This Is What It Feels Like

Part One – Equal Opportunity Punishment

You asked me where I grew up, it’s, it’s hard to tell because at the age of three, four, five, and six, my mother took us to a washateria, two brothers and my sister, saying’ we were going to wash clothes, and then she said she had to go to the store to get some soap, and she never came back. I was four years old at the time. You know, it was pretty rough, you know. It was pretty bad. You know, foster homes, a lot of physical abuse, mental abuse, but I wasn’t just singled out, it was equal opportunity punishment, you know.

I think I was fourteen, was my first hospitalization. When I went to prison my first time I was eighteen. Burglary. Got five years. I did fourteen months. But I never cared, man…I mean… nothin’ man, you know. It’s been in out, in out, in out, since, uh, ’82, up ’til 2014. In out, in out, in out….I was homeless or in prison ten years, you know. And I tell you what, that being homeless man, that’s, I mean, that’s like going’ to prison. It’s a whole ‘other world, man, you know? You gotta deal with a lot of shame and a lot of guilt and dirty looks. You might not eat that day. You might get caught out in the rain, you know, or, you might not have a sleeping’ bag or might get arrested, you know…trespassing. You was always on edge. You know I, I… never could hold my head up, you know, and be proud of anything I did.

Part Two – Is This for Real?

The first place I got help was at CRU, Crisis Residential Unit. And I went and talked to them and I started my meds. They started me on Wellbutrin. And that Wellbutrin, man, it was like my miracle drug, man. But then I found out about Ashley’s House, and I think I was the second one there. And man, they… I mean with open arms dude. I’ve never experienced the feelings that I experienced there. And it was kind of scary, you know? “This for real?” you know. And it is for real, man. These people really cared, you know? And it was scary… and it’s still scary sometimes, you know? Every place I go man, there’s goin’ be them people that show me that is that… it’s like, “Wow” man, you know? This is what it feels like, you know?

Part Three – I Like Who I am Today

I wish you could’ve seen the transformation from last September to now… how far I’ve come, man. I like who I am today. I got a long ways to go… but I got this now. And maybe I can use this as a stepping stone to where I’m trying to get to. I’m glad I’m here, I really am. I resented it for a while there, ‘cause I felt like it was takin’ my freedom away again. But it’s my room, you know? It’s my shower, you know, that’s my refrigerator, you know? If I didn’t have this, I’d probably be in jail right now. I’d say New Hope, is, uh, it’s exactly what it is.

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