Today is Tuesday, December 2nd, and time for me to put in to words the phases of my re-entry in to the real world, known by its narrow-view, society.
I'm running a little behind because I've been out 32 days already and this is my first entry in to what was supposed to be my daily journal. But running behind's nothing new to me since I've been playing catch up, it seems, from the day I was pulled kicking and screaming from my mother's womb.
Anyway, enough about hindsight. Let's get to what this is about–insight.
I got up at about 5:30 this morning, and I always take time to take in my new reality. I'm living in a closet that reminds me of my cell in that it's really a cramped space that I call home. I have a TV, my music, a sink, a place to hang my clothes, a bed, a table, a chair, and a shelf to store my personal effects. It's transitional housing–literally.
After I spend a few moments pulling in my surrounding I get up to read my Bible and to ask God for his Guidance, His Grace, His Mercy, and His Protection as I try to find my way out of the wasteland of prison in to modern civilization.
At 8:15 AM I began my day in the Computer Lab, looking at the day's jobs postings, and trying to find a place to go look for work. My computer skills are basic at best but I know how to access most websites and how to apply on-line for any position that marries my skill set. I completed applications for Madden Industrial Craftsmen in Beaverton, NAPA, and Fedex. I also looked in to telemarketing at NetBiz but that app never got done.
At 9AM I met with my Employment Specialist at Central City, Jeff Jassmond. It had been two weeks, maybe three, since we had met and talked except in passing.
We had to go back so we could move forward because 3 weeks is a long time on the streets since time doesn't stand still like it does in the shadow world of prison. Since I last saw him I had got my Oregon Health Plan, saw a doctor, got my Honored Citizen's bus identification, been scheduled at Cascadia, Vocational Rehab, and been assigned a Navigator at Mercy Corps. We reviewed every contact I'd had during the [eclipse] of our working relationship. I told him about Walmart, Dollar Tree, Andersons, Labor Works, and Labor Ready. We then opened up my account at WorkForce Metro to access my I-Match Profile and to upload my resume on to it so that any employer could access it by opening up my file.
We spend 3 1/2 hours together. It was lunch by the time I rolled up out of there. He gave me my schedule for the rest of the week.
I've been lax again. Life called. Shit happens. I've missed a couple of days of writing in pursuing my dream of realizing my pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
I started with Anderson's. Another door closed before it was even opened. They sent me a letter in the mail, two paragraphs to let me know how much they appreciated my application but that they could not extend an offer of employment at this time and to wish me every success in my endeavors. It was a major let-down because I had subconsciously built my hopes up that I would get the job.
I had to regroup and refocus.
I went to SE Works to take some classes dealing with Job Readiness that emphasizes overcoming the barriers to employment. It was taught by Dele, which is pronounced "Dee-Lee." Dele is a brother from Africa who is very strong, self-confident, and determined to succeed in helping every one of his students find employment. He demands your full attention and total concentration.
Dele enrolled me in his Connect To Work Program for ex-convicts who have particular barriers to employment.
I also enrolled in Computer Basics Class and think it's a good resource.
Thursday I went to Mercy Corps to pick up a check for my ID. I talked briefly with Alverda, my Navigator, about work boots and a bus pass.
On Friday I went to the DMV to get my ID. It wasn't to be. They told me that they would not accept my birth Certificate becaue it did not match my alias. I've been here before. I've seen this movie before. I was told to go prove that I am me.
I left feeling disrespected and humiliated in front of people who must have laughed when I was asked for my prison records and inmate identification.
Today is Saturday. I went to Church with my brothers and sisters at the Mission. I had to leave at 10 AM to go to my Cognitive Class at Mercy Corps. It lasted 6 hours. 5 tests. In the end I walked out a graduate of Freedom Road Through Better People–a major accomplishment!