As you round the corner in your SUV and head down the dimly lit street where the ladies stand on the corners, dressed in their “come hither” rags and flashing a smile that they hope attracts you to pull over, have you ever thought about how these ladies got to that street corner? Have you ever thought about their sad road to drugs, to street life and to prostitution?
What brought her here? Abuse brought her on her sad road to drugs, to street life and to prostitution
I promise you that they didn’t just round the corner in some trendy car before you did and then hop out and grab the street corner. I can also promise you that they don’t care if you quickly hide your wedding band as you pull over to greet them and they don’t care about your troubles either. They have more troubles than you can imagine and their road to your car door was paved in pain and scorn.
Somewhere between their trip to the stroll which you happened to be driving by tonight and their adolescence, they were unmercilessly abused and/or raped. Whether that abuse was long term or short term and whether it was physical, sexual, emotional verbal, any of the above, or all of the above, only they know. What you need to know is that it occurred, maybe through them having picked the wrong boyfriend, or being unlucky enough to have had the wrong parent or uncle or whatever; the who doesn’t matter at this point, just as the when doesn’t really matter.
It’s about the pain and the nightmares
What matters is that it hurt, and that it still hurts. It’s a pain they are running from, a nightmare that chases them even when they are awake and it is the reason they do their drugs and the reason they are closing your passenger car door and asking you what you are looking for. So, as you spend your time with them, remember their pain and remember that they, as much as anybody else, deserve your respect.
Also remember that they don’t want your sympathy or for you to play junior shrink and attempt to dive into their troubled mind or troubled heart. No, they just want you to treat them as if they are real, which they are, and as though they have feelings, which they do. They want to do their thing, get paid and get their drugs.
They don’t want you to fall in love with them and they are not going to fall in love with you. Hell, they can’t fall in love with you or anybody because they haven’t learned to love themselves yet. They don’t want you to try to fix them either. They are out here to get their fix, not to get fixed.
There go the memories for another few hours and with the memories go their tears.
They are only thinking about their drugs and the escape that those drugs offer them. Their habits have costs far higher than the actual monetary costs and they use their drugs to run from those “other than monetary costs”.
They cannot allow themselves to think about the human costs of their habits. The children and infants who feel abandoned and unloved by their dope using parent(s) must be forgotten. They cannot think about the brothers and sisters (if they are not also users) who pine for the opportunity to watch TV with them or even to just say, “Goodnight.”
No, they cannot allow those thoughts or thoughts of their own childhoods lost. There is no room in their lives for such now. They are addicts and they can only allow themselves fleeting excuses as to why they do what they do.
Drugs consume their lives
Many have long ago graduated from excuses into acceptance, and a lot of those individuals wear their addictions as a badge of honor symbolizing their complete contempt for the straight world. Time is short before their bodies will force them into sleep, and while awake, they have to concentrate on feeding their habits and not letting anything interfere with that. This means they must almost always be totally focused on acquiring their drugs. In fact, the only times they ever let such focus slip from their minds is when they were actually doing the drugs.
I’m running as fast as I can
Doing drugs is their time of escape, their reward for starving their bodies for days, for going sleepless for multiple nights in a row, for enduring the boyfriends who often beat them, for risking jail or death by selling their asses and for allowing the world to look upon them as vermin. That these things are evil, wrong, bad, unhealthy, or even too heavy of a price to pay never once occurs to most of them.
The girls know they don’t feel good about selling their asses, but for the most part that is the extent of their concerns. Life and pain are cheap to an addict. They become even cheaper when compared to the high that the drugs offer them. Cocaine is an anesthetic for their hearts, minds, and bodies, but sadly, not their souls, and like any anesthetic, it only kills the pain for a short time.
They have hearts and souls too
Each of these girls has a heart and a soul. It is easier to find in some than in others because each of them has come to drugs in her own way, but while each has a unique story, most of the stories are strikingly similar.
Before drugs became a power in their lives, before drugs could cover their hearts and mask their fears, before drugs became the only tolerable solution of which they could conceive, before drugs worked their way into their systems and became the reason for their existence, long before all of this, some trusted authority figure in their lives violated that natural right given him by God and man, and forever damning his soul, violated these then innocents, either sexually, physically, emotionally, verbally, or all of the above.
It is memories of those violations and the fears of those memories that set in motion a chain reaction that seized their hearts, stole their minds, and now offers their bodies to anybody who has the right amount of dollars to get them high or to get them unsick (replenish the heroin their body is physically craving). It is memories of those violations that stole their self respect, and almost forced them into drugs to find any happiness in their lives.
The often unvoiced cry of the street girl junkie is, “Don’t touch my heart; you will hurt it, but anything else is available for the right price.” Such is the power of abuse in their lives. Drugs are their anesthetic of choice and prostitution is merely the most expedient way to acquire that anesthetic.
Life and pain are cheap on the street, but relief is not. No, relief has a price and when that relief is drugs, the price they pay is total control of their lives.
It gets worse though. When you drop this lady back off at her corner or wherever she asks you to drop her, she will meet up with her “man”. I put the word “man” in quotation marks because he might be a male, but he is not a “man” by any sense of the definition. This guy will take at least half of her dope, maybe call her a few vile names and maybe smack her around a little. Then he will send her out to make some more money and score some more dope for him to smoke or inject. This is a cycle that repeats itself multiple times, almost every night.
Are you helping them or hurting them?
So now you know who you are looking at when you round that corner in your SUV. Now you have a perspective that will hopefully change the way you think of and treat these ladies. Now you get to decide whether or not to just keep driving.
I can’t tell you what is right because I don’t know. Are you helping them by stopping or are you hurting them? One could argue or rationalize either side. “I’m part of the problem.” “No, I’m giving them money.” “Yes, I’m hurting them; I’m feeding their drug habit.” “No, I’m not hurting them; they will be here anyhow and I’m offering respite from the street.””Yes, I’m hurting them by being part of them disrespecting themselves.” “No, I’m helping them because I affirm their desirability to them.”
The arguments and counter arguments are almost endless. I’ve been to those corners myself and might be there again. I’d love your opinions; maybe they would help me make up my mind.
My voice is limited; yours is limitless
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