I remember

I remember the first time I got in the car, the guy pulled down his pants and it smelled. It stunk. I puked. The fun and games were over. The more my addiction grew, the more the pain I experienced. The more cars I had to jump in and out of. I remember one night I got into this car with this guy. He seemed to be very nice and then all of a sudden he put a knife to my throat. He told me not to move. And he made me do things to him. And right there at that point, I thought that I was going to lose my life because he had the knife pressing upside my throat. All of a sudden I was screaming. I was crying. I was saying please don’t hurt me. And so he said to me, “You like this? You like what you do?” There was so much anger that I heard in that man’s voice that I never thought I was gonna make it out of that car, but finally he let me go. I was so glad. There was this one other time. This guy couldn’t talk and I thought, Oh this is gonna be easy. He took me down this alley and put handcuffs on me. And he had a gun. Once again, I don’t know how I got out of that one. But I can remember he stripped me of all my clothes and he left me there still with handcuffs on. When he finished, he left. Fortunately, the cops came by. I got arrested for prostitution, but at least I got out of the handcuffs. They didn’t do anything to the guy because they couldn’t catch him. I remember another incident I was sitting behind this hotel. The guy and I were sitting in a car. He had his clothes off and I still had all my clothes on. That was his fetish. The cops came by, told him to pull his clothes up and arrested me. You know, um, the things that I did. I hate. And sometimes I ask myself. Why did my life go in that direction? I have had men use me. Take everything that I had. Even in relationships. And its very hurtful. Very painful. You ask yourself, why. And then sometimes you even tell yourself, like, this is as good as it gets. It doesn’t get any better. This is the way I’m supposed to be. Nobody loves and cares about me anyway so why should I care about myself but all of those are lies we tell ourselves. I guess we all go through our own journeys and our own pain. I think that’s it.

To the Men

As for the men out there, you’re not helping. You’re hurting. You’re hurting us because you’re making it so easy for us to stay on drugs. You’re hurting us when you make us perform acts and you’re nasty and you stink. We have to smell that because we want that drug so much that were willing to do anything for it. Sometimes its not even about drugs, sometimes its about paying your rent to keep a roof over head.

You’re driving along in your cars. You’re thinking nobody sees you. But god sees you. He knows who you are. And trust and believe me, someone else is going to inflict the pain that you inflict on that woman that you pick up in your car on to you whether you know it or not. There should be a law. The same law they have for women should also apply to men. How could the woman perform the act if the man doesn’t stop and allow them to? They pick us up, we don’t pick them up. But it’s the woman who gets in trouble for it and not the man. He just gets a slap on the hand and then can go ahead on and pick up the next one. I have had cops pull me over so many times. Sometimes they pull over and say “what are you doing here? Oh let me check and see if you have a warrant.” And then if I have a warrant, they say “okay lets go because you were in the wrong area.” They could see me getting in the car with a guy. And then the next thing you know, there are sirens ringing. They say, “What’s his name? Do you know his name? If you don’t know his name, why are you in the car with him? Youre under arrest.” It seems like they just wait. They wait. They sit back and they wait and they see you make a wrong move and that’s it. The thing is that that there is no program out there for a woman who is going through prostitution. How many times do they arrest you and put you in a place where you can change your life? Where’s the help? All of these buildings going up, there is not one that says: This is for women. We’re going help them go to school. Were gonna help get some training for them. Were gonna help them turn their lives around because this is somebody’s mother. No. Instead, they arrest you and throw you in jail. Then what? You get out and you do the same thing because that’s all you know. Thank god for those of us that got out and turned our lives around. But there’s so many millions still out there. They sit on their tails over there in city hall and look out their windows. They look out at the park and they know its happening. Then they come out in front (of everyone) and say that they’re doing something about the problem. But year after year after year, it is the same women on the street. The same people are sitting in that park. Some make it, some die. That’s it.

Hope: Today I Want to Grow Flowers

Going into a program was the best thing I could have done. I still carry the love and care the program with me. It taught me that what happened to me wasn’t my fault and that I was just a victim. It gave me a place where I could feel safe. It helped me to learn about myself and to love myself. The counselors there really worked with me and they used to tell me all of the time that I am worth it. Nobody had every told me that I was worth anything. After I finished that program, I went on to another woman’s facility and got a job working with kids. During this time, somebody told me to go into Mass rehab and that they would help me go to school. Now I’m fifty-five years old and graduated. I’ve graduated rehabilitation programs and college with an associate’s degree. And I’m not going to stop there. I love the work that I do today. I work in a recovery facility and I get to help so many people just like me. I still feel broken but I also know that as long as I do the right thing, that the right things will happen. I feel that god is using me and that I still have a long way to go. I’m here to tell whoever is out there that they don’t have to go as far as I went or as deep. They can stop now, because there are people out there who care. There are people out there that love you. There’s help available whether it’s at your doctor’s office or your church. You just have to believe in yourself. We don’t have to continue stepping into that same hole. We have to change so that the younger generation can see that there is a way out and that things do get better. That life is worth living. Sometimes you have to remove yourself totally from everything that you care about in order to save yourself. I thank god for where I am today. I have a long way to go and I have a lot of life to live. It is doable and I believe in myself today. I’m grateful. I’m very, very grateful for the people in my life. I do a lot of work in the community and I love the community. Every time I walk out my door, I see me. I see me. I see me through the person lying on the park bench with no place to go. I see me in the prostitute jumping in and out of cars. I see me in that drug addict looking for that next fix. I see me. Been there, done that. By the grace of god, I don’t have to do it anymore. Today I just want to grow flowers. Thank you.