TAKE MY HAND and Come Out of the Fog

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When was the last time someone said take my hand and let me help you?.

When was the last time you offered a helping hand to someone?.

Does helping someone mean they have to have some dramatic or life threatening issue going on, maybe they're already on the road to healing and just need an extra hand or guidance.  I remember the first time i was in recovery in San Francisco, I was young and ready to experience a better quality of living but got sidetracked.  My life would change and my family would be told things that they would take as truth, but never once asking me.

This is my story of just a few key times I was offered a helping hand that made the difference.

In 1993 I arrived in San Francisco and stayed with my ex Yvette who for reasons I can't remember decided I no longer wanted to be with.  I was young and stupid but trusted this was my destiny in some way.  I moved in with her in SF for I believe a month until I found my own apartment.

I moved in to the new place and had a job with the competitor of the company I worked for in New York.  I rented this small apartment on Bush Street from this woman who I won't name because we all deserve second chances.

Four days later I remember being in my apartment and hearing the fire alarms going off, people were trapped in the building and I had gone out to the courtyard to find people throwing their pets to us in pillow cases.  We eventually had to move out to the street because this was now being called the largest 4 alarm fire in San Francisco.  This was all happening on the same night as the last episode of Cheers.

I remember sitting on the street, with my hands on my head staring at everything I own potentially going up in flames.  The streets were filled with news stations, fire trucks and everyone finally out of the building safely.  My ex who was still upset with me atleast showed up to bring me a sweater then left.  What was I supposed to do now.

The women who rented me the apartment, the onsite manager would now be by my side telling me things were going to be ok.  Red Cross put us up in a hotel and I of course end up sharing a room with the manager who was maybe 15 yrs older than me, and would later become my girlfriend.  I remember everything up to that moment in the hotel room when she and few of the tenants offer me what I think is a line of coke, I said yes because I was no stranger to and I never developed an addiction to it.  I was still naive to addiction, I thought addiction was for people who used needles and that was never me. They then left me alone while they went out for food, I remember sitting on the chair with my feet up because I was hallucinating.  Down on the ground I saw miniature fire trucks and fireman and they were talking to me, that's when I realized this was not cocaine. 

That moment would be the moment where I felt amazing for the first time, I didn't feel worried or scared.  For the next year I would now abuse this drug that I later found out was crystal meth, probably mixed with some other stuff. I would also learn the tenants were all addicts and the manager was the dealer.  Why did God guide me to this building with these people.  

During the next few months my sister would now be sent for me to care for her,  I was definitely not ready to be a parent but I did the best I could.  I would enroll her in school and looking back now we had some issues.  She soon went back to NY and would later return again with her son.  I would later experience the same responsibilities with my brother.  

I know I became resentful that I was placed in this parent role instead of just being a sibling.  They naturally would resent me for playing that role also.  We were all just screwed up kids in California with no adult guidance.

Over the next year my paranoia would increase and it was becoming harder for me to hide my addiction from my boss at work.  I knew I needed help, so I went to them and told them I needed help and instead of giving it to me they fired me.  Soon after, my mother showed up at my door for an intervention and I would go back to NY leaving my things behind to get an assessment from a drug counselor.

After 3 days in NY I refused to let this addiction ruin what was supposed to be my dream life in California.  So without the support of my family I would now return to SF to find I was locked out of my apartment, my belongings and cat held hostage.  In the eyes of the drug counselors I was not bad enough to be in an inpatient program, so I would now go to outpatient program that was too expensive for me to finish.

I was alone, no job, no money, no belongings but determined to overcome this disease and make it in California.  3 weeks into treatment I could no longer afford the room I was renting, so I shared about this in a meeting. I would now meet the woman who would be my new roommate.  A week or two passed and I remember having this massive headache and pain in my neck and fever, I was at a large sober picnic.  I jumped in a cab to go home and felt I was going to lose consciousness so I called an ambulance and left my door open.  I arrive in the ER and the doctor said I had aseptic meningitis.  My roommate was called and she said I had to have been on drugs to the doctor and my mother, she would now be kicking me out.  My mother then called the doctor and said that I must have been on drugs and to please drug test me.

It didn't matter what I said.  So after the doctor tested me I now had this major resentment against everyone especially when the doctor confirmed I was clean.  I have a few hundred dollars in my account and the cash I had on me was stolen from the hospital. Before I moved in with the woman I had placed an ad looking for a room, It was now June 1st my birthday and I was still in the hospital and I get this call.

This will be my first major HELPING HAND.  His name is Robert Goins and he was responding to the ad I placed, I told him it was my birthday and I was in the hospital and I would be out in a few days.  I then said I was around 45 days clean and sober and I had very little money, no belongings, no job and that I had nowhere to go after the hospital.  I promised him I would find a job as soon as I got out.

He responded, "Well I have a room and its yours, It has a mattress and sheets, pillows and a towel for you".  "I'm sure you will figure things out but the room is yours".  Then he gave me the address.  

I now lived around the corner from Safeway off Market Street near the Castro. Robert and I got along so well, I loved everything about him. He was so generous and caring, honest and he didn't know anything about me. At least not yet. 

As promised I started looking for work but first I had to find an attorney to take on my wrongful eviction case against the onsite manager, ex girlfriend who kept all my belongings.

This would now be my next major HELPING HAND.

I arrive at the offices of Calloway and Wolf for an appointment I made with attorney Robert DeVries.  He reviewed my claim and said something like he wasn't sure if he could get me anything.  I told him the whole story, I told him I was in recovery and determined to stay clean, I believe I told him about being in the hospital and my new roommate.  I also told him I didn't have a job or any money.

He then left me in the conference room and spoke to the owners Boone Calloway and Carl Wolf about my case.  I'm not sure of the order of this happening but Robert returned and took on my case not only for the wrongful eviction but they would now hire me as the new full-time receptionist.  Shortly after that the other attorney Carrie would win my case for backpay with the company that fired me.

I now had a job and money in savings and for the next year I had time to focus on my recovery.  Later I was fired from the law firm and I don't believe I did anything wrong, I don't even think I called in sick but I know the other attorneys went to bat for me.  I saw it as a blessing, I needed a job that required very little thinking so I could get well.  I then got a job as a part-time delivery person for UPS, after a month or so making $8.50 hour, 3 hours a day I knew I would have to quit and look for something more.

I arrived at work one day and someone left behind a package for 101 California which is not on my route.  This building to me was jinxed ever since the shooting back in July of 1993, but I always wanted to do a good job so I delivered it.  I exited the elevator and took 3 steps towards the receptionist and walked right into a glass wall.  My glasses broke and blood was pouring down my face, I was stunned and speechless.  My supervisors came and walked me to the doctors who then placed me on light duty.

This would now be the third major HELPING HAND.

I would now be working 5 hours instead of 3 in Marina dispatch center of the UPS hub, after a few weeks they loved me and asked if I would like to become a part-time supervisor with a substantial pay increase.  I took a test and passed with flying colors.  I believe within the next 2 years I was asked if I would go after a full-time supervisor position which was harder to get.  I would have to take a long profile test and get through a panel interview.  I again passed with flying colors and would now earn a very good career as a UPS supervisor for the next 13 years.

I believe I've always been the kind of person to help strangers, but I know that these three events that showed me the kindness of people that saw my honesty and commitment instead of my troubles, this is the stuff that shaped me.  This is just who I am now, I've always been the one to extend a hand if I could.  I remember at one point as a new supervisor at UPS I had maybe 4 people living in my studio apartment until they could get on their feet.

Helping people didn't always work out in my favor and I have been screwed more than a few times, thats the chance you take.  Thats the chance that was taken on me.

We can't always help everyone all the time, but when your gut says to do so think about how it may change the whole direction of that persons life.

Over time, with each Helping Hand the fog cleared just a little bit more.  Over the next 20 something years life would happen and that fog would return and it would feel lonely, but again it was the kindness and helping hands of sometimes the people that knew me less.  Maybe because they weren't judging me on my past, but just helping me at the moment. 

Each lending hand played a big part in showing me a way out of the fog slowly, helping me strengthen my faith and guiding me through to clearer path.  Without that help, the 16 years I spent in California would have been completely different.  

Today I learn to accept what I have and slowly heal the past as I'm ready.

Mucho Love and Gratitude to everyone who helped me in Cali and the ones still encouraging me everyday.

Thank you Yvette for making my transition to San Francisco possible and now many years later still have encouraging words and support for me.

Jamie Jones

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GETTING OUT OF THE BUBBLE ONE LAYER AT A TIME

Singapore this past weekend was filled with opportunities to grow and to be more aware of my current journey.  The only thing that was planned was my flight and the cozy little airbnb I booked far from the city centre.

The goal was to visit a few key spots and wander the city and take lots of pictures on my short 4 day trip.  I overpacked as usual. I picked up my suitcase from baggage claim upon arrival, and of course I can't leave home with out my heavy camera and laptop backpack.  I jump in cab and decided before checking in to my airbnb I would drop off my passport to the Visa office.  It's now 11:30am Friday August 11th and I'm standing in Singapore, I was just in New York not that long ago, I never would have imagined being where I am and doing what I'm doing.

So I decided to just recap some of my experiences and show you that what I planned is not what ended up happening.

Again I only planned my flight and accommodations, but the day before my flight I did reach out to a private online AA group and asked about attending a mtg while I'm there, I knew I needed one but thats all I was expecting to get.  I received multiple responses and was invited to 3 meetings, one on Friday evening and a 3 hour workshop on Saturday and a one on Sunday.

Day One - I met an incredible group of people, although I was exhausted I exchanged numbers and made commitments to meet up the next two days.  After my haircut I cabbed it back to my airbnb and passed out by 9pm.

Day Two - I left the house at 8:30am and headed to my workshop in Chinatown, I arrived early and only a few people were there, I was immediately greeted and offered a seat by this woman.  She asked my name then she shared her story, one that was similar to mine, and I knew I was supposed to hear it.  Especially, the parts about her current product pitch and Shark Tank, manufacturing and her hustle.  She found something that she believed in, so much that she poured everything she had into it.  As she's speaking I'm listening and holding on to every inspiring and encouraging word coming from this strong womans voice, knowing she's from the States and she sounds just like me.

She had that one moment in her journey that just propelled her and made the difference, we talked about rising from our rock bottoms and surrendering to the journey.  I left there even more inspired about my journey not just from speaking with her but listening to the stories of the people in this workshop.  We had attendees on this call from, New York, Canada, Maldives, Orange County, Australia, and a few other places around the world to help share their experience with others.

For the rest of the day I wandered the streets and took a few photos but I was in my own little bubble, inspired and blessed, a high that I just wanted to sit in for awhile.  I got some food and tried my luck with the local transport and did great for my second day.  Now back home early to do some reading and writing. 

Day Three - Sunday meeting at 10am and the discussion is sponsorship and sponsoring others, I couldn't help but share how that topic is exactly what I needed to hear.  My sponsor told me a few months back that it was time for me to have a sponsee and I ran, there was no way I was ready.  But I shared my story about my fear of female sponsors and possibly falling in love with the person who I thought was supposed to save me, everyone thought that was funny.  But now I have the most amazing sponsor who I truly believe I have an energy connection with, a love, a sense of family and she has sixth sense for when I need her and that's a blessing.

The first time she showed up to a meeting I was at, it was the worst day I've had in a long time, I think I was 3 months sober.  When the meeting ended I walked out and lifted my head up and she was standing right there, I started crying and I hugged her.  How did she know? I asked her that and she said she just felt like I might need her today, so she showed up.  Can I give that to someone else? What if I can't just show up?

So back to my meeting in Singapore, after it ended I walked around Chinatown to shop before lunch with friends, I decided to walk to the train because I was now running late.  Right before I walked up the stairs I hear someone call out "Jamie", I turn around and its a girl with only 9 days sober from the meeting.  She does what we all do when we first come in, we try and mask all the pain in our eyes and say we're ok.  I had that split moment thought, should I say "I'm running late for lunch? and go" or "are you ok? and stay".  I decided to ask if she was ok.

Crowds of people are walking around us and her eyes are tearing up, I ask if she would like to sit and talk.  We walk around to the other side of the barrier and we talked and she cried for the next hour, I listened and I didn't look at the time.  For an hour she strengthened my recovery and she didn't drink, I left her with my number and then we parted ways.  I walked away remembering trying to string together 5 days myself during a time when everything around me was falling apart.  She reminded me that to be a sponsor, is to just listen and share my experience, strength and hope so she might relate, and for me to remember that my sponsor is always there to guide me.

I left and headed to lunch with an amazing group of people and there was a moment sitting in this beautiful high rise loft in Singapore that I realized, no matter where I am in the world I will never ever be alone again.  As long as I keep doing what I'm doing, then I will get what I need when I'm ready.

I headed back home with this bad headache that has been lingering all day and end up having this open and honest conversation with my airbnb host about life and recovery.  We end up having dinner that evening and she took me to acupuncture the next morning before my flight.

Day 4 - at the airport, delayed flight and I'm drawn to the bookstore, I haven't read a book in a long time but I walk and grab this book from Carmine Gallo "The Storyteller's Secret" then I grab a book by Adam Grant "Originals".  I never heard of either but I have always had this secret desire to do a Ted Talk, to inspire others to go after their dreams.  But now I'm learning how to go after mine.

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I read the Acknowledgements and as he's thanking all the people that have helped him, I also am silently thanking everyone that has helped me on my journey as I'm reading. 

I really believe no matter what you do, or how big or small you think it is, you have to always acknowledge the people that helped you.  There is a power behind humility and gratitude, not only do you recognize and show your appreciation for someone doing for you when they didn't need to but you show others that you can truly appreciate receiving kindness.  And then give it in return.  Gratitude is first and for me has to happen everyday and the rewards for that are bigger than I could've ever expected.

So I continue with the preface and at the end it reads 

"One of the major findings in this book is the fact that most great storytellers have struggled in their life and they've turned their adversity into victory.  Their failures make them more interesting because, as you'll learn, we are hardwired to love the rags-to-riches stories."

He goes on to talk about "The Back Story" our story shapes our future.  Pay attention to your past, it holds the story of where you've been and where you are.  

Tony Robbins said "People who have experienced pain, poverty, struggle, or despair are only empowered by their experience when they've developed the courage to embrace their backstory, learn from their failures, and share their lessons of struggle with others."

When I read this I realized that I was guided to write my blog over a year ago sharing my backstory, without knowing the benefits I would receive.  I started to slowly peel back the layers of this protective bubble I was in all my life, one layer at a time.

I planned a trip to Singapore to see the sights and instead my higher power decided I needed to be told I was ready for the next chapter of my life, that I was ready to peel back another layer of this bubble.

I made a suggestion to that that girl with 9 days and said "Give yourself 90 days, one day at a time to not drink and I promise you, you will not feel the way you feel right now."  I sat on the plane thinking about that suggestion and realized that could be said about a lot.

Give yourself 90 days, one day at a time to really work on whatever you want to work on.  The results will be incredible if you are serious about it, it depends on how much you want it.

If I want to teach or inspire then I have have to learn and listen.  I have to practice, train, continue to face and share my backstory and invest in myself.  

I got more out of this weekend not doing anything that I originally planned.

Getting out of the bubble one layer at a time only started to happen when I got out of my own way.  My journey will continue to take me to amazing places.

Mucho Love,  Jamie

Stop The Silent Cycle with audio

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Being 5 years old was my earliest recollection of life and really only moments like saving a bird, or starting a forrest fire.  The reason I'm sharing is because I have been slowing writing my story over the last 2 years and I decided to share some of it today.   I'm sharing because not doing so or not remembering for so long has caused me so much pain.  For years I've asked for help to piece together my childhood so I could understand myself better,  maybe not repeat a pattern, but really because I felt incomplete.  Like I was missing something, or that something happened, imagine feeling your whole life that something was wrong and being made to feel like an asshole for asking.

It didn't even matter if I was on the verge of killing myself, that still wasn't enough to share my story with me.  This is not a story to blast others but to heal myself and share a story that so many others are going through right now.  I sit here thinking of  

Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, River Phoenix, John Belushi, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Robin Williams and Chester Bennington who shared about his childhood and not finding closure or how about Heather a friend of mine who took her life in 2014.  What about my step father who I still til this day have no idea what he struggled with.

Asking questions was a no no growing up and I just never understood why, I remember breaking down in a doctors office because they found a lump on my thyroid and breast and asked if there was a family history of cancer and I couldn't answer, how would I know if no one ever shares anything.  

So just for one second just imagine someone standing in front of you begging for help to just understand, and there was a possibility that it would help heal them, would you do it.  Would you tell them what they needed to understand if it meant you had to admit to doing something wrong.  Would you go to any length to help save that person.  Would you go and start healing yourself so you can then share your story.

Some would, I would, I am. Every life, family, friend, stranger deserves a chance.  I have to write my story to remember, I was left no other option but to do so and I am beyond grateful that my journey to heal over the last 2 years has led me here to remember bits and pieces as I go along. 

This weeks reading is longer than most and I know many wont read it, but I can't tell you the weight that has been lifted from my shoulders.  Suicide is real, depression is real, addiction is real and everyone needs to talk about. 

If you feel like someone dying is ok as long as you save face, then you might as well pick up the gun.  I don't care about anyone other than that one person that is drowning in loneliness and despair right at this moment, that's who I'm sharing my story with.   I can't even tell you how many talented, successful people I know that are struggling with the same thing.  You are not alone, there is help, you are not a burden.  You are worthy.  

Today and for the last 2 years I am grateful that I don't have those feelings anymore, even back then I didn't have them often and people might not have ever known I was struggling, but the first two years of my injury changed me. Dealing with chronic pain and being told you can no longer do the things you love broke me. So I tried to do everything I could to not feel the pain and act as if I was ok and strong. So here's a part of my story, maybe you can relate.

January 3rd, 2015 starting a new year and I find myself lost again, depressed for the last 4 days but really it’s been for the last 9 or so years, possibly longer.  I don’t know how to write and on top of that I cant seem to stay focused on anything for more than a few moments before my mind starts to wander or a thought causes me to go off track to do research, all ending up in me finding the lazy way to a spiritual enlightenment like watching movies.  

I believe I haven’t always been this way but looking back I've had many of these traits for a long time.  I guess I want to start by talking about where I am right now.  A little about this dark cloud I’ve been under for the last few years, and why I am so confused with my stretches of clarity and faith.  Why its so easy for me to lose it. 

I don’t have the answers to any of these things but I want to talk about my experiences with the hope that I can remember the ones I don’t, and work through the ones I never want anyone to know.

Today I lounged around watching movies and being restless. I research places to move because I feel unwanted by my family.  I’m currently staying with my grandmother who I adore and love more than anyone in the world, I don’t verbally disrespect her but I do cause her pain because she see’s me in pain.  This is the time for her to rest and be happy with out an earful of family battles.  I wake up daily knowing that I don’t want to disappoint her but then this wave of disappointment or non acceptance from my family, friends, or clients takes over and that’s when I want to disappear or escape. 

I don’t want to escape this life as much as I used to, but I still get my moments.  I think my need to make everyone happy or help because I can causes me a lot of pain and destruction.  This circle of destruction I have created in my life over the last few years seems almost impossible to get out of.  I know that this may be my final chance to turn my life around, and I’m grasping at everything I can with, no clarity or passion.   I know I have to do something but I lack the focus I used to have, like my brain is broken.

Maybe something is slowly changing because I’m here right now writing, the tv is turned off, I’m burning an incense and earlier I lit a white candle and got a white flower in remembrance of a friend who took her life last year on January 2nd, 2014.  A reminder of how close I came to taking my own life in June and July of 2014 at the age of 43 when I should’ve had my life together.  The first time I attempted I was 16yrs old and living in The Village in Manhattan after I moved away from my mother.  But this is when I feel like “why am I doing this? Who wants to hear my sob story?”  especially one that doesn’t have an amazing end, or some powerful world changing effect.  Well then I remember that as horrible as I feel right now, I have overcome so much in my life and I've never let anything stop me.  I was strong, smart and I always found a way through it all.

So I guess for right now I’m writing to remember what kind of strength I had to pull myself back up, to dig deep and find it again.  So I'll start briefly from my childhood which will be quick since I really don’t remember much, then I’ll skip to when I was about 15 or 16yrs old, still a bit fuzzy then,  but then the juicy stuff comes when I make my journey to California at 21 yrs old to escape this life in NY.  I'll create a chapter for these 3 parts leaving plenty of blank space with the hopes of eventually filling in the blanks as I remember or am told. 

Chapter – Childhood (preteen)

I just had an hour long conversation with my grandmother, who helped me piece together my childhood a little.  So I was born at Jacobi hospital in the Bronx, New York. I guess between birth and around 5 years of age I lived in New York with my parents but my grandmother did most of the taking care of me.  At 5 years old I moved to Puerto Rico with My mom and dad and there are only a few things I remember from there. 

One – I lived in Ponce and I remember finding a wounded bird in the park, a park that I would wander alone.  I remember my father hanging me over the balcony of the apartment by my ankles and I’m not sure if I was scared or not, or if it was playful or not.  I remember one of my morning routines was getting a bag of marijuana from behind the records to bring to my parents in bed.  I also found out in 2013 that my father admitted to getting me hooked to smoking pot at 5 years old and when he stopped giving it to me I got mad and bit him on the hand, he described that I looked like I had the devil in me.  He allowed me to continued to bite him and told me when I was done it would be his turn and sure enough he bit me on my right front shoulder leaving teeth marks.  

All these years when I thought it was strange that I had a birthmark that looked like teeth marks on my shoulder, I find out at age 41 that they really were teeth marks and what happened.  It came up in a conversation he had with my sister joking around that maybe it was his fault I had issues with drugs because I was a pot head at 5. 

I can't even describe the anger I felt towards him and my mother who would let him do that, but of course I'm told til this day I need to let it go.  I mean I've only known for 5 years now, when should I have asked the question.   I also remember riding a bike, learning Spanish but what disturbs me is I remember this guy from Argentina who I guess baby sat me and taught me Spanish.  I remember him but I don’t ever remember my parents being around in the years I was there.  

Anyway, we now move from Puerto Rico to North Carolina where I attended 1st grade.  I have a class photo, but I don’t remember much other than the moon always being very large and orange like you could reach out and touch it, and this being another place where I felt was I on my own. 

One time my parents took me with them to the mall and left me outside and I picked all the flowers and sold them to people coming into the mall, but I cant remember if that’s my memory or a story they told me.  One day I must have traveled into the forest with friends and decided to make a camp fire then I found a Mickey Mouse watch then next thing you know there was a forest fire.  I ran back to the building and started swinging on the swings behind the building and acted like nothing happened.  Soon my father came out and asked what happened across the street once the fire trucks showed up, and I replied that I didn’t know until I couldn’t lie any longer.  Shortly after I received the biggest whipping with a tree branch to the point that it was difficult to walk, I think this was the only time I was ever hit when I was this young.  We'll soon get into the physical and verbal threats between my father and myself later.

Soon after the fire and my urge to start a campfire on my own, I guess my father thought it would be a good idea to create a campsite in my room complete with a fake campfire, tent and the natural sound of crickets from outside.  I do remember being pretty happy for a moment.  I also vaguely remember my father building two huge ceiling to floor letter J’s that I could sit on which separated the kitchen from the living room and making things out of red clay and hardening my creations in the oven.  Another brief moment of happiness, then that’s all I remember after a year in North Carolina. 

So now we move back to New York and this is where everything gets real fuzzy, I know I had to have lived with my mother or maybe even both of my parents but I can only remember moving to Throggs Neck and immediately going to the 2nd grade. It was Ms. Carbone’s class and I brought her a red clay ball that I poked a bunch of holes with a pencil to make a pencil holder.  I remember being happier here than anywhere else, I actually feel like I can account having relationships with friends and family.

I remember my Cousin and best friend Angel, my aunt Alva and my uncle Angel, my Aunt Miriam who I was so attached to and especially my grandmother who I guess I called mom.  But, still I don’t remember my parents ever really being around except living with them for brief moments before I turned 17.

So I’m around 10 years old and now living with my aunt, uncle and my cousin Angel (Junior) and going to PS 72 in Throggs Neck.  I believe I attended 2nd, 3rd and 5th grade there.  This part of my story is not even interesting to write because I was jumping all over the place, I guess when my Mother was ready to take care of me I would live with her and when she wasn’t I would live somewhere else.  I think the story I told myself is I wanted stability, at the age of 10, and I wanted to stay with my aunt.  I loved school but once I got into high school and my mother took over my aunts apartment, I guess all hell broke loose and I just didn’t want to be there. 

At this point my mother married my step father who lived with us in Throggs Neck and that relationship was complicated along with the feeling that something just was not right.  At some point he was drunk and left after a fight and I came out of my room for the first time and told my mom not to let him leave this time, but he left anyway and committed suicide that night. 

I remember the babysitter being there with me and my siblings and getting a phone call saying we weren’t going to school that day, I guess I found out somehow and got upset and went to school anyway.  Im not even sure if I was even sad, but I do know that the next year was hard for my mother and I was becoming more distant and skipping school and I started smoking cigarettes. 

When I went to school I wasn’t that interested anymore, I believe I left home and moved in with my aunt Miriam who was in active addiction at this time but loving and always happy during the day.  I asked my mother to sign me out of highschool, because at that time you needed your parents consent and I got it with no fight. 

I started hanging out at this club called Tracks and that’s when I met my first girlfriend and moved in with her and her sister and father, all who were alcoholics or drug addicts.  That was my first abusive relationship, we would hang out in the Village which was near home and we would hang out with this old guy that sold coke and I would cut it up and package it for him. 

I remember the night that we were on 7th ave and my girlfriend was drunk and it was the last time she ever hit me because I lost it, I was 17 yrs old and she was in her 30’s.  She tried to beat the shit out of me and I saw red, I kneeled for a moment to gather whatever thoughts I had and she walked away not caring if I was hurt, I chased her down and kept hitting her and left her on the street then I ran in front of a cab.  I remember getting hit and landing on the hood then getting off and walked home and laid in bed. 

The cops showed up and her father told them I wasn’t there, I don't know why he protected me but that’s when I called my father to ask if I could stay with him in Queens.  I then moved in with my dad and got a job in the flea markets in manhattan working for Cella who was now my best friend.

This is the end for now 

After deciding to share this I'm forced to look at my history of my life in Throggsneck in the Bronx, a place that I grew up in but I knew I never belonged.  I was an explorer, I wasn't scared.  Over the years in one way or another I would insert myself back into  the neighborhood, but it was only when I was led out that my life would change.

My move from California to New York I ended up there.

My struggles in 2014-2015 led me back to my grandmother.

And now I have officially moved out and can never see returning.

I was too busy doing other things that I never realized I was continually being led away from there. 

I kept fighting to belong somewhere and get something that might never be possible.  When I Skyped with my grandmother on the day my stuff was being moved I cried like a baby, she walked somewhere private and looked me right in the eye and said "I love you, and you're going to be ok." We both always knew that it was more troubling for me to be there for so many reasons that this was a good move. If she knows I'm going to be ok then I know I'm going to be ok.  I can't tell you how many times she has stood up for me growing up, I'm ok to stand up for myself even if it means just moving away. 

I'm now looking forward to continuing to write my story.  

Mucho Love, Jamie

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

1-800-273-8255

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PRUNING PALM TREES IS NO EASY TASK, NEITHER IS LIFE

Earlier today I posted this picture and wrote the following.

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"Pruning palm trees is no easy task.  They need strength, agility, and endurance, a skill that shows in his physique. A ladder only takes him halfway up as he scales the rest ropeless, confident as he balances on two palm leaves.  Then you realize the weight of these leaves when they slam down on the ground."

I then interpreted that into a reflection of my life.

"Pruning my life is no easy task.  I need willingness, self love, vulnerability, commitment, a skill that shows in my behavior and words.  The guidance and support will only take me halfway,  I will climb the rest on faith and action, confident as I balance this journey of life and spirituality.  I'm stronger,  balanced and more self forgiving.  Over time I realized the true weight I have been carrying around all my life, when I finally found myself free of them." 

So after a full day of tasks and lunch with new friends I found myself debating if I should enjoy a movie or do some writing.  I reread todays post and realized I was given the words to describe something more than just pruning palm trees.  A reflection of where I'm currently at, maybe emotionally, physically, spiritually.

Slow and steady I've been pruning the defects of myself, learned habits, co-dependant behaviors, lack of worthiness, pity and the list goes on.  Today I am nowhere close to perfect and know I'll never be, but it's now easier for me to remove these defects.  It's easier for me to flood myself with positive affirmations now because I've experienced its affects on my life.

Why is it so hard for us sometimes to prune or cut away the bad, remove unwanted behaviors or people.  Why do we stay in jobs or relationships that don't make us happy, or harm us.  Why can't we prune ourselves like that delicate beautiful rose or palm tree that needs this in order to increase fruitfulness and growth.

It wasn't until it was proven to me that cutting away my self doubt, negative self talk and never feeling good enough would increase my self expression, then I was a believer.  I write and I'm no longer terrified to do it.  There is so much more I want to do and that list of things keeps growing the more I create.  I want to explore poetry, spoken word, acting, sculpting metal, painting, drawing, Inventing, I want my voice to matter in every medium I'm led to.

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Right now this is one of my voices, I draw.  I don't plan what ends up on the paper, I just draw.  It tells a story for me, it usually reflects things I crave or have or suffer through, like this drawing.  The shape of a large all seeing eye that represents how my higher power has my journey planned and protected, the inner eye is me staring at love, acting in love, the arrow helping me spread that to others.  The three bars represent both my mouth and my voice, it also represents the injury to my spine that almost broke me. What I see and do now feeds it and helps it heal.

The lightning surrounding might represent intensity, heartbreak, passion I've had.  The small teardrops leading to a bigger one represents all the sadness, hopeless moments, fear based cries all rolled into one big tear drop that I've released.  The Optic nerves from my eye is my surrender to see what my higher power needs me to see, and finally the lashes above protect my life from as much bad debris as possible and whatever gets through is a lesson I'm supposed to learn.

My life again this past week has changed, and circumstances have happened that rattled the little bit of stability I thought I had.  I had moments in my days that fear entered but it was in my sleep that I was most disturbed.  My subconscious released thoughts and feelings about my fears, restlessness that woke me from vivid dreams of anger, resentment and loneliness.

This is what happens.  Sometimes we prune our lives purposely and sometimes the universe prunes it for us.  So I continue to have faith on my journey and I keep my head where my hands are.

So my Creative affirmation that I have chosen is:

I am willing to be of service through my creativity

and of course my favorite:

As I create and listen, I will be led

So remember that pruning palm trees is no easy task, neither is life, but imagine the fruitfulness and growth you will achieve when you do.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks blog.

Mucho Love,  Jamie

 

prune2

pro͞on/

verb

gerund or present participle: pruning

  1. trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.

    synonyms:cut back, trim, thin, pinch back, clip, shear, top, dock

    "I pruned the roses"

    • cut away (a branch or stem).

      "prune back the branches"

      synonyms:cut off, lop (off), chop off, clip, snip (off), nip off, dock

      "prune lateral shoots of wisteria"

    • reduce the extent of (something) by removing superfluous or unwanted parts.

      "reduction achieved by working harder or pruning costs"