Saturday, March 12, 2016

My Past is History

Currently, I am propped up on my bed. I have a pillow on my lap to keep my chromebook from feeling like it is going to sear the flesh off my legs with it's toaster like heat after an hour or so of browsing the internet. My 12 year old black lab mix Sadie is curled up next to me on the dog bed we probably should have thrown out a few years ago after she tore the stuffing out of it. She is too tired for these kinds of play now. She likes to rest near me, my constant companion for most of her life. She was rescued from a crackhouse just like me. My old cat is a few feet ahead of me. He doesn't know it yet but he is heading for the oncologist in a few days. The last surgery for a tumor on his side was unsuccessful. He is not yet 14. I have to say, I am not ready to let him go. My daughter is rustling around in her chemistry kit in the next room. When the chemistry kit mentioned "ice cream" as an experiment, she is now all about being a junior scientist. I hope she keeps with it.

My life seems pretty normal this morning. This is in stark contrast from where I came from.

 The other morning, a friend of mine were swapping stories from our past. She was telling me about a little "ho stroll" she used to know right off of MLK BLVD in Oakland. There is a tiny strip where African American Trans women like herself would work as sex workers. There was a section of road right off the highway that lead to a cheap hotel. The girls would come dressed in the male attire because the risk of being themselves in their daily life was too great. They would switch into heels, panties, and maybe some lipstick in the bushes. She described their legs as "rusty" and the johns sometimes would specifically look for a hit of whiskers to make sure the sex worker had the "equipment" they needed. Dates would be turned for $15-20. Condoms were few and the risks of violence or disease were plenty. Young "thugs" would come in from the city. They would signal out from the bushes to come closer. They were looking for some quick sex on the downlow while they project their hatred of "faggots" in when the street lights are turned off and the sun rises to hide all of the things that happen in a place like this. There is the intersection of illusion, seduction, and self hatred. There are places like this in every city. Places we pass in the daytime and never give a second glance.

I was telling her about the men who would come to the city with their briefcases and their hidden habits. "hey you, come here..." they would tell me from a few building away. They would hide their cars and their identities. Their wallets would be locked in the glovebox which was locked in a parking garage a few blocks away from the trap houses and dope spots. "Can you get me something?" they would ask "You got a place?" would be a second request. They would never want to bring dirt like myself on top of the shag carpet of their own places. They would never want me to see the pictures of their shy girlfriends of the smiling t-ball pictures of their son that hung over the table just inside the front door. He would lay his keys there before he bounded through the doorway. He wanted those tight hugs that told him he was alright after leaving a person like myself in a place like this. He needed his dope and he needed me to get it. His tie was off to the side and the sweat let me know the sickness was in full effect. "Will you help me?" Of course baby. I will help you. I will tie off your arm and cop your dope and let you use my room. I will make sure you are never soiled by my troubles. I will never let you see my junkie tears. I will take your money, get whatever is I need, and pass on the rest. Because these are the places we pass in the daytime. Never giving a thought to what is happening inside.

My past- my past is history- yet no matter how many days have elapsed people like myself are left to carry around those memories. I feel fortunate when I can get together with someone and swap stories. Not because I want to go back to that place but because there are so few people that can truly understand what I have seen. The underbelly of society is rich with sights and sounds that stay with you for a lifetime. My cat, my dog, and my cushy life don't erase that.

I get a lot of criticism- why can't you just let that part of your life go? Because, it will never leave me. It is a part of me that keep me real. And I won't be ashamed of it. Not one little bit. I can't change it. Why let it eat me alive?

I hope that you can learn to accept your past today.
I hope that you can accept yourself today.
Love XOXO tracey.


9 comments:

  1. After 33 years of opiate addiction, I got clean and have stayed clean thanks to Suboxone. It's been almost 3 years now, three years living sober and actually enjoying life instead of just existing from one high to the next. I thought I was a hopeless addict, and had long resigned myself to just accepting my fate, and maintaining my habit. Never did I think it possible that I would be able to change. Reading your blog entry, I was struck by the comments about the underbelly of everyday society, and what goes on unseen, and hidden. Although I function well in "normal" life, those that inhabit the dark side are the ones that I was most comfortable with. I liked those people, the ones that would rob you while smiling at you, the ones that would call you first when they scored if they knew you were hurting, the unspoken code of accepting you regardless of how you managed to get high that day, the intimacy of strangers with nothing in common but salvation at the end of a needle. I miss those people. Sometimes they were unwashed, other times they were Supermen, and at all times their eyes told me everything I needed to know. Four months after starting the Suboxone, I came home for the first time in 22 years; gathering up a starving American Bulldog along the way. Nowadays, just like your dog, she is my constant companion, and a reflection of myself in that we have both came a long way. I spend the majority of my time online, browsing and paying attention to whatever grabs my eye. Tonight it was your AMA, and then, your blog. My past is never a topic of discussion with my family, nor am I in contact with anyone from back then. There has never been anyone to share my recovery with, or vice-versa. In a way that you might not expect, reading your answers and your blog entry somehow validated not only my own days of existing on a roller-coaster, but also my pleasure and relief at being lucky enough to survive it all, and return to where I began; entirely intact.

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    1. Wow this is fucking awesome. Thank you for sharing

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    1. Thanks for following my story. I write and talk about personal stuff in hopes it might help someone else. I hope you enjoy the book

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  3. I know this is an older post but Damn Grrl! U hit it perfect when u said u don't want to go back but refuse to behave like that was never part of your story! I am the kind,compassionate person people know today because if the horrors I have lived, the things I cannot under and mostly as I made it out alive! I'm much in agreement with u about hitting bottom being BS and that total soberity is NOT the only way. We need more compassion and mercy for other people. Thankyou Tracey for ALL u do and for keeping it REAL

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