Panic. Feverishly squirming in a seat aboard this metro headed to the courthouse in downtown from West Seattle. Paranoid that everyone on this bus knows that I’ve been up all night smoking PCP, suspicious that there may be a monster in the midst. I can’t stop chewing my nails and if I keep this up I’m going to remove my fingers all together. Breathe. I step off the bus without paying the fare, the driver calls me a useless prick but this is the least of my worries. I’m five hours late for a hearing. I’ve been on probation three years now for various reasons. The latest charge is: Felony taking motor vehicle, eluding the police and getting caught with a bag of heroin. That was back in July. I was supposed to be here at 9am. I am supposed to be clean, but I’m not and couldn’t get out of that filthy apartment on time. I’m never on time. This is a curse. Homelessness and drug addiction go hand in hand and here I am throwing bottles at the world.
The judge takes one look at me and locks me up for wasting the courts time. Violation. She knows I’m a fuck up. She’s known this for years now. Judge Inveen has been presiding over my illustrious career as a drug addict/car thief/ junkie fuck up since 1995. She’s seen and heard every excuse in the book and I was not fooling her again. What’s that old adage? “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” What happens when I fool you twenty times?
I woke up this morning grateful. It’s been fifteen years since I plied myself with any drink or any drugs. Fifteen years since I’ve fallen down drunk, or put a needle into my arm, or shit my pants after a month-long bender consuming acid and cocaine like candy apples at a fair. I woke up this morning with my four-year-old son tapping me on the forehead asking to watch Spiderman. Asking his father, whom he’s never seen in the pits of despair, never seen withdrawing from the world, never seen hopeless and strung out. Simply asking to watch his favorite superhero sling webs around the city catching bad guys. I’m grateful that I get to experience this way of living. I am more grateful than I can even describe.
When I think about that seventeen year old kid, homeless and strung out, fighting every day to survive in a harsh world that has forgotten him, I am reminded that there are still people out there, boys and girls who still struggle with the seemingly insurmountable hopelessness of drug addiction. I am reminded of the reality that could still be my life. I could be in prison, or some fucked up institution or even worse… Dead.
I’m reminded every day that this treasurable time we have on earth is too diminutive, it’s much too precious to squander living in the selfish and fucked up way in which I had grown accustomed to so many years ago. I hug my son every morning before I take him to pre-school and tell him that I love him more than anything. I tell him that he is my favorite creation, that he’s the best piece of art I have ever received. Sometimes he looks at me like I am crazy, but someday he’ll understand.
I panic sometimes thinking of how this life I get the privilege to live, almost never was. How close I came to becoming a shitty statistic the consequences of my own terrible actions. But I am always reassured that if I stay the course, if I make the conscious choice every day to stay sober, well, the sky is the limit and I can live any adventure I choose and leave a legacy that I am proud of.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last decade and a half. Thank you all a million times.
All my love
*Photo 1999, taken by the county jail after the cops beat me up*
"Don’t be defined by your condition" often seems to mean "pretend your condition doesn’t shape your life or else".
"Don’t let [traumatic life-altering event that causes long-term emotional, mental, and physical health problems] define you" often seems to mean "stop talking about [traumatic life-altering event] and pretend it never happened and doesn’t shape your life or else".
This is an important point.
alright you guys have posted some pretty bad jokes on here but not one comes close to this doozy
so there’s a far-off place that consists of a perfectly triangular lake surrounded by land, with three kingdoms on the three sides of the lake. the first kingdom is rich and powerful, filled with wealthy, prosperous people. the second kingdom is more humble, but has its fair share of wealth and power, too. the third kingdom is struggling and poor, and barely has an army.
the kingdoms eventually go to war over control of the lake, as it’s a valuable resource to have. the first kingdom sends 100 of their finest knights, clad in the best armor and each with their own personal squire. the second kingdom sends 50 of their knights, with fine leather armor and a few dozen squires of their own. the third kingdom sends their one and only knight, an elderly warrior who has long since passed his prime, with his own personal squire.
the night before the big battle, the knights in the first kingdom drink and make merry, partying into the late hours of the night. the knights in the second kingdom aren’t as well off, but have their own supply of grog and also drink late into the night.
in the third camp, the faithful squire gets a rope and slings it over the branch of a tall tree, making a noose, and hangs a pot from it. he fills the pot with stew and has a humble dinner with the old knight.
the next morning, the knights in the first two kingdoms are hung over and unable to fight, while the knight in the third kingdom is old and weary, unable to get up. in place of the knights, the squires from all three kingdoms go and fight. the battle lasts long into the night, but by the time the dust settled, only one squire was left standing - the squire from the third kingdom.
and it just goes to show you that the squire of the high pot and noose is equal to the sum of the squires of the other two sides