Friday, November 20, 2009

My almost sacrafice

(Personal Reflection) Think of a time you stood up for something you believed in. What were you willing to risk? What was the outcome?

Thinking of a time I stood up for myself. Growing up, coming from a broken home was awful on my self-esteem. I was always trying to fit in after that. Throughout my life I moved around the world with my single mother. I lived in several different country's and cultures. I remember in Saudi, I was fifteen, I attended Sais-r Saudi Arabian international American school Riyadh. I remember how much different I was from all the other kids. I was the only kid in a school of a couple thousand that lived with a single mother. I'm really not sure what she did to get me into the country but she got prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to sign my visa. I was the only western child who lived without a father in Riyadh. I came from a tougher background, because I was fifteen and coming from Edmonton I had already been exposed to lots of things like drugs and alcohol. Then showing up in one of the worlds best private schools, I was different. The peer pressure was to do well in school, not to smoke the weed, or to get drunk and have sex. I wasn't the very best student. One thing that separated me from the others was that I had long hair. I was the only boy in the entire school with hair down to his shoulders. I loved it but I was often told that the culture there does not accept it and I should cut it. Well, that wasn't happening. I was of course a hard core Cobainist. lol. I only spent one year going to SAISA-R. After the 9th grade all Western children have to leave the country to finish their education. Most of the kids ended up moving to Switzerland and getting hooked on drugs because there were never exposed to anything aversive in Saudi. It was an artificial situation. Rich kids getting good grades, never really being exposed to actual Western cultural diversities. I remember sitting on the bleachers, actually I slept on the bleachers during the ressess. The main reason being, because my mother was a women who got me into the country without a man (Husband) I was to be kept on a workers compound. Saudi is built on social class. Saudies being on top and then American workers, then Canadian and British people, so on and so forth until you get to the working class. My home compound was called K3. It was on the out skirt of the dessert that surrounded Ryhad. My mother was forced to live there because the other women and western people were not suppose to see a single women raising her child on the western Compounds. I spent 16 months on that compound. I slept on the bleacher because I had to take 3 buses to school. My journey to school began at 5:45 am every morning. I woke up to the Prayer call. At my buss stop I would often watch my bus driver finish his morning prayer and I would start my day moving to school. By lunch I was exhausted. The school was tough. I went almost every day. Again because my mother was a women the king fahd national guard hospital would not pay the enormous bill the school sent home once a month. I think it was like 13 thousand American dollars a year. Not bad. Any man (who made more because of his sex) would also have the tuition paid by the Hospital, but my mom paid. Looking back she made some enormous sacrifices to have me there with her. So I slept on the bleachers almost everyday. I was a a renegade, I went to school with kids that were really naive to the real world that they were going to be put in. I remember how unhappy I thought I was at the time. I blamed my mother. I was such a blind little fuck, but I did sacrifice my old lifestyle to expose myself to a new culture. Well by the end of the year I was a stress case. I had transitioned from a rebellious little kid who never got good grades into an honor student who hated living in Saudi. Looking back on that time puts a smile on my face. I appreciate the sacrifices my mother made and the risks I took. Both me and my mother grew. Honestly if it was not for my mom who had to deal with a 15 year old boy who was trapped on a Filipino compound in the middle of nowhere, I would have gone back home, probably to fail school and end up like all the other kids who are only exposed to the same old same old. Now with the way the world is turning Im happy to have lived in the middle east. Im happy I was exposed and forced to deal with cultural differences in a way that no one else was. I was one of the most unique prospectives on the world as we know it that Im actually aware of. Its always hard having that knowledge that I have,and the prospective that I have because know I have to sacrifice myself my offering information that often is not typical in western cultures. I have that knowledge though, and I know the truth in my mind. Living in Saudi was one of the best experiences of my life.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I can recongnize it too

I see that everywhere
Genesis 3

The assignment is to recognize religion outside of its typical context. I personally see religion everywhere. I live and breath God these days. My life is going so well. I have so much to do I can't actually do it all, at least that's what I think. Until I just give up and do the best I can and put my trust in God. God isn't Jesus to me. I'm Jesus to me. To me Jesus was a man that could make others understand that they are themselves "God". Understanding that there is more to life then what’s visible, tangible, believable. Jesus it that to me. I recognize that if you look around us there is no way in hell that we would have such a great world to live in. I recognize that because God teaches us through our lives. That is if we can keep our minds open.
The other day I was up working my ass off trying to get my school work finished and my photos uploaded. After counting all the dates I did photo shoots I realized I was working my ass off for a very small sum of money. I got discouraged because the whole time I've been working I had this feeling like I was on the right path. That feeling comes from my inside. That feeling has nothing to do with money, but it has to do with my happiness. God wants me to be happy right? Well then why was I not making enough cash to feel comfortable as a father that contributes enough to his child's life. I was upset, but literally in that instant, the minute my thoughts were going astray I received a phone call, "Is this Itsyourphoto?" a voice with a unique accent asked on the other line, I said "yes". Then the voice asked "do you do head shots?" I said "yes". I got work the instant I asked for it. Now it might have been coincidence but I think God knows what I'm doing. I think he knows I'm trying to follow my own path that was created for me by him or her whatever. Yeah it's just a coincidence right. Well that picture is being published as a poster. That does it for me "thanks God".
Now I have another story, when I started driving the cab I lived in Banff, I was a drug addict and I loved to want to die (I thought). Well I drove hundred of fares in Banff. Many became regulars. Lots of the locals (really just transients living in Banff for the fun of it) liked to call me up special because I was one of the best drivers in the universe. Well one used me as an Alibi. On a Saturday morning I was called up by a RCMP officer who asked if he could come talk to me about a ride I was reported to have given. Right away I knew that whoever said I drove them, lied. I wasn't working that night. I asked the RCMP officer who it was, Matt ....... I knew the guy, I asked him what he was accused of. The officer took a deep breath and said "break and enter and Rape." I gasped. I remember the kid vividly, he was from St. Albert, we actually talked several times about people we grew up with.(I was raised in ST. Albert.) Well I thought that sucked, the rape was talked about all around town, I guess the women was severely beaten and was also very traumatized. Scary! Well my girlfriend got pregnant a few weeks later and I moved back to Edmonton and became a cabby here. I cleaned up my act to be a father. I was ridding the streets in a different state of mind. I was not just a neutral force in the world I was a good guy. I was here to raise a sun. Two months into the Edmonton taxi career I had a flag, 107 ave and 115st. Bad hood. Lots of hookers, but I was still new. I was still very open minded about all people. I had just sobered up, I was a fearless good guy who believed in God. Well I pulled over for the two. They both got in, I could smell the prostitute. I could smell pimp and crack head too. I let them in and asked "where to?" the greasy women said "turn around." I looked back at the two and recognized Matt. the guy who used me as an Alibi. I found him before anyone else. I found a rapist with a prostitute high on drugs in the worst neighbourhood in the city. That was God showing me how powerful he is, how he can cross my path with whatever he wants. The rapist recognized me, the two got out of the taxi. I was still new at the good guy game and I did not do anything about what had happened. The reason I believe it happened was because that's how God shows himself to people. (Intimate knowledge of good and evil) He answers our questions, he shows us who we are as long as we are open. Recognizing religion is really about recognizing when God is exposing himself to you. If your lucky you'll get to understand what's happening, if not it's because he doesn't want you too. I believe in God. I believe I believe in God just like Jesus did. I love my neighbours. I follow my heart and move in the direction I believe to be righteous and good. God is everything.
The reason I wanted to start a blog in the first place was to talk about what I was seeing on the streets of Edmonton. I often found myself in situation that I never expected to be in. I found myself exposed to situation that almost non of the people my age who lived in the same city as me had ever been exposed to. I did this looking for answers. I started writing about my life as a taxi cab driver because I was willing to dive into the real heart of my city. I had faith in a higher power that I could really dive in without fear.
I remember my first night as a blogger, it was slow. I was so excited to have a medium to write about my adventures and non were happening. I was just driving around guzzling up gas. The whole night was almost over and my heart never skipped a beat. It sucked. I was already thinking about what I wanted to say. I was talking smack to the allmighty for not offering me anything good. I got a call after that, not far from the shopping complex off of 170th and Stony plain Rd. It was a 19 year old kid, he wanted a prostitute. I had done that kind of thing before. I had a method. If they wanted a girl they would have to get out of the car to solicit her. He found a 54year old women outside of the 711. She was able to service the young gentlemen in the back seat in about the time it took to drive three or four blocks. The situation overwhelmed me. I was asking God for adventure and that's what I got. Now the most interesting part of the story is that after was all said and done the prostitute needed a ride back to the 711. I drove her back. I asked her questions, I probed for answers. I found out she had 3 kids, and that she was just addicted to crack. We stopped at a red light. I was in shock from the ordeal, but it was a situation I created. I exposed my self to it. I asked God to put me there. I was obviously there to record that event in my blog. Now here is when fate jumps in, kind of the grace of God. It involved the radio. "lake of fire" by Nirvana started playing, the main lyrics in the choros of "lake of fire" are "Where do bad folks go when they die, they don't got to heaven where the angels fly they go to a lake of fire and fry." The song relaxed me. I started singing it to the women sitting behind me. She was a prostitute and I was looking for a good story. The words to one of my favorite songs did nothing for her. The moment I looked back at her singing those lyrics she jumped out of my car and into the back seat of the blue car beside me. The car had been following us the whole time. They were all bad folks to me. They were all already dead. They couldn't even hear the words to the song. That song reminds me of that moment, it reminds me that those people are not to be judged by me but by someone else, something else. A figure that not only has the power to judge them but bring them back to life. And that can be anyone, anytime. I see religion everywhere.
I also have a close relationship with good and evil, it’s a relationship I created. It’s a relationship that can be fixed. Just remember to love the person next to you, because something out there is always watching us, eating those tasty fruits of the forbidden tree.
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