually. Sometimes  it"s easy to share the things I've been through and sometimes it's not. But I share because I believe I have to. My sanity depends on it. So, come back and find out the things I had to do in a day to survive living on the streets.

If there is any who liked this post, for whatever reason, please leave a comment. Would love to hear from you. God bless.

Remember the Pain...

Pain is like history. If we forget, we are doomed to repeat. So I remember the pain. Not out of some morbid fascination, but from understanding myself. You see,  if I forget how humiliating it is to be in jail and have a Sheriff's Deputy look up my butt with a flash-light, it'll happen again. If I forget how desolate I felt when my son sent me a letter asking me how could I choose drugs over him, I will be desolate again. To forget how alone and hopeless it is walking the streets with no where to go and no way to get there. To use all of my waking energy just to acquire a drug in order to achieve a high that no longer covered the hurt. If I forget the loss of careers, marriage melt-downs, prison riots, police-raids, fatherlessness, lack of being a father, the lying, stealing, betraying, abyss embracing activity, I will once again become a prisoner to the same circumstances and repeat the same insane things. I remember the pain because I have to.
I have to. The alternative from me not doing so would put me back in places I refuse to ever go again. I have so much to live for, so many people I love. There are things I want to do with the time I have left on this planet. And today pain is my friend. Why? Because it reminds me where I am, where I am going, and where I no longer want to be.

I do not know it all...

I must say to anyone that may take the time to read my postings that, without a doubt, I do not, and will never, know it all. I write because I believe in the power of sharing and the healing it can promote. So, if I say something that you agree or disagree with, that makes you happy or down right pisses you off, let me know...please. Especially if it is something that you believe can help me. Or, possibly, something that I may have said that helped you. However, or whatever, I'm open for imput.

Don't Expect Too Much...

I've been doing my thing for many years. Living my life with selfish intent. How else can I look at it? I abandoned my wife, child, family, careers, even life, for the sake of a high. Because of how something made me feel. (I ain't mad at you if your shaking your head)
But, now I'm back! Same wife, same child - who is a man now - and same family. Hooray! Right? Actually, no. It isn't always hooray. And because of this sometimes I get hurt and frustrated because things aren't the same. May never be the same. And if I keep it real with myself, it is my doing. I did that! Take a bow, this is all my handywork. I cannot blame anyone but myself for the alienation I'm experiencing. All I can do is pray and be consistent and let the love I have for them show in what I do. I cannot expect too much. I need to only be patient and let love be my guide.