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Day 246 – A Reason Not To Cry

August 27, 2013

Hi there…

I’m in a zone. I have to leave soon to start my day, but can I tell you what happened last night?

It was a challenging day. I decided to take public transportation to run several errands so that I wouldn’t have parking issues at the places I was going. I hadn’t been on the bus for a day-long trip in a long time…. The people… poor, disenfranchised, disempowered… This one guy walked past me on the bus and stunk up the whole bus with his body odor.

You see the streets and neighborhoods more clearly when you are walking on them. Gum everywhere, dirt, bad smells. I live in a part of town that is welfare central. The housing department, the county general relief department, medical help, shelters for the old and the mentally disabled, are all within walking distance from my apartment, along with different consulate offices for different countries.

At night sometimes, homeless people camp out in corners of the sidewalks or at the big park (which is notoriously one of the most dangerous parks in LA).

Yesterday, I went to speak with a lawyer about the parking troubles I have been having at my apartment complex. To make a long story short, the lawyer said that the only way she would take my case if I did certain steps to gather more evidence. These steps will take at least two more months to complete and are not guaranteed. I was disappointed when I left. After bus trekking all day, I walked about a mile to my car so that I could give someone a ride from the airport.

When I was finished at around 11:00pm, I parked my car on the street about a mile and a half away from my neighborhood, in the safe neighborhood by the clean park.

As I walked home past the homeless people and the bubble-gum laden streets and the stinky smells everywhere, (even at 11:00 at night!!!) I became discouraged about my life. I started to feel sorry for myself. I started to feel sorry for all the people on the buses, the people who didn’t have clean beds to lay on and the mentally disabled people who couldn’t find a clear space in their heads. I felt sorry for the children with dirty clothes and matted hair and I felt sorry for all of us for having such a low standard of living and feeling so disempowered that we were willing to live in such a slum and not do anything about it.

I felt sorry for me and my neighbors because we couldn’t just get along, because life could be so much better if people didn’t stick evil notes on each other’s cars and curse each other out and gossip about each other.

I felt sorry for my friend who has a substance abuse problem and I felt sorry for myself because he was my only friend that lives nearby and he is in no position to be a friend.

I felt sorry for the whole world…

I was walking down the street and about to burst out crying because of the self-pity that was rising in me. And then I thought about my mamma. I thought about her telling me, “Don’t cry. Be strong, Laydie. You are strong”.

I know I am strong, but I’ve hated being strong for so long, because I always equated strength with suffering. The strong people never seemed to get any rest and no one ever seemed to have any compassion for strong people. The strong people always seemed to be alone saving the world and they never seemed to have time to smile or play or enjoy anything. I had been rejecting being strong for a long time, but try as I may, I haven’t been able to get away from it.

As I was walking down the street, I laughed at this whole concept of strength. It comes in handy sometimes. And the funny thing is, I always want to be around these strong guys, but strong guys like strong girls after all is said and done. They, too, don’t always want to be the heroes…

So, I decided to be strong. As the tears were about to fall, I decided to look for things not to cry about. It dawned on me that I don’t have to cry. I mean, I could, but I didn’t have to. I could just, like, not cry.

I started thinking about some of the lovely friends that I do have, the heroes with bigger hearts than me, and I started thinking about all of the ways they have been there for me. I thought about my lovely mamma and siblings how throughout my whole life I had always wanted to feel supported and how now I was… I started thinking about how there are people on my team, always rooting for me. Always. I felt blessed. I looked around at my neighborhood and I saw some of the intentions behind the old Spanish buildings. I thought about how some blessed soul had a beautiful idea when they designed those buildings. I thought about the fact that my mind wasn’t all muddled and confused and how I can have clear thoughts these days. I thought about the fact that in less than a week, I’m gonna have bonafide health insurance! I thought about going to a fancy chiropractor.

I thought about the fact that I’ve been working on my creative projects consistently for about two months now. And I smiled out loud when I realized that I have become strong again and yet I have maintained my gentle self.

I was glad to know that the two could co-exist. I saw the kind of woman I was becoming. Confident. Not arrogant, but confident. Free. I saw that I would never be abused again. I saw that, like Charlotte O’hara said (God-willing) I would never be poor again. I saw that I actually noticed other people these days. I listen these days and care about folks. I’m actually interested… I saw that I am becoming exactly the kind of woman that I’ve always wanted to be.

The journey has been long and tedious, but what’s one, two, ten years of struggle if you are laying a foundation that will bring you bliss for the rest of your life(s)?

Last night I found a reason not to cry. A found something to smile about. Me.

Thank you, God.

Day 246

A Reason Not To Cry. You.


From → New Beginnings

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