"Pass the Mic" is a storytelling space featuring the voices and stories of people with a lived experience of homelessness.
When I wake up in the morning, I honor myself with gratitude. I’m grateful for being alive right now, and I thank God for that. Yeah, I’ve lived a rough life, but this afternoon I’m going to open a bank account for the first time, and I feel proud of myself for where I am today.
This world can be deadly serious, I know that. But I’m a go-getter. Whatever time I have left on this Earth I’m ready to live it and live it well. I look forward to all the trials and tribulations that come my way. It means I’m still here, a survivor.
From the time I was 10 or 11 years old, I used to sit in front of the TV and watch a lot of cop shows, like Baretta, Starsky and Hutch, and Kojak. Me watching those shows, I always wanted to be a policeman, a detective.
Around that time my mother moved us down to Murphy Home projects. When she did that, all my dreams of being a police officer went out the window.
Since 1978 there hasn’t been a full year gone by that I wasn’t in the system.
I’m 54 years old now, and at a point in my life where I can’t do that no more. Something gotta give. This December 23 will mark a whole year since I’ve been home—clean and sober for the first time. I’ve never done it before. I’m doing everything in my power to meet that goal and feel so excited to get there.
Still, a lot’s changed since I was last home 15 years ago.
While I was in prison, we used to hear about how this drug fentanyl was killing a lot of people. At the time I thought they must just be using too much, just really abusing it.
I didn’t know the real power of that drug until I got out. I underestimated fentanyl, and it caused me to overdose two weeks after being released. I thank God my mother was there with her Narcan.
Today I have great respect for fentanyl. It do what it does to kill us. To kill me. That’s how I look at it.
I know if it wasn’t for God and my mother that day I wouldn’t be here now to share my story. We basically grew up together, my mother and me. She still calls me her baby, even though I’m the oldest of six children. I know there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for me. We draw strength from each other, that’s just how it’s always been.
Now I’m ready to pass on that strength to kids in the community, to share my experience and offer some guidance where I can. There’s a voice crying out in me that says, “Don’t you see what’s happening out here? Do something!”
The streets won’t show any love to those kids. I want to be the same grace of God for them that someone else was for me, and to save someone’s life the same way someone saved mine.
Being out now things are moving real fast for me, especially with all this new technology, but I’m not worried about catching up. I’m just gradually letting nature take its course. I have the opportunity now to live a healthy, stable life for the first time.
Sometimes at night I imagine I’m out on a date, eating dinner, and when it’s time to leave I hand my credit card to the waitress. Those are things I’m craving right now.
Anthony is ready to share his knowledge and experience with the community - are you?