The other night as I couldn’t sleep, I perused Netflix to find a movie that I felt like watching. Acts of Worship’s little blurb held my attention – an indie drama set in NYC’s lower east side and thought VOILA!! Alphabet city, one of my old haunts, I didn’t take the time to read the reviews, just forged ahead into the movie. What a movie it was/is…at first I just watched the pavements I had pounded cross the screen, then as I was pulled into Alix’s world, my heart was torn asunder by the trials and tribulations of the her life on the streets which reminded me so much of myself, it peeled the layers of my soul wide open, exposing the sensitive nerves. I went back in time, reviewing the movie and thinking of my life, watching it through the eyes of a different person, the woman I have evolved into, as opposed to the eyes and heart of a young wounded child.
Did I really conquer all of those obstacles with only the assistance of Great Spirit and gentle angels along the way? Did I really stop drugs cold turkey, was I really the girl who almost overdosed when I was 17. I watched Alix smoke pain pills in a stem and had forgotten the name of the name of paraphernalia. I had stepped away from it all; I didn’t remember that you could burn your fingers from holding a stem. I had forgotten the lingo… two Loosies, a screen, and a stem. It all rushed back to me, overtaking my emotions, submerging me deep in the past. The past is said to be useful and instrumental for learning. What am I supposed to learn from remembering? Am I to understand how far I’ve come, and how hard I can be on myself because I’ve never valued money? I’ve always gauged my success on the fact that I walked away from that life without looking back, so successfully in fact the memories didn’t surface until I watched the movie. Was it wrong of me to forget, or am I to be doing more in this world, paying my lessons forward.
I thought by having my children, and raising them to honor their own lives and cherish each other no matter what obstacles we faced, it was enough. Well maybe not enough but a damn good start. It was surreal to listen to Alix’s words… ‘I would do anything to stop the pain, anything to ease the big gaping hole inside’ I used to feel that way, I used to be that person, I knew the streets the way a coach potato knows the fall lineup, I knew where to go to get clothes, where to get food, the meet up spot for my group, who was in lock up, who was in what group home, and I knew with all certainty that no matter how long anyone in the group managed to spend in one place, we could always see a familiar face on the doo-wop (42th street and 8th avenue), I knew which one of my friends were working the streets, and Goddess, Universe be blessed, I never succumbed to that life for easy money, I looked enough like everyone’s little sister that I was always given free drugs, an every now and then bed, but looking like everyone’s little sister didn’t prevent the predators from getting their hands on me. It seems like another life, as I sit here and type this, it feels as though I am writing this about someone else, and yet I know it’s me. I am that little girl. She has found her home inside me. I know no matter WHAT happens, all the trivial crap that goes on in life CANNOT break me.
I think I’m the last one of my group alive. That makes me sad, and makes me want to help young people who think that all adults don’t understand. I understand. I know what’s its like. I’m sure I will write more about this, I haven’t purged it all, so I’ll call this part one. This is dedicated to the kids at under 21/Covenant House, The Door, Bushwick home for Girls, Mt. Loretta (in Staten Island), to April, Harry, Cookie, Gabriel (RIP), Connie, Crazy, Danny (I’ve looked for you hunnie xoxo), Traci (I love you), Officer Joseph Gonzolez, of the Port Authority Youth Division… I’m STILL HERE GONZI…some people stay in your heart forever no matter where they are, and I will keep on loving and living while I have breath and will NEVER GIVE UP. I am GRATEFUL FOR LIFE, because I almost didn’t make it.