by Jeffrey Stockbridge
JS: Alright, so what was your name again?
JS: And how long have you been working out here?
Azlyn: I just started, only like 2 months.
JS: What I’m doin is, what I’m doin is trying to make photographs uh that kinda communicate that we’re all human beings and that the people out here are still people. They just need help. Um you know, that they just have circumstances that no one else really knows about. You started to tell me a little bit about those circumstances.
Azlyn: I was raped by my stepdad. What is there to say? That like, I guess that’s why like a lot of people say that like I do drugs, is to cover up like the pain and the feeling of being abandoned. Not being abandoned but basically it was because like my mom let it happen, my dad knew about it; it started when I was 7 years old with him raping me, beating me, and it continued until well the raping stopped because I was old enough- I was strong enough to fight it off, but the beating didn’t stop until I moved out. So, I just feel, felt alone, like nobody was there, so I guess that’s one of the reasons why I use is to cover up that one of feeling dirty and disgusting and unwanted.
JS: Um did you find it helped escape the other things that were bothering you?
Azlyn: For a little bit but not you know. I don’t know.
JS: I mean now that, I mean that pain never really went away, did it?
Azlyn: No, that pain will never go away.
JS: And doing drugs is a, is like a temporary thing, right, just to keep your mind off it?
Azlyn: Temporary numbness, yeah.
JS: What do you think that you would actually have to do to, to um feel better about your past, to try to get over it?
Azlyn: Well, I go to counseling, but I don’t really like to talk about it as much; I like to keep it bottled up inside. That’s what one of my problems is; I keep my emotions in because I don’t really trust a lot of people cause the people who were supposed to be protect me were hurting me, so it’s hard for me to be able to trust anyone.
JS: Who do you trust?
Azlyn: I trust my boyfriend, Vinny, but that’s basically about it.
JS: And how do you and your boyfriend survive out here?
Azlyn: Make money. I do what I do, and he does what he does.
JS: And, how much, um you use Heroin? Um what is, what is your habit? How, how much do you use it?
Azlyn: Well between me and him, only in a couple hours cause I told you how I got out of jail last night. I spent like $200 in, like, 3, 4 hours, but we also were doing coke, too. But we also ate like I don’t, I try not to spend all my money on drugs, like I try to do like normal things too. Like we went out to eat and stuff like that also. But I try not to have drugs as my main focus in life. I mean it is a focus in life because I don’t want to be sick.
JS: Have you tried to get off? Have you tried the methadone clinic?
Azlyn: I did go into, I walked off the methadone, off 160 mg. I’m going upstate New York either tomorrow night or Monday morning for a couple weeks, gettin’ Suboxone going a change of scenery.
JS: What does your boyfriend think of that?
Azlyn: He’s coming with me.
JS: Oh, wow. You guys are doing it together.
JS: And he’s, he’s been using Heroin too?
Azlyn: Mmm hmm.
JS: Do you have any other friends out here on the Ave?
Azlyn: I do, but I don’t really talk to people, you know people get shady. It’s all about themselves. I help out people, help out so much, like buy people stuff and everything, and when I need it, they’re not there so I just. But I don’t like seeing anyone sick, so I try like I can’t help but help them, but I guess it’s me being too kind.
It’s a disease you know like it’s not something that we want; we don’t want to be drug addicts; we don’t want to have to find a way how to get money; we want to be like normal people, and it’s just a disease like anything else.