I started writing poetry in detention in the 9th grade (the last grade I made it to). I went on from there as a young Punk Rocker to the dirty streets of Fresno, Ca. Back and forth from mother in Pismo Beach, Ca to father in Fresno, Ca, and anywhere else my feet led me. I learned to drown my feelings in drugs and alcohol and eventually graduated from the school of hard nocks with a hard core heroin addiction. After a several years of numbing my pain I decided to clean up my act and have a child with my husband of 5 years at the time. We did it together, and my daughter was my savior. Something I loved more than myself. Then, a few hours after birth, she almost died. The doctors diagnosed her with severe acid reflux. So, at 2 weeks old, she had major surgery. I waited one month (31 days to the minute) for her to heal completely, and scored a little heroin. You can't be me, and have the most beautiful baby in the world as your savior, then have her almost die within hours of her birth and not fall off. It took me 8 months to get my act together, and clean up again, because my daughter, like I said, was my savior. I would walk right through the gates of hell and deal with the devil himself for her. And that's exactly what I did. With that, however, came a flood of emotions that had been suppressed for a lifetime. So I picked up the pen again, went back to writing poetry. Five years came and went and I have written 2 books of poetry: "I Want Lilies at My Funeral", and "Don't Disguise the Potential, Understand the Disease". I just about got all my emotions out, and on paper, shared with close friends then my husband died in a tragic motor accident. His name was Johnny. Now, it's her and I. I wrote some poetry about him, but lost the will to write once again. My emotions had to be buried again. All I can do is keep my daughter safe and happy and care free - let her live her innocent little life and I bare the burden of the world upon my shoulders. I took a little stumble down heroin alley for what seemed like days then I dragged myself into the methadone clinic. It's been almost 3 years gone. My poetry comes and goes. A sentence forms in my head and I can't let it go without pushing out two or three more, and then it’s on. I have to grab a pen and whatever's lying around such as a napkin, a fast food bag, or hopefully a piece of paper and let it pour out. Although my poetry has suffered since I've been on the methadone, I have had a successful life. I have since started my own business - my dream job in fact. I remember being a young punk in Fresno looking through the window of this cool joint called Valentino's in the Tower District (as it still stands today unchanged) where they sold new punk apparel and used vintage apparel. I used my love of Valentino's and put my own twist on it, and I call my online store Retro Kitten Apparel. I stay within the Retro, Rockabilly, Vintage, Punk, and Pinup culture and most of my clothing is used, but top quality, high-end clothes, shoes, and accessories, and some new garments. So I get to thrift shop, and go swap meeting, and turn it around for a profit on a really cool web site I designed with the help of Denny at Starfruit Designs. You can visit my store via this link: <a href="http://www.gypsiesdoitbetter.com" target="_blank">Retro Kitten Apparel, an online Rockabilly Punk Thrift Shop</a>. Now, I am able to be a stay at home, widowed mother of one hell of a great kid. Oh, and through it all, I was able to keep myself, my looks, in tact. I'm 35. What's next?