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Souls Of North Beach: Spring 2015

Souls Of North Beach: Spring 2015
Photos: Dijon Bowden/Souls of Society
By Dijon - Published on May 23, 2015.

This is our first post featuring North Beach in our ongoing Souls Of neighborhood series, created by Dijon of Souls of Society

You can check out previous ones about other neighborhoods here.


“I’m originally from Iowa but I’ve moved around a lot because I get bored easily. I try not to grow roots and push myself to go outside my comfort zone. I live simply; that’s what my boyfriend has taught me how to do. He lives in San Diego on his friend’s couch and when he’s not working he’s here.”

“What kind of work does he do?”

“He’s a Navy Seal.”

“Whoa.”

“Really cool. He’s deployed at the moment, and I don’t have tabs on where he is because he can’t share that, but he’ll be back in September.”

“How do you emotionally manage that distance?”

“My dad traveled a lot when I was young and my mom was super strong. She had seven kids to take care of but they’re just as in love now as they were when I was watching her cope with him being away. That’s incredible. As long as you have that love you can get through anything.”

“This is his second deployment and this time has been a lot easier than the first. The first time I was a hot mess.”

“Are you more secure in your relationship or more secure in yourself?”

“Both.”

“Any advice on how to connect with your center?”

“Always put yourself out there and go for what you want. Live your dream. That’s your life’s work. That’s what’s gonna make you happy. I’m still working towards it but I feel myself getting closer.

“Before I moved to North Beach, I was living with two guys in the Tenderloin. I stayed in the living room and I hotdogged myself into my comforter every night. I didn’t have curtains so I had the flashing lights of the strip clubs coming in every night. I could count on gunshots every night at three in the morning. I saw someone get shot right outside my window. It was pretty a brutal killing. Right in the back of the head. It was really hard and I knew I had to get out of there and find a home so that’s when I moved to North Beach. I still work in the Tenderloin so it’s a part of my life. I don’t leave the building to go to lunch very often because I get catcalled a lot, but I want to jump into volunteering more and actually listening to what people in the neighborhood need. You’ve got to help, you can’t just walk away.”


“I make paintings from my imagination as a way to survive and express myself. It’s like breathing.”

“Art is very personal. It’s very emotional. I was always a daydreamer as a kid. It’s all my inner life. What’s inside you comes out when you paint. It’s a pure expression of yourself. It’s all love. You love a lot when you are an artist. Feelings are important. Your thinking is based in your feelings. My feelings are my intelligence.”

“My day job is as a high school teacher. It’s so draining because the public school system is broken. The teachers are disrespected, the kids are disrespected. The school is 50 percent Latino, 25 percent African American... if you go outside the school there’s a police car with the lights flashing. What is that? That’s why people write about the school to prison pipeline. The kids are already viewed as criminals. It’s kind of a conspiracy... the rich don’t care about public schools. The only people making money are the corporations that sell textbooks.”


“I like to play soccer and play pranks on people.”

“What kind of pranks?”

“I just say stuff to them and make them get angry at me... and then they start running after me... and that makes it fun for me to get ran at. I’m gonna start a Youtube channel for the pranks with my friends.”

“Are you from the Bay?”

“Oh no, I’m from Algeria. It’s in Africa. I came here in 2011 because my dad came here to make a new life.”


Right - “We started kicking it when I just hit her up on Instagram. I was like, ‘Hey, what’s up?'”

Left - “She’s 10 years older than me and that’s good because there’s a lot to learn.”

“What have you learned?”

Right - “I’ve learned a lot of patience.”

Left - “I’ve learned how to be more firm. I’m learning to hold my own against her and be faster with my wit. Now she knows I know.”

“What’s your favorite thing about her?”

Right - “She’s very motivational and inspiring. A lot of times I talk about things I wanna do and she’ll call me out and say, ‘Just do it’!”

Left - “I love how she’s about family. I’m 23 but I’m not like people in my generation who want to go out drinking and partying and live that lonely life. She’s not into all that. At first she thought I was like that so she tried to take me out clubbing, but once she realized I wasn’t into all that we just were able to chill out.”