I was asked to share about my old life. I care enough about the person that made this request, to do so.
I have journaled for many years. This particular page, Chemicals was written in May, 2011, on a day of reflection.
Chemicals in me. Chemicals in others. The ones I took. The ones they are on. The ones that become upset in our bodies due to our emotions.
From time to time, I still have the image of the LA bathroom flash in my mind. I can remember how I wanted to capture the moment. I wanted people to know about the intensity of that bathroom; as if it wasn’t me that was there. And everyone needed to know. I would be the liaison of information. I wanted pictures. I wanted to paint. I wanted people to know.
It was probably a 3 by 5 space. Entering into that bathroom to shoot heroin with people who I didn’t know. People I had never even seen before. How crazy is that? How desperate is that? What was I thinking? It seems like there was a bare bulb that hung over my head. I know there was. I would feel that feeling and feel the rush in my head. And I wanted everyone to know what it was like to be a junkie. I wanted them to know that it was not what they thought. I was just a regular person.
There was nothing regular about me.
Living in East Los Angeles has to be one of the more crazy things that I have ever done in my life. It was colorful, fast and explosive. We moved to Echo Park, my husband, myself and my daughter, along with our dog named Fido, in July, 1985. We found an apartment for three hundred dollars, which was an outrageous price for a tiny downstairs room. The landlady’s son lived on the top floor and we soon learned that he was on methadone and had been in prison for killing his father.
It was the summer of the Night Stalker. My husband and I, both got jobs right away and my daughter went to Elysian Elementary. He would go down to Echo Park and fish in the lake. My husband is an avid fisherman, no matter where he lives. There were dead rats floating on the surface of the water. A dead body was dragged out of the lake the day after he had caught a few fish from the bank. Only someone in the euphoric state of heroin can accept this as an average daily occurrence. We didn’t eat the fish.
We bought two cars from a Mexican man down the road. One was a 62 Impala and one was a 63 Ford Fairlane. We ended up losing the Impala in Vegas, but kept the Ford and drove it all the way home back to Florida. What a great car. We pulled a trailer carrying our treasured washer and dryer that we had acquired from the side of the road in Hollywood Hills. They have the best trash there.
We were there from July to September, but it seemed a lot longer than that. Everyday was action packed.Over the course of those three months, which seemed like three years, I became a light weight junkie and knew I had to flee. We had gone to LA, running from a Mexican coke connection. I was always running. He wasn’t after us, like we owed him anything. We had become guinea pigs for quality control and I had lost it. With a Mexican drug dealer pumping your veins full of coke on a daily basis, you can become toxic pretty quick. My poor kid. In both Texas and California we lived in Mexican communities and we experienced the other side of prejudice. It was hard.
When we ran from California, we returned to the Island, where we discovered, we had escaped the influx of crack. I was filled with gratitude for my good luck. B E and K had come to town, filling all of our old friends pockets, just long enough to turn it over to the crack dealer. I always felt like I escaped the tragedies and hardships that so many others stepped in to. I escaped them by being “out of town”. I escaped them by being smarter than the average; independent person that I was.
It was all in my mind and in my perspective. My outlooks saved me and they were killing me at the same time. I was just a short time from death. A death that I would survive. Lucky me.