Meet Lucky, a college graduate from Seattle living on the streets of Denver.
“I always have my music ’cause my music is me.”
[Intro noise, crowd talking, fades out]
I feel like I do expose a lot of myself to people. I talk a lot about myself and a lot about my daughter and a lot about what I want to do in life. So a lot of random people will know my story.
‘Cause it’s something that ails me and pains me, but it’s also something that is a trial that I’m happy that I had to go through. And it’s an enlightened story. It’s a happy story still. A young lady just trying to find her place.
There’s nothing wrong with that, just as long as it happens before you destroy another young lady’s life.My daughter. So I feel like the more I talk about it, the more upfront it is right there in my face and I can’t run from it.
Okay. I go by Lucky and I am the mother of a three-year-old baby girl named Iris and I grew up in Seattle, Washington.
What I experienced in Seattle is a very open city, a very cultured city. I experienced the joys of growing up next to open water and also the mountains. I don’t know, I had a very adventurous childhood. I did a lot of different summer camps and a lot of different programs. I don’t know. My grandmother was the one that raised me and my three brothers so she had us experiencing a lot, always afterschool programs, always some kind of extra sport or activity.
And I think mainly she did that because we were foster kids through our grandmother because our mom and our fathers – I mean and our father had issues with either selling drugs or doing drugs and things like that. But I don’t know. I guess I would say I had an okay childhood. There was different things that took place in my childhood that kind of affect me now in my adulthood. But I mean what child doesn’t go through some traumatic things.
Well, I’ll start with the positives I guess. So because of all those different summer camps and our grandmother having so much involved in different things it caused me to be very open to different people, like people who are maybe gay or of a different race or a different culture. I have always been open to and appreciate it and then I don’t know, I am a musician.
I play cello and I’m a vocalist and I’m an audio engineer, graduated from University of Colorado, Denver. I always have my music ’cause my music is me. literally if you are the creator of something you always have that. And so I know if I get too down and out I can lean on the fact that I can burst into song at any moment to try to boost myself up, you know what I mean?
I walk up and down the street singing and that’s what a lot of people will say about me. “You’ve always got your earphones in, walking up and down the street, listening to music, singing and stuff, screaming at the top of your lungs like a banshee.” And I’m just like, “Well, I can’t help it.”
And I know that if I’m not pressed about a situation, whatever it is that I need usually comes to me so why not sing along the way?
So I think our grandmother having us involved in extra activities helped us, especially when I had to deal with some of the negative which would be being molested, not having my mother and my father there. Having to deal with rejection at a very young age, you know, so the things that she provided for us really kind of helped us ’cause we had early childhood trauma anyway.
And I lost my father at 13 so it was a very brief time that he was even in my life and he wasn’t really that much involved in my life anyway. I don’t know. That was kind of saddening and it kind of hurts. And then for my mother to not be there because she’s chasing a high, that hurt a lot too. So it has me – what that did to me to affect me in my life nowadays is that I have a daughter and I’m not very much involved in her life at all.
And that started happening about a year and a half ago. She’s three. And the reason why I’m not that much involved in her life is because I now have an issue with drugs. I now have an issue with instability. First it started just dropping her off until I got stable and then months and months and months and months passed and here we are today with me still not stable and still unable to take care of my daughter and now I’ve picked up a drug habit. And it’s gonna be even harder.
And I know she needs me and I need to stop this vicious cycle of mothers abandoning their kids or mothers abandoning themselves and their kids. I don’t know. But I know that it needs to stop and that I have a beautiful girly face that doesn’t deserve it. She didn’t do anything.
What I mean is is that when you find yourself hard to deal with because of all the things that’s been put on you and your life, you tend to just give up and put your hands up and wash your hands of you. To wash your hands of you is a very strange feeling because I’ve done it so I can speak on it. And it’s just like, who cares? Like for the fact that I never thought I would be someone ever in my 27 years of living would be someone who smokes meth. And I do now. You know?
I used to make fun of people like me. And to me, that would be giving up on yourself.
I can tell you the whole weeks that it took place where I even picked this shit up. I was working at 5280 Healthcare. I was working one day and my baby daddy, I found out that he had been cheating on me the night before so I packed all my stuff up and moved to my mom’s. I go to work the next day, I get off at around 3:00 and I hear my daughter crying and banging on my mother’s bathroom door.
And when I first come into the house I kick off my shoes, put my bags down and I go into the room to see where my mom and my daughter are. And my daughter is outside of my mother’s bathroom door banging on it and crying. And my mom is inside of the bathroom smoking crack. She had relapsed. And she was clean and sober for about five, four years and she was working at Raleigh House.
She had her CAC I and II and she decided with that she wanted to give back to people who struggled with drug addiction. So she had relapsed. I don’t know why and what led her to do that but it’s not her story, it’s mine. So she chose to do that while my daughter’s outside banging on the door. Now I’m a very zero to 100 type of person, very polarized person.
I’m a Scorpio so when I see that situation I’m just like, “I got to get out of here and I got to get my daughter out of here, too. What the fuck is wrong with my mom?” So I grabbed my daughter and I grabbed all of the things that I could grab and carry and I take the bus back to my baby dad’s house and I tell him, “I’ll be back in two or three months to pick up my daughter. I need you to be the primary parent right now because I don’t have any place to stay. I’m unstable but I’m not coming back with you ’cause you cheated on me and I found it out yesterday and now my mom is relapsed and have my daughter outside banging on the bathroom door. So here’s Iris, this is a better place for her right now at the moment and I’m gonna go.”
I asked my friend if I could stay with him for a little bit and he said yeah. I go and I stay with him for a little bit and I use this website just when I’m bored to talk to people and this guy, he notices my ambition and my will to kind of succeed and pretty much he saw the crown that I wear on top of my head which is impossible to most, sometimes even me.
But he saw it, okay? And he asked me, he was like, “Can we hang out? Let’s smoke one day.” Blasé blah. And I smoke a lot of marijuana even to this day. And I was like, “Yeah, of course.” And I’m living at my friend OJ’s house, 14th and Dayton. And he pulls up on me at around – sometime that afternoon and I’m thinking to myself like I’m gonna get into this car with this guy which isn’t really too strange for me ’cause I don’t mind risking things like that. It’s not that big of a deal. I’ve never really been hurt in that sense.
And I get in the car with this guy and we’re smoking weed, we’re talking. I sing a song that I had just wrote for him and he’s telling me how he likes my style and all of this and that. And then he decides, “Oh well, let’s smoke the blunt in the backseat.” So we get in the backseat and I’m smoking the blunt and I pass it to him, he hits it a couple times, he passes it back to me and then he’s like, “Do you mind if I smoke my shit back here?” And I’m like, “Your shit, what do you mean?” And before I tell you, he – this guy here he’s African-American which I thought African-Americans never smoked meth. Like I didn’t think that any black people did that.
And so he’s like, “Do you mind if I smoke my stuff?” And I said, “What’s your stuff?” I said, “If it’s crack, uh-uh. I have a huge issue with that. My mother is on that, I need to – um-um, I can’t be around people who do that. Like no, I sell that shit but I hate them, too, you know what I mean? Like get away from me.”
And he’s like, “No, I don’t smoke crack, it’s speed.” I say, “Speed? What the fuck? What do you mean?” He’s like, “You know, meth, clear.” And I’m like, “Oh shit, I mean I guess I don’t care. I ain’t never really been around that. I hear it don’t really have a smell. I don’t care.” And the windows aren’t really rolled down. So after about 15, 20 minutes me smoking my blunt and inhaling that, he’s sitting right next to me smoking that and inhaling that as well. So it’s like mixtures of all kinds of smoke in the backseat of this car. So I’m like, “Oh shit, I think I’m high off of your – whatever you’re doing.”
So I roll down the window and he’s like, “Well, if you’re high already, you might as well just hit it.” Now mind you just a few days ago I moved into my friend’s house because my baby daddy’s cheated on me and my mom relapsed, I have to leave my daughter with him. I lost my job at 5280 because there was just so much shaken up at one time and I’m displaced. And within being displaced there just so happened to be something that was offered to me while I’m feeling all of this, where I have all this baggage.
This guy doesn’t know this. I didn’t let him know what’s going on in my life. I just showed him the positive side of me, sing him a song. I didn’t talk about all the hurt that I was feeling. So when he offered me that, he didn’t know he was offering me pretty much to shake hands with the devil. He didn’t know he was offering me something that was gonna keep me stagnant and something that numbs the pain and something that makes sex better even though I was already numbing my pain with being promiscuity. Like he didn’t know he was handing me my good, my bad and my ugly at one time. And so I hit it in the backseat of that car with him and I stayed with him for about another eight more hours after that.
I didn’t arrive until the evening of the next day and I had a show. I just get dressed and I go and I’m high off of this new drug, everybody – or I have to perform. Like I have to stand on stage alone by myself and perform and I’m just like, okay, this is crazy but I’m ready.
And I do it and I hear a voice come out of me that I’ve never, ever heard before. Like it’s like my voice is great, but I realize when I’m high my voice is, like, amazing. Like, I don’t know what happens. I don’t know if the smoking of said drug like coats your throat so it makes it sound differently. I have no idea but it’s just great. And that’s another reason why I got hooked on it is because I feel like my music abilities just boosted 20 times through the roof. Like it was just great. But I now know that if I have that voice in me, it’s been in me the whole time and it’s something that I can always access.
It’s just that when I’m doing that drug it makes me more comfortable. It makes me more free. It makes me more out of control, meaning I’m someone that always has to have my hands on whatever is going on with my life. I have to be in control. And what this drug does is it keeps me not in control. Anything could happen while I’m high off of this drug which also leads me to dangerous things as well and not rational thinking. So that’s how I got hooked on it. That was the week right there that I had an experience with methamphetamine. And ever since then it’s just been in my life.
I started prostituting, not necessarily for meth but I met another guy off of Backpage is – it’s like Craigslist but like for black market things. And he seen something in me too and he told me, “You should take this ambition and put it towards escorting.” Okay, I like sex anyway and I’ve been exposed to it at a very young age and I’m doing this new drug and I’m all these things, why not? I don’t care.
I don’t really hold my body or my body parts body parts to any value so if somebody else want to hold value to it and pay me for it, then great. So for a few months I was actually having sex with these johns. And then when the guy that I met in the local chatroom who was involved with me with this shit decided to beat my ass. I was like I don’t even have to have sex with anybody. I can make them think that that’s what gonna happen but that’s – doesn’t have to happen. So I kind of got up and stood on my own two feet in that sense of it.
I decided, “I’m not having sex with none of these people no more. I’m not gonna do it.” So I stopped that. But I still entertained gentlemen, but more what I did was I would sell them drugs. I would make sure I found the johns who were interested in partying with me so I can push the party favors and have a sexy little lingerie outfit and shit on but all the while he wants a ball of whatever and I’m charging him a substantial – a lot more than whatever the cost of it is and only giving them a certain amount.
And so they’re helping me to re-up and all this stuff and then all the while here’s my mother who’s relapsed a couple months earlier. And she’s living in and out of these Colfax hotels. I’m living at Staybridges and Marriotts and DoubleTrees and the Wynn and all these different other places. She’s living like the bop life, like walking up and – and what I mean by bop life is chasing a rock up and down Colfax.
You know, she’s automatically just turned back into that monster and I’m just like, “Damn, I need to go help my mom. This looks crazy.” And I’m on drugs, you know what I mean? So I’m just like, “Okay.” And I’m selling drugs. I’m like, “Okay, mom. So hook me up with your plug. Who out here on this block is the big man on Colfax?” So she hooks me up with that person and then I get hooked up with another person and I get hooked up with another person and another person.
I start meeting all these different people and eventually the guy I was with, my boyfriend, my business manager, whatever you want to call him, he went to prison. So I’m left out here by myself with all these connections. You think I’m not gonna continue to do this on my own? It’s a life that I’ve been conformed to living. I don’t have my daughter, I don’t have my own place to stay. So I have to stay at these different various hotels with my mother and stuff. And I have to always have a sack on me with three different sacks in it and have it be opioid or that fake weed stuff – or I mean, yeah, marijuana and clear and crack and powder. I’m walking around with that all day long.
Now, so here I am doing this and then I fall deeply into my addiction, which leads me to not have everything that was in my sack – previous in my sack. Less money. Backpage got closed down so I really didn’t have no idea what I’m doing. My main source of money – I would be making $900.00 or $1,500.00 a night. A night.
And then there’s – that just stops abruptly like that. It’s scary. So it’s just like, damn, what do I do now? I’m addicted to this drug, I have no idea what to do. I don’t have no boyfriend, I don’t feel like – I don’t have the love of my daughter because I’m pushing her away because of the life I’m living. I don’t have really too many good friends and if they are my friends out here they’re wondering if I got some money, if I got some weed, if I got this, if I got that. They’re not really my friends.
The homeless part pretty much started after OJ and I had a falling out. And that was in the beginning of this tragic part of my life. But I was staying in and out of really nice hotels because of the money that I was making.
So I never realized how homeless I was ’cause I was ordering room service.
When Backpage got shut down — and I left from Courtyard Marriott to jail to the Kings Inn Motel. Kings Motor Inn Motel which is on Colfax and pretty much Peoria, Colfax and Oswego. To go from the Courtyard Marriott to the Kings with your mother sharing a bed with the roaches and everything else, it just disturbed me. And I remember they used to make fun of me at the Kings because I had to take a shower.
And I was like, “Cousin, there’s a roach in the bathtub.” And I started freaking out and she was like, “Girl, you better wipe that bathtub down and take a shower.” I was like, “Hell, nah.” And I sat there for about three more hours in my own funk because I did not want to get in the bathtub with a roach. [Laughter]
So it was just like that’s when the homelessness really hit me. Oh, I’m homeless. They were feeding people House of Purpose which is a church in Aurora area. So, the House of Purpose was serving food in the parking lot of the Kings. It was called their Motel Ministry. And I went down there and I got food and that’s when it really hit me, like, I’m walking in this line with homeless people. I’m homeless too, grabbing burritos and such things and water and socks and toothbrush and toothpaste and all this stuff because I no longer have the luxuries of just having everything I want because Backpage is closed down or I no longer have the luxuries of living in a house because of all the decisions I had to make when everything in my life was going topsy-turvy.
So then I go to jail. And I keep going in and out of jail the whole year of 2018. When I got out of jail this time I was like, “Oh, I can’t do it. I’m not living that life. I don’t want to do any more drugs. I don’t want to do this, do that.” I had a girlfriend in jail that I – we were kind of weird on the sexual tip, like we really didn’t touch each other like that or anything like that but I’ve experienced a lot with her. And we let each other into each other’s minds. And she saw something in me that was bigger than the drugs and bigger than the prostitution and bigger than all of that. She saw who I was previous to being introduced into this life, you know what I mean?
And so I was talking to her and I got out and I didn’t keep up with letters to her. I didn’t go to meetings. I didn’t keep up with my sobriety. I didn’t keep up with any of that. And so I tried to still be involved in my daughter’s life and stuff, but that was even hard because at this point I’ve been in jail for four months. I’ve been out of her life for four months. Now I wasn’t really that much involved before but I would always every week take her out somewhere.
She would spend the night and I would drop off money to either her dad, her aunties and uncles or my grandmother, you know what I mean? She always had the newest shoes and everything. I fell off from that because I was in jail. And then when I got out of jail I didn’t have my Social Security Disability income. I didn’t know really the game out there when it came to the escorting. I didn’t have any drugs on me to push. I didn’t have anything. I was just fresh out of jail wearing the government-issued orange shoes, you know? ‘Cause I didn’t even have shoes. My brother had a bed bug infestation while I was in jail so he had to throw away all of my hair, my extra hair and had to throw away all of my clothes.
And so I didn’t have anything and I’m just sitting there thinking to myself like, what the fuck am I gonna do? Like I thought it was gonna be way different when I got out. So within that week of me getting out it’s doing some drugs, numbing the pain. So instead of me hopping on to see how I can make some money, how I can get back – thrown into society and be a productive member of it, I’m doing drugs again. And I’m meeting the wrong people again. So, now, my life, ever since getting out of jail has just been up and down, crazy.
Like recently I was getting high and it had been like four days since I had some sleep. And I just drove myself crazy. I was standing on 14th and Kingston, bawling my eyes out for hours. And people were looking at me like what the – is wrong with her. And I feel like they look at the homeless in the same way, ask if they’re asking for anything or if they’re just standing there looking like they need something and I looked like I needed something. I wasn’t sure of what it was at the time but I needed something.
Someone walked up to me and said, “Do you need something? Are you okay? Do you need anything?” And I’m just like, “No. I don’t know who you are and I don’t know if you’re against me – with me or against me.” Then I’m just crying in his face and he’s like, “Okay, well, it’s okay. It’s gonna be okay. Whatever is going on it’s gonna be okay.” And he just had to walk away from me, you know, ’cause I couldn’t even tell him anything. And then somebody else saw me and they were driving a taxi.
And they were like, “Are you okay? Are you okay for real? Are you fine? Hello?” And I’m just like, “I don’t know.” And they’re like, “Get in.” And at this time I’m an escort/prostitution. I know that’s dangerous and that’s stupid and I’m not that addicted to any drugs to be desperate enough to hop in somebody’s crazy car but I’m crying, I don’t have nowhere to go. I don’t have anything.
So I hop in this man’s car but I don’t tell him, “Oh, I’ll do this for some sex,” or he didn’t offer me any sex. He handed me $2.00 and some naan bread and said, “You look hungry. I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s going on. Any time you see my taxi, you can get in and get help. I’ll help you.”
And I get out and I walked down the street and I hear this lady, she’s screaming and she don’t have no shoes on, she’s walking in glass and shit and she’s like, “Yeah, you stupid. He has all the answers right there.” And she points towards the church that’s right on the corner that I’m walking by. “He has all the answers right there.”
And I look over and then there’s the church. Like it’s God, you know. So I just sit there and I’m just crying and it’s all emotional and it seems like everything is pointing me in the direction of feeling better and getting off my ass and leaving this drug alone.
And so the next day, by 2:30 in the afternoon, I’m at the behavioral and mental health services of Aurora asking them and telling them I need help.
I will say it’s led me to not turn my nose up to homeless men and women and people who use methamphetamine ’cause those people who are using methamphetamine they may be my friend now. And some of them may be using it for the same reasons I’m using it. It’s because of the trauma they went through in their life and they’re trying to numb some pain. And some people use it because–I don’t know, they’re spoiled and they just want to be high and want to just not pay attention to anything. But that’s also a mental health issue, too. So I just feel like now whoever is using this drug or whoever is out here on the streets, we’re like-minded, most of us. That’s how I look at us now.
But being incarcerated with those women, having to be on the street sometimes, selling those drugs to those people, doing those drugs with said people have led me to believe, “Oh, me and these other human beings are one and the same.” Don’t close your ears and your mind off just because someone doesn’t have a certain color spoon in their mouth, silver, bronze, gold, what have you. They might have something good to say. They may have something positive to bring in your life as well, you know? That’s all I can say is that I don’t judge these people anymore out here. The people I see at The Gathering Place, the people I sit down and have a meal with here at The Gathering Place, I don’t look at them as any different than me.
They told me about The Gathering Place in jail So I just started slowly coming here whenever I needed help and I wanted to turn my life around. So there would be times where I would want to go and get help and then I would fall off again and not care about help and just want to get high and just want to–just crawl up in a ball in a corner somewhere.
And then there would be times where I dropped right back on the ball with The Gathering Place. Now, right now in this moment, in me trying to stabilize my life, The Gathering Place has been a great help. They’ve helped me with food for me and my honey to be able to eat. They do laundry here which is great because sometimes the motels I stay in don’t have laundry available.
They’ve helped me look for jobs and careers and things like that. I haven’t yet really gotten stable with the financials, but I know someone here is helping me with getting back on my Social Security Disability. And someone at MHCD, which was pointed to – someone told me to go to MHCD from Gathering Place. So, that’s a great help. That’s everything I ever wanted and it’s taken me a year and a half to get there and the help has been here the whole time.
Currently right now I have a fiancé. He loves me and he takes care of me. Every night I’m sleeping next to him. He’s there to tell me and boost up my confidence in being able to go get my daughter. I see my daughter more often. Yes, it’s not as much as I would like and each visit is not how I want it to go, but it’s okay because I know I’m gonna get to a point where she has her own room in my house where we sleep under the same roof every night. Pretty much what this man is giving me and what he’s allowed me to give to myself is hope.
And yes, we still do have our drug habit. Like he has the same drug habit as me, but he doesn’t let it take control of him emotionally like I do and he doesn’t let it pick and choose how he’s gonna live life or control his decisions like I maybe sometimes do. All I know is that I’m thankful for him. I’m thankful for my new outlook on life and I’m thankful that I’m getting back on track. Like I have my daughter’s birth certificate and Social Security card. I have my birth certificate and my ID and my Social Security card which is something I haven’t been able to have for almost a year and a half I ain’t had it.
You know, that’s just crazy how drugs can just make you forget that you have responsibilities and that you have to walk around with an identity and that you have to have a job and that you – like I love music, like I said. I used to go to live shows every other week. I haven’t been to a live music performance in a year and a half and that just is like crazy to me. It blows my mind. So I told my babe, I said, “July 19th is Global and I want to go. Like we have to go.”
Like that is like the next thing we need to put money into. And the reason why we have to go is because that’s how I know I’m getting me back. That’s how I’ll know that I’m going down the right road is because that doesn’t make sense to me how I haven’t been able to go see some live music. And yeah, that seems very simple but it’s the simplicity of life that lets you know that you are living.
We are all struggling with something out here. The reason why we do the drugs we do is because we’re trying to self-medicate. Some of us can’t keep up with all psychiatrist appointments. Some of us don’t have Medicaid. Some of us don’t have the ability to even tell anyone what’s going on or what’s inside their head. They’re afraid. I’m ready to shout it to the world if it’s gonna get me some help and get me to my daughter quicker.
And she has a stepdad, you know? My fiancé. We are going to get married and then he’s going to ask Iris when she’s of age if it’s okay if he adopts her. So I know me, him and Iris know where we want to be. Iris may not be able to speak on it like I can ’cause she’s young, but she knows she wants to be with her mom. I know she wants to be with me. So it’s just the ability to make that happen.
I’m feeling really good about that. And the support of The Gathering Place, the support of House of Purpose, the support of church and fellowshipping with other human beings and like-minded people in any way–be it sitting down at the table and having a cup of coffee, to me and you here, me telling you my story, it all helps. It really does.
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