An illustration of different types of art
CHARLTON BATTLE

I recently returned to Street Sense Media as a vendor. But when I worked here previously, I also contributed to the paper as an artist. I have not been able to start writing or drawing as much as I’d like to. As bad as I want to. My obligations to the courts, including drug classes, and my medical needs fill up my time outside of work each week.

My patience and dedication to responsibility are really being tested. I’m fighting to keep a lot of that tension from turning into depression. Even more, I’m fighting to keep myself from using drugs with the excuse of not being able to handle the pressure.

I’m in good hands with a very good team of people. They at least seem to care enough about their profession to help me. It’s an all-around team: a parole officer, health-care professional, drug classes, my spouse, and a sponsor with Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Street Sense Media and our customers have been there for me too, as I find myself homeless again and in need of income. This paper helped me enough to get back into an apartment last year.

But my slumlord of 18 years promised to pay me $4,000 to move out of that place so that she could sell the building. I agreed, verbally, but that turned into $2,500 when I became incarcerated, and it ended up being $0 by the time I was released. When I got out, I went from counting on a start to having nothing at all, including some of the most important things, like my two cats, Uno and Dos. I looked forward to seeing them and still do. I’m now feeding stray cats when I can.

Anyway, I’m not into a lot of complaining at this point in my life. I’ve been there and done that. I’m realizing that I don’t need to be rewarded for every little thing that I do. Although I do need to eat. I’m taking this opportunity to be able to express my feelings and hopefully be able to help someone in the process.