Friday, May 13, 2011

REBUILD: Rebuilding My Life Into What?

There's a fine line to walk when you're a journalist and you're involved in a lifestyle that you know nothing about. I am naturally curious. I love understanding people's motivations and for the most part I can tell what people really mean when they say something. It's a gift, I guess.

Tonight I went to the NA meeting that was held for the shelter. Everytime someone walked in I felt bad because I didn't want them to worry that I would report that they were there. I'm not into exposing people's faults. I prefer to glorify their strengths, but most people aren't like that so I am a little wary of other people's feelings.

I hung out with a man from the shelter today. I adore him because he is so sweet to me. Yeah, he's addicted to drugs but he readily admits it. He is consistent with his behavior toward me. He gives more than he asks to borrow. I respect that he is true to himself. I am not attracted to him at all. He's more like one of my older uncles. He never makes passes at me. He doesn't mention dating me. He doesn't make sexual comments. He doesn't want a relationship. That makes me feel comfortable around him because I don't feel like if I don't give him what he's looking for, that he's going to start mistreating me.

The other men who used to be so sweet to me, now completely ignore me. I'm not sure if it's because I moved out into the back of the shelter into a trailor or because I started TELLING them how annoying it was to watch them come back from vending the newspapers, spend the money they made to get high and then ask me for money and shit. That made me want to throw up when I noticed they were doing that and I started saying, "No, I'm not giving you anything. Did you smoke today? I see where your priorities are."

It started to disgust me.

Oh well, you really see a person's character when you have to tell them NO. A person who respects you will respect your decision and not treat you any differently. I have learned not to be upset when men don't treat me the way I think they should. I've learned to just accept that some men do not honor me and that's okay with me. Those men just won't be a part of my life in a consistent way. It's no big deal. Everyone doesn't have to love me.

Today was a positive day for me. I wrote a beautiful editorial. I haven't written like that in a long time. When I was done, I was so spent from polishing and pouring out my heart that I took a nap. I submitted it to our local newspaper but we'll see if they publish it.

Everyday I'm doing that. In addition to trying to find 30 businesses and NOW 30 homeless women to profile, I'm still trying to keep adding editorial to this site and also marketing this project by myself.

I write press releases and letters and now I've started writing articles about what I'm learning about homelessness. This project is NOT about homelessness but the things I'm learning are so interesting that I feel they are compelling to write about.

But no one is interested so far, which speaks volumes in itself. Who wants to think about homelessness? Who wants to even SEE the homeless people on the streets? It scares you. It reminds you that that could have been YOU at some point or that it could be YOU in the future. You don't want it anywhere near your mind when you are relaxing.

I don't have any solutions for homelessness to share so I want to congratulate those who do make an effort to help the issue. One man told me that he has a solution for ex convicts who become homeless. He suggests that every inmate who is about to be released be placed into a work release program which would ease them back into society and also offer them a chance to save money to rent a home once they get out.

I also had a bit of a panic attack today. I can feel the symptoms coming on a lot lately but it's not a full out thing like it used to be when I was interning or when I went to poetry night to perform. I decided that when I get panic attacks it means I am not supposed to be in that environment. Maybe it's time for me to leave here. Maybe there's somewhere else for me to be. I have no idea but the anxiety is kicking in and becoming more intense everyday. Maybe it's because I am a little nervous because the owner of this shelter being so nice to me.

I spoke with my friend Anna about it last night.

"Dawg, I can not believe he has not insulted me once or even disrespected me in any way," I told her. "And now he gives me the use of the trailor so that I can work on my project. I can't handle it. I keep waiting for him to blow up at me or tell me I'm nothing and he hates me."

"Do you think interacting with him has caused you to view men differently?" she asked.

"I think it's changing things a little bit, but my bags aren't unpacked yet. He still has time to decide he hates me and won't support what I'm doing and I think I'll be relieved when he does that."

"Do you think that since you expect it, that will force it to happen?" she asked, subtly reminding me of my truth that my expectations always come to pass.

"Yeah, you're right," I replied, truthfully answering her underlying question. "When we expect things to happen, we tend to perceive any interaction as though our expectation is true. So it may not be that he will show me that he hates me but that I'll end up misinterpreting something he says as though he does. Whenever we expect something to happen, it's because we WANT it to and we won't be relieved until it does."

But I want to experience something different with a man.

I don't know how to accept kindness. I only know to expect rudeness and it always comes.

I made a video today about rebuilding my life. The question kept nagging me all morning so I decided to flip the camera on and talk about it: What am I rebuilding my life into?

Do I really want to go back to what I was doing before?

Does rebuilding my life mean re joining the rat race for shelter?

What can I do that will be different from before when I kept taking low paying jobs like waitressing because I enjoyed the flexibility and I love serving people.

Why are the jobs I love so much, the jobs in public service, so damn low paying?

I don't want to be destitute. I want a home and a nice car and a bank account that overflows and I want to always be able to do nice things for people and to give my sons the best of the best. How can I do that as a waitress? How could I do that working in customer service? How could I do that without giving up my soul and becoming a shell of who I really am to "win" in corporate america?

I don't want to miserable to make money.

I don't want to work in anyone's office and put up with the petty BS that goes on there from people whose insecurities outnumber the file cabinets they mindlessly fill with documents. You work 5 days to recover from it in 2. You HAVE to go get wasted on the weekend so that you can experience some sense of freedom from the brainwashing and phony person you have to be all week just so you can flaunt your toys for people you don't even like.

What kind of mess is that? You end up being a slave to the toys you own. You HAVE to get up everyday just to keep that shiny new car. You HAVE to stay in abusive situations at work, just so you can buy a new dress. That's not life to me. That's hell on earth and I'd rather have NOTHING than live a life of misery like that, playing this fake ass role in some office and having to pretend I value the role.

I can't do it! I've tried!

I studied my counselor's behavior last semester. Yes, I was in counseling and one of the issues i wanted to deal with was my inability to conform. After noticing that my counselor had two personalities that he would slip into without noticing I called him out on it and he said, "It's called adaptability."


So I tried it when I started my internship. I would smile and wave and say, "Everything is great!" when people asked me how things were going.

I hated every minute of that shit and it wasn't the clients. The people I counseled as I began the last leg of my masters degree were awesome and I admired their courage to come and seek help. It was the environment. The silly ass people there.

I never fit in anywhere but I think maybe that's because I'm supposed to do my own thing. But what is that? I don't think I'll find it in an office.

Just the thought of rebuilding my life and going back to that makes me ill.



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