Eye opener

I headed up to the Northeast part of the country for the past week for some much needed R & R and some introspection about where I am after 16 months. It seems I have not been able to separate myself while I’m actually in the city. Or so I discovered for the past week. I spent a little time in Virginia Beach, drove up to Atlantic City for a couple of days and then spent the rest of my time in Philadelphia.

First I was surprised that America still has cities that are functional. Lights work, things run on time, there are things to do after dark and you won’t get mugged walking the dog. People are upbeat and positive- yeah even in Philly!!! I was there for 3 days and they only had 1 murder. Think about that. We go through 4 or 5 a day sometimes and we might be about a 10th of the size.

I’m not attempting to be negative. It’s frankly just the reality of the situation from my perspective. Every one of us is different. Things effect me in certain ways that others may not be give a second thought. That’s what this site is about. One persons perspective at a certain time at a certain place about a certain thing.

Soul searching was a big part of getting away. I’ve gotten out of town occasionally, mainly for work though so I didn’t really bring my emotional baggage with me on those trips. Examining oneself is never the easiest thing to do. I don’t like what I saw and felt in the past week so I’m going to have to take the Chris Rose route. I’m going to need some help.

It’s been 16 months. 16 long months and I haven’t moved on from the storm. I’ve finally accepted that fact. The anger of what happened is still inside, still bubbling up at times that confuse and frighten me. The storm still dominates my thoughts and my discussions and it’s just not healthy. I will never be a person who lives for reality TV, the hot new CD from Beyonce or what kind of clothes I wear. That’s just not who I am. I give a shit about this city and this country. Not to say that those who ACCEPT that the national news feeds us stories about Ms America and her personal problems don’t care about city or country. It’s just about priorities and it seems that New Orleans is not really a priority anymore. OK, I accept that too. Doesn’t make it right but I accept that some folks just don’t have the inner fortitude to care anymore. One guy, as I was changing planes actually asked how New Orleans was- 3 YEARS after the storm. I didn’t have the energy to tell him we just hit a year a couple months back.

I have to find that happy medium where I can still LIVE life and care. I’m not there yet. I’ve got some issues that I’m going to need to confront. I’m jealous of everyone who doesn’t have to feel this pain on a daily basis. I get angry with people who aren’t coming back. I know that’s not right, but again its one person, one place, one time, one feeling. I get even more angry at the one’s who come back and sit on their fucking ass like this is vacation land. Drinking “forty’s” on the porch at 7:30 in the morning as I’m going to work. If I didn’t think I’d get shot I’d roll the window down and tell those fuckers to get a good damn job and start helping instead of keeping us down. I get frustrated at those who don’t want progress around here, who just want the status quo so they can keep their power and keep the sheep in the herd. I want to make a change but the stagnation that has struck New Orleans has infiltrated my progress and now I’m mentally burned out or something to that degree.

If I didn’t love the company I work for, I might have already checked out. I’ve thought of it, late at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering if there will be a future in New Orleans for me. I’m guessing we all have thought about it, maybe it would be easier to move on somewhere else. To start over somewhere that has things that work. Somewhere that’s not going to be a social experiment for, oh say the next 20 years. For now anyway, my eyes have been opened. I’m going to stick around for awhile, attempt to get some help (yeah e-mail if you know a Doc who can take patients) and see if I can live life. Quote from Shawshank Redemption says it best: Either get busy living or get busy dying. The latter might be easier some days but the former sure holds promise.

5 Comments so far

  1. Jack Ware (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 7:59 am

    Great Post. I think a lot of people would discover the same things about themselves if they could get away, and would even bother to try. Introspection is only difficult if you don’t find something you like. Tricky thing is, most people find all kinds of unexpected shit; most of which they don’t like.

    For me, I think the thing that’s pushed me a little closer to the proverbial edge is a the fact that the only thing I see as making the kind of recovery we all want is the one thing we don’t want to come back: the crime. The metal thieves are soul-crushing. And the return of the murder rate has forced me to accept the fact that the city will not likely be rebuilt any better or different than it was. It’s just getting a fresh coat of paint.

    Good luck getting some help….unless something changes, I think sooner or later we’re all going to end up in that waiting room.

  2. Jill (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 9:15 am

    After feeling like you have for the past year, we have finally made the decision to leave New Orleans for a place where things work, and people are happy. It’s been a difficult process to finally come to the conclusion that this city just isn’t the same place we have loved for so long.

    We have helped our neighbors gut their homes (after we gutted and tore down our own) We have spent scads of money in Orleans Parish to help jump start the economy. We have volunteered and donated time, money and elbow grease to help with the recovery. Yet, here we are.

    Today I refer to our relationship with New Orleans these days as the “Stockholm Syndome”…a mental place where we begin to actually sympathize with our captor (the city), and believe we deserve a place with no leadership, so progress, no good radio, no doctors or dentists, bad schools, etc. The list goes on.

    I refuse to settle for the lowest common denominator of life. As sorry as I am to leave New Orleans, I can honestly say I am equally excited to leave for a better life ahead.

    Good luck to everyone.

  3. Brian B (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

    The city reminds me of an abusive spouse. Everytime they beat you up, you take it – but don’t wanna leave them cause you see the potential they have, the love they have, the good times you’ve shared, etc… The Hurricane was like getting your teeth knocked out – the last straw. Either its time for the city to get some professional help or you have to pack your shit and get gone.

    Here in lines the delima. You know you have to carry on, but the other cities just don’t do it for you. Like your old spouse, they don’t kiss you the way you like it, the don’t know know how to massage you like you need it, they can’t give good head like you want it…. Your old spouse wants you back and promises they’ll change, they’re going to be a great example to everyone, “Hey look, I never cleaned the house before – but Now Look! Pretty as the Superdome is!” But, upon further investigation, you see they still can’t read, they still have a violent streak in them, the process of rehibilitation is slow, they still lie and cheat, … You love what you had, but are uncertain of the future love you can share.

    Some may stick around and help them get better. Some may count their blessings that they don’t have to deal with that asshole anymore. But whats it gonna take for the city to be right? Gov’t are like doctors – they can give us advice or take a diff perspective of things, and after talking to them, they prescibe something that may or maynot work, and give you a big ass bill in the end. As much as the local gov’t is corrupt, they haven’t seen the bullshit thats on the federal level!

    Sometimes Heroes are not people who have trained for it, gone to school, wear the outfits. Sometimes Heroes are regular people who have gotten fed up and seek justice and equality. I’m reminded of the spirit of MLK who got fed up and decided change needs to happen. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” & “When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”

    Just some words of encouragement! Viva New Orleans!

  4. Craig (unregistered) on December 22nd, 2006 @ 5:26 pm

    So many folks who read about how we’re feeling and read these posts are going to see it as self-absorption. But really, we’re getting an opportunity to do what too many never get to do — to look at where we live and why we live there and question whether it’s worth staging a fight (internal or otherwise) to justify living there.

    I think the key element is how we feel when we return from going Out There Where Things Work. I can only speak for TBK and myself, but our brief, two-day return home this week after 10 days in Dallas was like putting an oxygen mask on an emphysema patient. Not that Dallas is bad (though far too sterile) — but we simply had to get back to our neighborhood and our neighbors and feel and touch the vibe again. It’s simply Where We Belong — and it’s virtually impossible to explain to some people in the wake of all that’s happened over the past 16 months.

    A lot of folks simply aren’t feeling that anymore, for whatever reason(s). Some are/will be greatly missed and others not so much.

    For help, I’d start by talking to Tulane’s DePaul Clinic (bordering Audubon Park). They have been a great resource for finding direction and folks who can help you/us work through a lot of this.

  5. kapaali (unregistered) on December 22nd, 2006 @ 9:17 pm

    It’s reassuring and yet also disheartening to realize that I am not alone in how I feel about this city. I love New Orleans like it’s a person. I’m one of those people who refers to this place as “my city.” I’ve gone through rollercoaster after rollercoaster of deciding whether to stay or go. Most of the shit that goes on here on a daily basis is just soul-crushing. The crime is ridiculous. The condos are ridiculous. The rent is ridiculous. Public transportation is a joke, as is education. Our local government is a crock of shite. Why can’t they keep the damn traffic signals working properly? Nearly all my friends talk about leaving. I’ve decided to put off my decision of whether to go or stay until after Mardi Gras 2008. Still, it’s hard not to go ahead and wonder what it would be like to live in a city that works…wonder what those greener pastures out there are like. It breaks my heart and makes me feel like a traitor, but I worry that if I stay here, my life will stagnate just like Quarter mystery moisture.

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