South Dallas Story – pt. 1

Disclaimer: The photos contained in this post, unless otherwise noted, were not taken by me, and have been located on the internet.

For those of you who don’t know me IRL, I recently moved to a neighborhood of South Dallas called the Cedars.  It’s just in the shadow of downtown Dallas, technically part of South Dallas, but close enough in to call it downtown and not be lying.

It’s at the northern edge of arguably the most ‘hood’ part of Dallas – the South and South East portions.  But, due perhaps to its proximity to downtown Dallas, it’s what I like to call “the white people’s hood.”  Decades of blight and decay abound, but it’s not as “bad” as some other neighborhoods, even within the same zip code as us.  The further south one travels from the Cedars, the more blighted the terrain becomes.

Drug dealing and prostitution are not at all uncommon, even in broad daylight.  A block away from our loft is an actual $7 a night flophouse – the infamous Bunkhaus.

Vacant lots polkadot our immediate neighborhood and the surrounding environs, with grassy lots where grand old homes once stood.  It’s fairly obvious in most cases that the lots have been empty for years – makes me wonder how many.  Decades even?

We live in a converted loft that used to be part of reputed mob associate and Lee Harvey Oswald murderer Jack Ruby‘s ‘Silver Spur Nightclub.’

Jack Ruby

The NuGrape Bottling Plant at left, the red building was a hotel and the Silver Spur, and the old Ervay Theater at far right

In the past couple of months living here, I have fallen hopelessly in love with this somewhat-forgotten, underrated part of the city, for all the reasons I listed in the beginning of this post.  I love it for its grittiness, its reality, its urban appeal.  Like me, it’s an underdog, something of a loner, and often misunderstood.

The district has gone from being one of Dallas’ earliest wealthy enclaves – and the center of the city’s Jewish population; to an industrial blighted area rife with poverty, crime, and urban decay; to a quiet, slow reemergence as an affordable artist/loft neighborhood.

More to come, as I continue to explore this vibrant, amazing part of my city.  I’m so inspired I’m even planning a photography book project.

Downtown Dallas from an empty lot in the Cedars

30 Days – Day 1 – Something I Hate About Myself

I’ve decided to participate in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  Now, that said, I don’t know if I will do it every single day, but I’d like to try to tackle each of the 30 topics.  I think it might help me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project. 

Day 01 -> Something you hate about yourself.

I’d like to think I don’t “hate” anything about myself, but I’m not that naïve either.  Most people would probably think this would be the easiest topic to write about, since we’re all conditioned by society and the media to dislike ourselves as we are.  But, I must confess, I’m having a bit of trouble pinpointing something I truly detest about myself.  There are a lot of things I wish to improve, but that doesn’t really seem to be the point.  So, I’ll think on it and give it a try.

… … …

One thing I extremely dislike (hate?) about myself would have to be my failure to properly assert myself with people in potentially awkward situations.  I’ll provide a couple of specific examples in a moment.  I have no problem asserting myself with people I’m close to – but I’m sure that’s true of most people – but for some reason, when I feel put on the spot, sometimes I go for the easy way out of the situation, which really fucking pisses me off at myself, every time. 

Example 1 – A couple of years ago, a woman at work asked me if I was “a believer.”  As in, a believer in Jesus and such.  Now, let me preface the rest of this by saying at the time, I still considered myself “spiritual” but carried a general dislike of organized religion of any stripe.  I paused for a few seconds, and then answered, “Yes…”  She broke a broad smile and replied that she “thought so.”  Now, this woman seems very sweet, and while I don’t know her reasoning for assuming such of me, I think it came from a positive place.  But I walked away from the situation a little pissed at myself, and now that I think of it, a little pissed at her too. 

For one thing, the real answer (at the time) was more of a “(Well) yes…but not the way you think!” *wink wink nudge nudge*  Then I thought, fuck that, I don’t need to divulge such a thing to someone I hardly even know in passing, so who cares what I told her? 

But, looking back, I now think, “Who was she to ask me something like that?”  That’s the type of conversation I would have with someone I know & trust (add link here to coming out post). 

Example 2 – Flash back to the 2008 Democratic Presidential primaries, between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. 

I was always a Clinton supporter, although I liked Obama’s message of change, and I was one of the many inspired and awed by the enthusiasm surrounding him.  A woman at work stopped by my desk and asked me who I had voted for.  Again, people and their intrusive questions.  It’s a woman I get along with very well. 

I don’t know how to type this without it seeming like something it isn’t, so I’ll just say it.  She’s black.  I guess I sensed some weirdness would ensue, and as a rule I don’t generally discuss things like religion or politics at work.  I paused and said “Obama.”  She smiled and was visibly pleased by this, and went on her way. 

LAME.  “Fucking loser,” I thought (about myself).  This is not something I’m proud to admit, here or otherwise, but the prospect of the first black president came with some weirdness around it, and I wasn’t immune.  I was very excited at the fact that we would actually get to choose between the first female president or the first black president.  What an advance in our society – FINALLY. 

At the same time, there was this underlying feeling that ALL.BLACK.PEOPLE.EVERYWHERE were going to vote for Obama, and…I don’t know…maybe I didn’t want to come off as ‘whitey’ voting for Clinton.  In any case, I was happy (at the time) that Obama got the nomination if Clinton couldn’t.  Hell, I’d vote for Pedobear over McCain/Palin.  But why couldn’t I have just said, “I don’t usually discuss things like that – voting is a personal thing for me” or something equally not-really-untrue. 

Ugh.  I guess this ’30 Days of Truth’ challenge comes with some REAL TALK.  Oh well, owning up to our shortcomings is freeing, because it allows us to expose more of the truth of who and what we are.  While I think this can partially be attributed to my general social awkwardness and social anxiety, it’s also something I’d like to work on.

What do you hate about yourself, and why?

If you’d like to take part in the challenge, here’s one of a bajillion blogs with the complete 30 day topics list.