(The following piece is published in Megaphone's special literary issue, Voices of the Street. Megaphone is hosting an official launch for this issue tonight at the Waldorf Hotel - 1489 E. Hastings from 8-10 p.m.)
My day started the day before yesterday. Figure that one out.
My friend Carrie, whom I met as a working girl on the same Hastings Street as me, came to pick me up to go shopping. She is brutally honest and just beautifully proud to be who she is.
I have never been able to keep money without spending it all. Carrie and I decided to go shopping together to support each other. We went to the dollar store. The whole time all I could think about was how I needed dope and wondering if she was thinking the same thing. If she was thinking about it, she never told me.
We went to Army and Navy then back to Detox, still sober. I went to my room and then that same old feeling crept up on me again. I took one look at all the stuff I had bought and I was out of there, back to the street, same old thing. I thought “I’ll just do one, no one will know.”
Ya right, me lie about being high? How will I ever get better lying to staff and myself?
Anyway, the evil within won the fight. Off I went to get high. In the end, I was left alone with no money. I passed out sobbing myself to sleep.
When I woke up, my friend Carrie came to my room and smoked a joint. Carrie plays that song, it’s amazing and I start to cry listening to the words. I asked her to turn it down. She wipes a tear from my face and tells me, “Kristy, it’s okay to feel.” I said it hurts too much to feel, that’s why we use it: hurts to feel.
I still hurt as we walk the six blocks to Carrie’s bank. As we are getting close I ask myself, why not ask to go back up and see if they’ll give me a second chance? I tell Carrie that I’m going to try to get in and that if I wasn’t outside when she got back then it meant I got in.
As I walk in the doors of Insite, my tears are welling up in my eyes. I am scared to ask. What if they say no? I am scared; it’s like every emotion hitting me at once. When am I ever going to just live, not just suffer?
I heard a saying once: in order to survive, you must first suffer. Sounds stupid, but it is true. A woman must first feel the pain of childbirth. And that is pain.
I am now upstairs. I look around at everyone, thinking I can’t live like this anymore. Because under the dirty nails and the urine smelling up close and a big shopping cart full of garbage there’s a hurt, loving father mother brother sister aunt uncle. We all suffer the pain. This is why we used: to get unsick or so high you can’t feel a thing.
Here we sit waiting to get into Insite to be normal again. We are poisoned by the devil’s dandruff.
Today I chose to feel the pain of loss and the gut wrenching guilt of not being there to raise my kid. The pain of being used as a good for nothing junkie.
I want or wanted Either way I want To scream I am A mother too and a Damn good one.
I may be a junkie, but the difference is I know choose to suffer the guilt and the pain so that one day I will be able to say, “I’m a survivor.”
Photo by Sandra Czechaczek, courtesy of Hope in Shadows.