Financial decimation and reduction in the city’s police force were the causes of 1970’s New York becoming one of the most violent, impoverished, impecunious and mournful cities of the 20th century. Amid all of this I was placed into this world unknowing of my environment. I grew up poverty stricken. Electricity and gas were a blessing. Many days the apartment was dark and lacking sound. I had to grow up fast. The city demanded it. If a person didn’t grow up quick and learn how to deal with and navigate the streets, they would fall victim.
At age eight I was the “bag boy” for drug dealers. I would pick up a brown bag from one location and bring it to another. I would also sit on a stoop with a bag full of nickel and dime bags of various drugs. A customer would approach the dealer, across the street from where I sat, and hand him the money. The dealer would then signal to me as to what and how much I would distribute. I loved this because it made me feel accepted by the streets. My desire to know and experience more of this environment got me caught up in some dicey situations.
My desire and never-ending curiosity led me to explore the city. This caused me to end up in scary circumstances. Once a friend and I were lured into a basement apartment with the promise of money and sexually molested by a man. This wasn’t my only experience with sexual abuse. A family friend had his turn and five teenage girls had their way with my 8-year-old body. I never spoke of these horrendous events – feeling guilt ridden.
What follows is a life of drug addiction, violence, abuse, prostitution, incarceration, self-mutilation, sexual promiscuity and countless suicide attempts. This life became my destiny. I was not going to live past the age of 35.
The addiction, violence, abuse, prostitution, incarceration, cutting, sexual promiscuity and suicide attempts made me what I am today. I GOT ANGRY!! - Angry at what my life had become – what my life was going to be. I got angry at myself for wasting what I knew was talent, charm, intelligence and creativity within me. I channeled this anger and changed my life for the better.
Through this I discovered my calling. My calling is to help as many people who suffer as I have . Help them to find their way; their way back to who they truly are. My desire is my calling. I desire to save as many of my brothers and sisters as I can.
If I don’t embrace my calling; if I sit by and let others suffer; if I retreat into the life I once lived, then all my suffering, sadness and pain of my past will all be for nothing.