This Isn’t A Sob Story… It’s A Redemption Song.

dead·beat

/ˈdedˌbēt/

nounDEROGATORY•INFORMAL

noun: deadbeat; plural noun: deadbeats; noun: dead-beat; plural noun: dead-beats

an idle, feckless, or disreputable person.”a nation of deadbeats who must work harder.”

Hard Truths

There are very few words I hate more than deadbeat. As a matter of fact, there isn’t a single word I hate more… than deadbeat. And this is coming from a Black man in America, if you get my drift. But the truth is… if you met me anytime before January 10th, 2021, that would have to be the only adjective you could use to describe me. I was a drunk, chronically unemployed, quick-to-ask, slow-to-give, down-on-my-luck deadbeat. A BUM! 

Disclaimer…

I try not to mince words or waste people’s time, so I am about rattle off a couple of facts about myself. They won’t be pleasant and it might come off as I’m being callous and uncaring but the truth is I have to treat my situation as dispassionately as the next person would. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what I am about to present are the facts and nothing but the facts of the case with no deviations. At anytime during the proceedings if you find yourself ill or repulsed feel free to excuse yourself. Jokes aside, it’s going to get cringey.

Broad Strokes

I am 30 years old and have been a “functional alcoholic” for about as long as I can remember. I’ve stolen, I’ve hurt people and I’ve betrayed people who love me. I was homeless for the better part of 3 years.  Initially, sleeping in my cab that I was driving at the time. After losing that job for being a drunk… I started sleeping on the subway, at bus stops, Grand Central Terminal, I even slept on a park bench behind the White Plains Metro-North train station. But above all else, the thing that TRULY brings me shame is the fact that I abandoned my son. I’ll repeat that, just in case you weren’t repulsed enough. I abandoned my child. 

Dead Beat Father

I used to blame his mother. I had every “she won’t let me” excuse neatly stacked in a pile in the front of my mind. Whenever someone even brings my son up. I couldn’t be bothered to take responsibility. “Things would be different if I could only, blah, blah, blah.” The truth is simple. I was a coward and took being a father like every other thing in my life for granted. One time, his mother and I were having something of an argument, where she said flat out, she doesn’t trust him with me alone, I’m a danger to him. And as much as I had resented the thought at the time, being sober a year now and reflecting on my life since he’s been born, she couldn’t have been more right. To let you guys know how much “I just didn’t get it,” I would walk past the house my son and his mother stayed in, with her family and would go to the liquor store across the street and buy whatever alcohol I could afford. Sometimes I had bills. Sometimes I had change. Sometimes I would walk in with two garbage bags full of cans and bottles and leave with two twenty-four oz…. Those were my priorities. 

Developing Bad Habits

I started drinking at a young age. 15, to be exact. My family had a bar in the house. Actually, I wouldn’t say a bar as much as I would a collection of liquor and wine, and every now, then and again I would take a bottle from the collection for a night of teenage mischief. It progressed from a bottle every now and then, to a bottle every time we drank, to us drinking everyday. Needless to say a padlock found its way between me and the liquor. Fast forward dropping out of school, running away, going to jail, family giving up me and giving up on myself, I find myself on the street. This time, quite literally.

By this time I’m back in New York, have lost my Taxi job, and have been sleeping on the train. I eventually get the bright idea of staying in a shelter. I go up to White Plains and try to get into one up there. For whatever reason I can’t be “assigned a bed” and after a couple nights of “dropping in”, showing up early enough to get a bed for the night, my phone is stolen and I blow up on the staff and other people staying in the shelter, getting myself permanently banned in the processed. Also, this wasn’t the first time I had an “incident” with the staff. My only option left at this point is the city.

Getting Off The Street

I’m back on the iron horse(subway), and my choices are really starting to effect me negatively. I’m stealing food and alcohol. One night, on the N-Line heading for Coney Island, I tried to steal this sleeping guys groceries. I didn’t do a good job and woke him up in the process after a brief chase that literally involved a quick run from one entrance to the next, after which we both determined that this was going nowhere. He got his groceries back and I got a little exercise, then we had a conversation on the way to Coney Island, very surreal. After a couple of weeks, I try to “get a bed” in a shelter. I walk into the first homeless shelter that pops up on google; homeless with a cellphone, 2020 problems, right? They tell me I can’t stay there. No reason why, just “no.” That goes on for a day or two before someone tells me “no” and I became irate. “I keep going places and people keeping telling I can’t stay here, I can’t stay there, where do I go?” And simple, just like that I get told about “the assessment shelter.” I get to the assessment shelter, “The Bellevue Men’s Shelter” on E 30th St and 1st Ave. Stayed there for two nights before I got assigned to a converted hotel in Brooklyn, where I would stay until further notice.

Rock Bottom… Again

Off we go, fast forward passed a pretty “interesting” year. I leave the shelter but the circumstances are not pleasant. I will spare the intimate details, but I fall into a deep depression, lose my security job I was fortunate to get, and have picked up the drinking to a dangerous level. I wake up out of stupors, at random times, in my own mess. My place is a pig-sty and I have to pay rent; I left the shelter on what is called a “one time deal” sounds like something out of morning-daytime-t.v., where the State offers to pay a persons “First, Last and Security”, as well as 3 months rent upfront after which time the responsibility transfers over to the tenant. I was on my 3rd month. Time was running out on me and my bullshit.

A Spark

This next paragraph is going to be very matter factual again; more of a checklist to spare everyone time and bring this to and end. It’s getting pretty depressing. 

  1. I get caught stealing out of a supermarket.(Moment of Clarity)
  2. Cold Turkey Sober 
  3. I get a call from a temp-agency(Get Hired)
  4. Payed My Rent
  5. Started Getting Back Into My Art
  6. Started This Blog
  7. Still Figuring It Out

Hope

As I’m writing this, I’m in something of an “emotional funk.” But that’s ok.  I reflect on the fact that one year ago, almost to the day, I was so close to ending it all. My behavior was so self-destructive that it was only a matter of time before the next “black-out” would be my last. To answer your question, which is going to be,and trust me this is what it’s going to be, “Why the FUCK is he sharing ANY of this? You deserve to know who I am and I may not be someone who you think deserves your time. I can understand that way of thinking and the reasoning behind it, but the truth is, in spite of all of the mistakes, I’ve reached a place where I am happy. I still have things to make right. Life is far from perfect, but it is coming together.

I share this because I know what it’s like to be down on one’s luck. To make the wrong decisions and to feel like life is just taking one left turn after the other, heading nowhere. The difference is that yesterday I felt a deep fear of all the uncertainty but now, that fear is replaced by hope. A hope, that as long as I continue to better myself my situation will become better. I’m not here to preach. Not once have I told you what to do. What others did, did not work for me and going off of that, it probably stands-to-reason that my approach isn’t going to be yours. What I am here to say is, that it’s ok to make mistakes, to not have the answers, to change your mind when you think it suits you best. Above all, remember that your greatest mistake does not define you. DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOURSELF! 

I’m not going to quote Jay-Z today. I’m not going to quote anybody. To be honest, this is the 3rd draft of this entry and I am exhausted. I’ve used up all my witty thinking. Be well, Executives.🖤🗽✌🏾

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