Thursday, January 3, 2008

I added a site to my 'light reading' on rescuing child prostitutes

Being honest is a really bad habit. I ought to feel insecure about this, and I do (trust me), but you should put your money where your mouth is.

I'm practically an old lady, now. Really. But once upon a time, I was a teenage girl. A homeless teenage girl, at that. I write about this stuff, sometimes, but I am careful to change some of the pertinent details and label it fiction, because there's nothing worse than that look you get when people think it's you. I hate it when I'm pitied.

Hemming, hawing...

The thing about being too young to get a job and without a permanent address is that there are only so many things you can do for a living. I pestered all night convenience store clerks for awhile to do chores for a Lunchable, but there's only so many bags of ice you can load or floor you can sweep (this was before they were really videotaping the stores well.) If you go to a shelter, they will bounce you back home if they can.

In my case, I'd already called Child Protective Services, and they'd come to the house, told my folks about the complaint (after all, it was a nice house. Nothing bad ever happens in those, right? Right?) and fucked on off without doing a damn thing. I actually followed the bitch out into the yard, trying to talk to her, and my mother followed me to see what I had to say. Since the complaint was not substantiated, I'd have been bounced right back home.

I guess I was really lucky. Only a few times did some guy try to pimp me, but I've always been a mean ass bitch. I am not bragging. It was a close thing at least ten times in that year. Told you I was lucky. I fight dirty and run fast. There were a few 'trying to shove me in the car' incidences while I was out walking around (there is a man out there who has a permanent 45 degree angle to the left, if you know what I mean), a crack dealer that used to follow me around who 'just wanted to help me feel good' and one with a guy who thought I was too fat and thought he would 'help me' by locking me in a room in his house until I starved down to an acceptable weight. If I got out or went anywhere, I wouldn't have anywhere to stay/he would call my folks. He also expected me to keep house, and don't get me wrong, I like a clean place, but girls who haven't eaten in days make bad maids. This avoids the sexual stuff.

I certainly didn't. Let's call me free-lance and part time about it and have done. I really just wanted to get high, but the crack dealer's deal didn't appeal to me. I've always tried to own me. Growing up, I was reminded constantly about how everyone else owned me and how I was... let's call it ultimately fit for a party lifestyle as opposed to one where I used my brain. I laugh off a lot of the shit I got, growing up, when I can. I'm still getting shit from my folks whenever they get stressed.

I hope they know the quality of the nursing home they're going into is steadily going down hill.

God, it's weird even talking about this.

Looking back on it, at 30, I am sincerely glad to still be here. I mean, I'm an old fucking lady finishing an MFA. I have kids and someone to come home to that loves me. I'm clean; no diseases, almost no wounds from the experience. Hell, I even quit smoking awhile back. I'm living in the town I was homeless in. I pass gas stations, apartment buildings, parks, crashes and places I stayed all the damn time. Sometimes I pass friends who knew me or were homeless with me.*

I am so fucking lucky. A lot of them are dead or dying of something.

Which brings me (in a really, really roundabout way) to the organization I just linked to. The Children of the Night (argh, the name is awful. And it's a Richard Marx song, to boot) is based in LA, and they rescue kids from all over the nation. The site says they will fly a kid from anywhere in the US and they have specialists that will work with the prosecution to nail pimps to the wall. Anybody who specializes in pimping out children deserves to have something nailed to the wall. If I actually do have any readers, you should visit them. It's good to know.

*A note to travelers: I didn't have a buddy. We were all drifting but not friendly enough to hang, which I hear makes a big difference. My bf was a traveler. He tells me it would have changed my experience.

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