I Flip The script, Some Call Me A SurvivorI hesitated to join this experinece group and then once I joined it the thought of posting a story for it was even more detestable to my sensibilities. However, upon reflection and some brutallly honest processing and searching with in I decided it is what it is. I have lived a high risk lifestyle for many of my 30 years on this earth and for whatever reason in the big scheme of things I came out of it remarkabley well. Now to be clear i do not take all the credit for this, and as mentioned hesitated to write this as it is not my nature to be in the spotlight, and I don't write for shock effect or sympathy, but I had the foresight to see that these 3 things are almost inevitable if I am to write this and give a clear illustration of my experience. I also feel it important to clarify that when I say " came out of it remarkabley well" I am figuratively speaking for one I live with the consequences and many of them will plague me for life, and the process of coming out of it is on going, so more accurately I am a work in progress and I face challenges like anbody, but yes, in the overall picture considering everything I am a survivor. As mentioned this is all not my doing, some of it is just plain luck, the right confluence of events and things went my way, some of it people helped me, but most of it I was on my own and I survived due to the choices and actions I took.
SO I spoke of a high risk lifestyle, well for me this was a smorgasboard of active addiction, crime, violence, sex with multiple partners at times unprotected, jails, institutions, self harming, suicide attempts. Because of the fact that since I was born I have come face to face with the worst that humanity has to offer I'm a , private, discrete, modest person, I can't stand to be vulnerable. The smorgasboard I just spoke of was general terms and I will go into more depth on some of them, I am able to do this here because I am doing a lot of work on myself at this time and naturally because I write under the cloak of anonymity and privacy that the internet provides us. I write because maybe , just maybe the next time someone steps over the person huddling in the nook of a building,cold,alone,nowhere to go, you might unglue your eyes from the text your writing on your $500 iphone and maybe acknowledge that there lies a person, a human being. A son, a daughter, a mother, a father. They werent always like that. Dont get me wrong , Im not some bleeding heart. Im not proposing that you dont desrve that iphone. We all make choices, take action , jump through the hoops placed in front us to get where we are today. However not all of us where dealt the same hand of cards. Some of us huddled in a corner, in the place most of us feel secure and safe called home. I huddled in that corner, full of fear, confused, ashamed, and humiliated as blow after blow from the leather belt, held firm and steady by my dad, unleashed its fury. The leather belt stings my 4 year old flesh. This is usually the end of the beating, the grande finale. How did I get to this place? What was my crime? My mom was having a quiet , affectionate moment with me. My mom hugs me just as my father walks in the room.. As he approaches I know that look in his eye, I have seen this look in his face many times and the end result is always a beating of some sort, and this time is no different, as I'm whipped with a belt as my mom shrieks for him to stop to no avail.
The above incident was just one of a daily variety of violence, humiliation, and trauma that I lived through. As I sit and write this Im in a residential treatment centre. Its a good place and they try to help me with my addiction to heroin and cocaine, and I have a mental health team at my disposal. I started doing heroin and crack cocaine at 14 years old. the moment i did it all the hurt, shame, feelings that I desrved to be beat because my dad was trying to teach me and I was a burden, for a brief moment didnt flood my mind. I had no understanding at that age of the full ramifacations of my actions. i strated cutting as a teen. the first time was with a dull pair of scissors. I cut into my wrists trying to kill myself but then something happened. I got this momentary release. Ever since then whenever I feel overwhelmed I sit in the dark. Im stressed and depressed. Thoughts of your a burden,a worthless drug addict, if you werent born your dad wouldnt have beat your mom. Even though Im frazzled, my hand is steady as I grip the razor. I cut into my skin. A warm wave rushes through my body, cold cill runs up my spine. I cut again, even deeper because I desrve to suffer. Im an addict, with mental health issues. Borderlne personality disorder, psychosis,depression. The deeper I cut the more my pulse and breathing quiken. Oh it hurts, but it feels good. My mental Health workers want me to talk about the cutting and the voices I sometimes hear when having a psychotic break down. Im not always like this. I have my moments of clarity. I wont talk about it because I m full of shame and embarreaassment. So I suffer in silence. Ive met some good people of late, people who give of themselves without expecting anything in return. So as they say''Here I stand at the turning point' Im told its a borderline trait to resist help. I just cant fathom why someone would care, why someone would want to help me. Who am I? Iam nothing, nobody. Someone said I may be able to reach people some people cant. I dont know about this. What I do know is at htis moment I refuse to apologize for who I am. Im a brother, A son, An uncle, A human being. Ive been that person huddled in the street , suffering in silence, body going through withdrawls because I havent got my first fix. I have dreams to. I have hopes. Its hard to think of them because they seem so far, so daunting, so hopeless.
So just a snap shot of years of abuse as a child, active addiction and some of the consequences of it, I didn't delve into the crime aspect to much, mainly because it is not my intention to glorify any of this and it is hard to write about a specific crime with out kind of glamourizing it, at least for me. Even today the thought of most of it gets my blood pressure rising, I find it exciting and freeing in a weird way. BUt despite this some of the things I learned and the skills I honed while living on the streets and doing most of the usual hustling involved with survuving on the streets and being on drugs and in that world today are cross tranferable skills. In a way this is probably the biggest way I am a survivor, asides from the fact that physically i am here unscathed in a physical sense, but I also came out of it all with no diseases, no hep c, no hiv, no std's, and most of all some very useful skills. ON the streets you have to make choices, you face dangerous, fast moving situations, you have to read people on what most woudl deem very little information to go on, but I had to ascertain what a persons motives, what there intentions were regarding me and the margin of error is so small, my safety was at stake. So today I am still very good at reading people, this is such a saver of avoidable drama and dangerous situations, it keeps me safe. I actually just this week had a situation where this person told me some bogus story that to most would be plausible, but because of knowing the system, and from living in a world where anything goes I could see right through it. See most people they want to trust, it is natural but for me if it doesn't make sense then 99.9% of the time it is because it is not so, and I have learnt that the hard way. I also am blessed to be quick on my feet, that is to say that i know how to talk to people, living how i lived you learn how to talk, yes in that life I used it to manipulate, hustle people, etc. but today I am thanksful for this skill and I utilize it to get on in the world we live where communication and impressions are so crucial, we live in the age of social media, never has there been so many methods of communicating. Anyways this has been a long story and I am not going to give any more exact examples of what I gained from my life, I think most will get the picture.
That is that I I have lived through quite a bit in my 30 years, some of it not my fault, some of it due to my choices. Regardless I made it through, and I thank God that I am the person I am today as a result, because I am what I am today in large part due to what I have seen, experienced, felt, worked my way through.
Maybe one day I will be able to use the misery Ive lived to help those who suffer in silence and those who yell for help from the top of their lungs. Maybe one day I will find aomebody who shows me unconditional love and loves me for me. Battle wounds, issues and all. Im tired of fighting, Im tired of hiding. I dont plan to far in the future because Im skeptical there's a future for me. But as of know I refuse to apologize for who I am. I am many things to different people.I hope for the 'serenity to accept the things that i can not change, the courage to change the things I can, the wisdom to know the difference, to live one day at a time,enjoying one moment at a time.They say we dont change when we see the light, we only change when we feel the heat. I hope from this story that you feel the heat????