"What are the flowers for?"
“My friend gave them to me to cheer me up.”
“Why did you need cheering up?”
“It’s been a rough week for several reasons. It began with me crying while reading a poem in front of a bunch of people.”
“What was the poem about?”
“It was about my best friend attempting suicide in my house, then me having an abortion a few years later, then that same friend successfully committing suicide, then me getting pregnant. It’s sort of my reflection on the cyclical nature of life. And how we are a lot more connected than we understand or admit. The poem is titled: ‘I realized last night that, for the first time in my life, I am finally really willing to be an organ donor.’
Sweet sixteen One summer afternoon, about out the door for family dinner at Outback Steakhouse. Went to check on my bestie Jenie, staying with me for the summer, kicked out of her own house again, one more time. I had a feeling. Are you sure you don’t want to come with us? I said, peeking into the top bunk of my little brothers bed. No response. Motionless, unconscious. I ran to my auntie, doctor frances, downstairs. “She’ll be okay,” said doctor frances. We called the ambulance anyway. “She’ll be okay, “said doctor frances, again, after they wheeled Jenie away on a stretcher. Jenie went to icu, had her stomach pumped, went to rehab after that.
We pretty much pretended nothing had happened.
Time passed. Lots of things happened.
One winter afternoon, the ripe age of 22, my mom dropped me off at a portland clinic, 10th floor of an office building. “babies are expensive,” my single-father boyfriend had said. i took his word for it, and took the valium and the vicodin from the nurse, listened to them read me quotes from other girls in my condition about how happy they were with their choice. I lied back on the table, sucked in the nitrous greedily as the doctor sucked out my “unwanted growth,” as they called it. “youre so calm, ” the doctor said to me. They sent me to a “recovery room”- and lying in the bed, looking at the poster of the Eiffel Tower at sunset on the wall above me, and the rainy grey oregon sunset sky out the window beyond, I knew I had just given away any good karma I had gained by saving my best friend’s life 6 years before.
A January evening in Istanbul, on the couch, totally stoned on afghani hash with my second Turkish boyfriend, I picked up a phone call from old friend Melinda, now married with 2 kids in Spokane Washington. She sounded far away. I knew something was weird—we hadn’t talked in years. “Dane went back to Vegas for a few days to finish a job,” she began. Dane, Jennie’s high school crush , and new husband. “Jenie stayed in portland, in their new house with their two dogs. When her dad went over to say hi, check on her, he found her in the garage, in the front seat of her 4 runner. It had stopped running by then— run out of gas.
The dogs are okay, though.”
I couldn’t afford to fly back for the funeral. My little brother stood in my stead, scattered some flowers on her casket.
And now, here I am at 31, 37 and a half weeks pregnant. Round 2.
from march 4th onward, This new life inside me, a whole second self, spontaneously generating, it seems, organizing itself around some miracle principles. I felt it from the very beginning, the very moment of first meiosis.
Really, like a veil dropped, or lifted, or something. I was walking across a field at a spa outside Poughkeepsie and I felt the shift. It was wild.
Life is wild. Death is something else.
So I’d like to take this opportunity to declare
I’m finally willing to be an organ donor. I never was before. but i can surely say if it comes down to it I am ready to give the pieces of me to others. Take my kidneys, take my heart, take my myopic eyes
The lines around the self, the borders between you and me aren’t as obvious as they may seem
We are all connected. Some more obviously than others
So please, Take what you can from me
Bury the rest at sea, someday
It all comes back around eventually.
"The police is always against us."
"I used to be a preschool teacher, but I got fired."
“Well, I decided that I wanted to have a socially conscious class. So we learned about apartheid in South Africa. Then we learned about homelessness. Then we made mother’s day cards for Trayvon Martin’s mom. And I think the principal decided that it was too much for three and four year olds, because she told me I wasn’t a ‘good fit.’ But honestly, I was just shining too bright for them. And now she’s going to see me on Humans of New York, and she’ll be sorry!”
"I’ve got a whole stack of books in my cart. Most of them are advance copies. I know a place where they get thrown out."
“How many books have you read?”
“So why are you homeless?”
“I’ve tried to work a job a bunch of times. But then I get sad, and then I get high, and things fall apart.”
"I tend to be cynical about a lot of things, but Maya Angelou is somebody that no matter how much I pick her apart, she still has integrity. She was a victim of incest and rape, and she worked as a stripper. And now she’s a literary icon and Nobel Laureate. It goes to show that life is cumulative, and you can’t devalue any type of experience."
Wendell is hands down the greatest homeless fashion designer who ever lived. He makes almost all his clothes from things he finds. I hadn’t seen him in awhile, so I was quite thrilled to walk up on him Tuesday, doing this to a Gandhi statue.
"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"
"What’s the hardest part about loving yourself?"
"Self-hatred. Which I have a lot of."
"Why do you hate yourself?"
"It started with an over possessive mother making me feel guilty. Then growing up in Flint, Michigan, I was made to feel guilty for being gay. So it all started with other people making me feel guilty. But then I grew up, and I took over their job for them."
Typologies of Serial Killers
- Visionary Killer: This killer feels compelled to kill because of ‘voices’ in their heads or visions that tell them to do so. For example, Herbert Williams Mullin claimed to hear voices that told him a disastrous earthquake was imminent, but he could save California through murder. Mullin killed thirteen people in an effort to ‘save California’. It was later determined that Mullin suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
- Mission Oriented Killer: These individuals feel that it is their duty or mission to kill certain kinds of people. For example, Ted Kaczynski, commonly refered to as the Unabomber, started a bombing campaign in an effort to save the environment, which he felt was being destroyed around him. He targeted places that were creating ‘high technology’ such as universities and airlines. Kaczynski’s bombs killed three people and injured twenty-three.
- Power-Control Killers: These killers seek complete control over their victims. Seuxal activity is almost always involved in these cases. John Wayne Gacy,“The Clown Killer”, would fall into this category. Gacy murdered and raped 33 teenage boys, burying 26 of them in the crawl space of his home.
- Hedonistic Serial Killers: This is the most common type of serial killer. These individuals kill for the thrill and enjoyment they get from the act of killing. There are three subtypes of hedonistic killers:
- Hedonistic comfort killers: Killing victims provides the killer with some sort of comfort; usually money. Dorthea Puente ran a boarding house in California where she killed her elderly tenants and buried them in the backyard so she could claim their social insurance checks.
- Hedonistic lust killers: The serial sexual predator; fantasy plays a large role and their satisfaction depends on the amount of torture and mutilation they inflict on their victims. Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the best-known hedonistic lust killers. He searched for a beautiful, submissive, and eternal lover. Dahmer killed 17 men and boys in this search for his perfect lover; his murders involved rape, torture, dismemberment, necrophilia, and cannibalism (so that a part of his victims would stay with him forever).
- Hedonistic thrill killers: Their primary thrill is to create fear and death. The act is usually not sexual and is not drawn out over period of time, they are solely interested in the kill. Hedonistic thrill killers often work in teams. The notorious “Zodiac Killer” claimed to be responsible for 37 murders but investigators have only been able to pinpoint 7 victims, two of which survived. The Zodiac killer sent taunting letters to the police, and was never caught or identified.
In a protest, Renata Teodoro, right, and her mother, Gorete Borges Teodoro, who was deported in 2007, met at a Mexican border fence.|Samantha Sais for The New York Times