“Nothing but the wooden planks of the railroad tracks and shifting rocks beneath my feet as I stammered on toward the horizon following the rails into infinity. I had already ran from the cops who were never chasing me and lied my way to a troubled acceptance of my disappearance and my ostentatiously suicidal text messages. Broken and exhausted, I trekked on hoping to climb out of the deepest circle of hell I call home and bring my death about more quickly. I just needed to rest. Just a little bit, but no sleep until I left the city.
I plopped down on a rail and clumsily wiggled a pack of cigarettes out of my pocket and then fished for the lighter underneath, still tangled with my keys. I extracted a cigarette and lit it. I inhaled as though I were breathing in the last of my humanity desperately trying to grab hold of the life around me. My hands shook as a cool breeze blew through my fingers. Cold. No, not cold. Just the effects of the cigarette. This was my fifth; too many if I were staying alive.
One last inhale and I knew I had to keep moving lest my will fail me and hell consume me. Onward. One foot in front of the other, stumbling along unleveled rocks and wooden planks. Whole sections of my thighs as well as small strands of tendons connected to my knees ached from the ten mile exertion, but I had to keep walking.”
-Excerpt from my new book. May be titled A Journey to Save My life
Depression has been my state of being since as early as 7 and perhaps earlier. With this also comes suicidal ideation or the incessant desire to end my suffering. Yes, since 7 years old, I have wished to cease my existence in the name of rest or at least the attempt to rest, but I fought on for one reason alone: I know I have a purpose, a role too important to simply leave humanity without the piece of existence only I carry. So, I stayed alive despite the years of crying and praying for god to kill me. I worked hard to develop the skills I have for the sake of my purpose. I have lived solely to fulfill my role; I lived for humanity not me.
My strength held until two years ago after I finished my first year of college broken, and then, I tried to kill myself in September 2014 after running away to college to start my third semester. I begged for help from my family before I tried to escape to college, but those at my father’s house did very little to meet my needs and prevent a complete breakdown. At the time, I did not want to talk to my mother or stepfather because the support they offered me throughout my first year of college left me scared and sleepless only sending me further into depression. They seemed to value their own interest over my psychological wellbeing. Amongst other forms of assistance, my mother and stepfather did, however, allow me to stay at their second home in solitude to finish my book, and my dad has paid for all the manuscripts I have handed out. Those are definitely some things I’m grateful for!
To get back to the more interesting and significant matter at hand, why the hell did I go to a random city in the U.S. to be homeless? Well, to save my life of course! See, I’ve been on antidepressants and have gone to therapy for years, but this still has not worked. The problem, I discovered, is not my brain chemistry nor my perception of reality, rather the structure of the part of civilization I lived in. The lack of a psychologically and emotionally safe place to live with proper support for my wellbeing and development left me in constant despair and pain. A break down was inevitable. I was a ticking time bomb, and I did explode.
As I lay upside down on the hill of rocks supporting the railroad tracks with my bare feet wiggling in the cool air and my eyes fixed on the glowing blue sky of dawn, I thought of one and the only one option left to try before killing myself: to take off to the streets with Alexander once again, but this time for at least a month. It just felt right. In my book Rise from the Mud…Breathe, I attempted to describe the force that guides my existence as my Guiding Compass, and it is precisely this force that led me from my self-destruction to San Francisco.
Before I left, however, I needed to take legal precautions to prevent my parents from making any decisions for my mental healthcare if I was deemed incapable of making my own decisions. I felt I was about to break and feared they would try to commit me or make other terrible decisions, which would only make matters worse, so I decided to make my great friend Quinten Bolden my power of attorney for my mental and regular healthcare. He is my agent and was the only one I could trust with my life. He was the only one I knew who truly understands what I am going through and my history and has the cognitive capacity to assist me. Thankfully, I have met more people out here I can trust.
I called Alexander, and he said he would do it, but we needed to get him to Houston first. Unfortunately, Alexander could not ride the bus from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to Houston, Texas due to his lack of any ID whatsoever, so after talking to him and figuring that the people he was staying with would not be able to help him in the time we needed, I decided to drive the 8 hours to pick him up and get him an ID myself. I had no idea if I could get him a state ID because he only had a birth certificate to prove his identity, but when I took him to the DPS, we were told an insurance card could be used as a secondary proof of identification. Well, that’s when he disclosed he had one, and we proceeded to fill out the application for a state ID. I paid the fee and voila! He now had an ID. Then, I drove the 8 hours back to Houston. We left for San Francisco a week later and from the start, adventure found us.
When I began this journey to save my life, I had no idea what I was doing or what I would find out here. The only thing I knew was that my favorite band was playing a show on December 2nd which I purchased tickets for. I didn’t know of the community of home-free travelers, nor that San Francisco is a popular stopping point on the “great traveler’s highway”. I didn’t know of Larkin Street Youth Services and the opportunities and resources they offer to homeless youth. I had no idea that there is a large group working towards eradicating homelessness and all ill-treatment of the homeless. I didn’t know that I would feel at home here with a much larger social support structure. I didn’t know so many people would insist on helping me (even yell “stop worrying about it” whenever I tried to say I’m good) because they see the value of my life and what I have to offer. I had no idea multiple people would try to help me publish my book. I didn’t know I would not have to search for help and validation, that it would find me.
What I found here is a real chance to finally get the support I need to build my life and become an independent man, and the first thing I plan to do is get deeply involved in the effort to eradicate homelessness. I do plan on finishing college as well as really start writing my new book. I also plan on making a section of this blog or a new blog for a sort of newspaper on homelessness here where I will write about services and their issues, spotlight people’s stories, report interviews with city and community officials and foundation leaders who are providing services for the homeless. I have a lot to do, and every day, I see more and more opportunities to fulfill my role in existence.