“Just call me Cab,” she introduces herself, adding, “because I don’t identify
with my gender.”
Because I don’t identify with my gender–a very current statement, but coming from Cab, the reasoning for it call us to empathy. Reserved she was, but quite she was not. For in her pulled back claim could be felt an esteemed power and a resolved peace. A sense of self-awareness that was evident in her openness. A courage that was infectious and enlightening. A willingness to step out of herself to share a pained past, that through it, she revealed a wisdom that has potential to heal many.
“Don’t hate anything or anyone, and don’t get angry, because there is not really time or need to get angry about anything, and above all, love yourself, and be careful, and know yourself enough to know when you need to stop doing something or when you should do something, be brave.” Cab expressed in her well-earned advise.
“In 2003 I graduated high school, and soon after that I got into meth amphetamines; and after that I started doing Oxytocin. I was chopping it up and snorting it because I needed to get off the meth. And after that I started doing heroin. I’ve pretty much been caught in that trap now, and its 2014 now. I’m doing much better now, but I still do it occasionally. I was homeless for 4 years. I was living in flood channels. I was a prostitute. I had no other way of making money; and if you go out and hold a sign, a lot of men will expect you to work for it anyway if you are a female. I don’t even know what sexual assault is anymore, because I’ve been attacked so many times when I was living in that tunnel by the airport.
You know, it’s really scary out there. It’s sort of a different world. Our rules of society don’t apply out there. There are a lot of people who are very-very sick. Very addicted to drugs. I’m both. I was lucky enough to be able to leave that life out there, to come back to the real world. I am medicated now. I have a mental illness and I am managing it.
But what I really what people to know is don’t even try it! Don’t even pick it up! Not even once! Because you really don’t know what is going to happen. You just don’t.
You may or may not be a drug addict, and you may not think that you are a drug addict. Like I did. Well! I found out that I was! I’ll struggle with this for the rest of my life; and, it may kill me. I know that if I do keep doing it, it will kill me. Not the drug itself. I don’t do needles. I just smoke it, which is less dangerous. But getting the drug. The people I have to deal with and the places I have to go. The things I have to do are really scary.
“I want to write a book,” Cab smiled, “but I’m scared that it might get me into trouble and it’s just really too painful to write that book right now. But one day I will, and I hope it will help some people. If my story can save even one person, then I’d be happy.” Cab is one of the lucky ones, off the streets for 7 years she was on the path to healing, but the memories continued to haunt her.
“’Sometime I feel that I’m standing on the edge and I’m looking down. I feel like I’ve done everything. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve seen more than I should. I didn’t start out being, like, ‘tough.’ I had to learn. I’m really scared sometimes of the things I’ve been forced to do to defend myself. I never was a violent person, but I was pushed, and sometime after being abused a lot, I decided that I was never going to let that happen again. And I am very much a believer that everything that happens to me, I let it happen and it is my fault. I should have done something. I mean that’s not really a healthy view, but that’s the way I have to look at it, because I have to take responsibility for all these things. I want to be able to manage them. To control them and, in a way, I have, and I don’t let things happen to me anymore.’”
Cab was unassuming, peaceable and in her infectious giggle could be seen a hope for a better life ahead. “Not a lot of people who know me know about the things that happened out there,” she kept private, “but they will, and there’re going to be really surprised.” Yet still, she stood strong in holding to her core council, “But you don’t really want to do drugs! You don’t know what path you are going to go down and you might die there!
“People might say you are a piece of crap because you are a drug addict. There is a difference there. I am a drug addict, but I am not a piece of crap. I’m human and I do make mistakes. I love myself; and, because of what I’ve been through I’ve learned empathy.”
Empathy: A magical word that carries the depth to change the world to a better sphere. A self-enacted catalyst to seeing, hearing and feeling that is far greater than any other noun in the English language.
What would you tell people when you walk past a drug addict, a homeless person or a prostitute? I asked Cab.
“’I once heard a quote, I can’t remember who said it, but it goes something like this. ‘Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.’”
I looked it up. That author? The great Jesse Jackson, one of the greatest leaders of the civil right movement of the 20th century.
Cab continued, “you look at these people and you think they are this, or you think they are that. But you don’t know, unless you are them. You just don’t know. You really don’t know who your thinking about in that way. You may be condemning someone who really is a good person. They’re just sick, and they need help! Are you really going to talk about someone who is sick that way and say it’s they’re fault?
“I see the drug addiction as a mental illness; as the disease that it really is. I mean you look at me when I was living in a tunnel, when I was selling my body, and your telling me I would really choose to do that. Yea right! You think I would choose to do that!
Judging people is really the last thing you want to do, because, you don’t want to be judged. So why would you do that to somebody else?”
I had to ask, What would you tell the men picking up prostitutes?
“A lot of these guys are married what does that say,” Cab began, yet in her compassion she kept her perspective. A perspective that seemed like, the greatest healer of all, forgiveness.
“Sometimes I’m discussed and horrified by the things that I’ve seen, but most of the time I feel intense empathy for all the people I come across, because I can see myself in them. I can understand why they are that way, and it scary! These people, they have a mental illness at birth or maybe they’re given one. You don’t know. It may not be their fault. They may not be degenerates. It may have been done to them. You just don’t know. You can’t imagine how painful it is to be out there doing that.
Addiction is a sick and confusing love. Trust me, this is coming from a drug addict.
“But, love itself? I want to feel love for the world and I am not trying to get it. I sort of gave up on that a long time ago. I look around and it confuses me a lot sometimes. I try to understand, but I can’t. I don’t understand why people are killing each other for very dumb reasons and it’s really very sad. I’ve seen enough. Honestly, I really just want to live a sheltered life for sometime. I’ve lived enough. I’ve seen a lot.
My motto is, I’m so honest and I’m telling you this because you wouldn’t know, because nobody else is going to tell you this. I’ve been there and done that and everything; and I’m telling you. Don’t do the things that I’ve done!
If one person decides because of what they’ve seen me do, or they hear about me and not want to do drugs. Then I’ve succeeded. I just want to save one person. It’s scary out there and you don’t want to be there. You may never come back.”
Cab. We thank you for your courage in sharing your wisdom; and world, please pass this forward, perhaps joined with Cab, we can do some good works.