You can never judge a book by its cover or a man with pink hair and horns tattooed to his forehead for that matter, until you learn where he has been and the goals in life he has ahead of him.
Meet Robert who is currently homeless in Tennessee:
“I was born in Springfield, Tennessee,” he told me as we started to talk. Robert has been clean from Heroin and Meth since November 2, 2016.
I asked how expensive of a habit drugs were and he replied, “Meth is about $10 for a tenth of a gram – so $100 a gram - and Heroin, you’re looking at about $25 for a tenth.”
He then talked about the amount of heroin he used, “I spent about $60 to $80 a day on it and that won’t even keep me high all day.” You can shoot both heroin and meth into your veins with a needle or snort the drugs.
I asked if people on the street use dirty needles when shooting heroin or meth and he said, “I’ve seen it happen – them just rinse it out with water or even peroxide… Peroxide is not going to clean any disease out of a needle.”
Regardless of his past, he has big dreams of helping others in front of him… “I eventually want to go back to school,” he told me. “I want to be a social worker to help kids – like do a mobile crisis for children,” Robert explained. Helping children before their problems get too big to handle, is what he wants to do. Robert said that he has attempted suicide at least six times and stated, “I want to help children before they get to where I’ve been.”
He has a few tattoos that he no longer wants. One of those tattoos are the horns on either side of his forehead. “I got those this last year in the Coffee County Jail,” he said with a laugh. Someday, he would like to remove those along with the ink on his right and left fingers that read, “ZOOM ZOOM.” He got the nickname of ZOOM ZOOM from other drug users he called friends. “I got it whenever I was using meth a lot – I plan on getting this covered up one day,” he said with a smile.
A tattoo that he wants to get that will be a constant reminder of the need to stay sober is the date of 11-02-2016. “I’m gonna’ put it on my left wrist because I am left handed and every time I do something I’ll look down and be able to see it. I use to shoot up left handed.”
“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
On a side note, I took the photo in front of a police car after he told me he has been in about half of the Murfreesboro Police cars in our city. :)