Society is closed off. Millions of humans suppressing emotions. Mental health a concern. Drugs an epidemic. I try to make points of "Full Transparency" in life, especially with meaningful relationships whether platonic or romantic. Sometimes it does fall on deaf ears.
When I first met her it was within one of the organizations I volunteer with. I work with a few throughout Los Angeles, from children involved in the foster system to keeping some senior citizens company, as well as dogs and various homeless youth/outreach organizations. To continue #FullTransparency, this volunteer shit is an attempt to accept that if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I can be okay with my direct contribution to the human race since I lack an ability with my own family. That is immediate. It does not mean I am NOT working on balancing it - I am just aware of the immediate.
So back to it: I met her while volunteering one morning. She was working as an intern. She was gentle and approachable while still assertive as she walked through skidrow. As everyone got to know one another, she talked of school, of living in Los Angeles, of her family. As months passed, while I did not see her volunteer, I would see her at a local supermarket that she worked and frequented. Friendly conversation would pass as my groceries slid across the belt and I would always end wishing her the best in school and hoping to see her at the next volunteer event.
Every time I walk the streets of Hollywood, I shut off. Its essentially a meeting with myself. I go through my day, whats ahead, what I recently fucked up on. A few days ago, as I began to prepare a concert in my mind, a familiar voice said hello and stopped me. It was her. She was dressed as a young professional, very different than her normal super market nametag and grey shirt.
I tell her she looks like she should be over on wallstreet but not like a douchebag, to which she nervously chuckled. As we dive into work she tells me that she was fired from the super market...."relapse", she says.
She is afraid to go back. Crystal Meth, the drug of choice. Homelessness, one of her other struggles.
I had no idea.......
Like a movie where blatant signs lace every scene leading to the reveal, I didn't see any of them. What I saw was LatinX. What I thought was education, about to finish college.
I appreciate people's stories. I appreciate people opening up about them. And I am most appreciative of people continuing to be aware of the navigation through their stories. The self-awareness I feel that comes with vulnerability.
She talks about the interview she just came from and the one she has lined up tomorrow. She was offered a job with a great company recently but has yet to receive her schedule. She still fears relapse. She still fears that feeling of want - but want of what and at what cost?
Is it a job to get money to have a roof over her head. Is it a high to escape the pain. Is it to do something she enjoys for the rest of her life that would make her feel fulfilled.
She opens up and raises all of these general questions and concerns to a dude she has had 15 minutes of total conversation with. I am still floored and struggling to not seem like a shmuck, but I tell her the genuine feeling that I am felt.... proud.
Not just of what she is doing, or how she picked herself back up, but hearing someone talk about it and open up about it is really important to life in general. Her fear is natural but her self-awareness is a super power. I think when you accept your fuck ups - that small 'win' is something you can build a fucking empire on.
Any advice I give, 9/10 it is because I feel as if I am going through the same thing. Because we are. We can all, we should all, genuinely be able to relate on some minuscule level of certainty. I am not homeless. I am not jobless. I fuck up though. I fuck up a lot. I know I have shit I need to work on. But I know I am continuing to get better. I hope you are too. It is okay to talk about it.
The Journey Continues...