I was first homeless at age 6. It was safer on the street than at home. I could fill a million books with why.
I was homeless, me, just me in a car, at a bus station,
an unlocked camper with snow as a blanket.
I was homeless at age 9, age 15.
I graduated high school off the street. I walked across the stage in that silly white gown so proud of myself yet lost because Biology room had been my home and free lunch my saving grace,
a gym shower washed away every person who refused to look me in the eye and those who left their mark.
At 45 I’m homeless in my mind…and I can’t get warm……..
I followed a trail of likes from my blog and landed on a writing blog where I read about architecture built to discourage the homeless from hanging around. Several comments were very kind and caring which I appreciated, but it certainly reminded me of all my experiences with homelessness.
On a blog I use to have I wrote quite a bit about my homeless experiences. It was very chronicled but that’s not the point of this entry. I’m also going to avoid going into the various reasons for homelessness. What I want is to tell you why the men of Indianapolis don’t immediately seek shelter when it’s blazing hot or freezing cold.
We have very few homeless shelters for men, the main one we do have isn’t one a person with a conscience wants to go. It’s ‘mission’ has changed. Instead of caring for the homeless they’ve decided to make themselves available to house sex offenders just out of prison. The most well known homeless shelter here primarily houses sex offenders!!! Why would anyone desire to sleep in a shelter with rats? That is the most straight to the point truth I can give you about the state of homeless men in Indianapolis.
What’s available in your state that you are confident can and will keep its doors open to the needs of the most impoverished? Many who have never been homeless assume there are loads of programs, but there aren’t. The truth is, people need help and sometimes a lot of it. So please, stop and think before you go off on a tirade about how a person you don’t know can get a job, get cleaned up, go to rehab, on and on. You don’t know that. You honestly don’t know that.
Don’t give yourself permission to forget the homeless by saying there are places they can go, some of them want to be out here, they like it. If you personally know someone who has said, I like being homeless. I don’t want to work. I don’t want to be clean. I want society to look down on me and to judge me and cast me off then okay, you’re allowed to say that one homeless person wants his situation to be desperate. If you’re just repeating what you’ve heard then do yourself a favor, shut up, because you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are people who have adjusted to that life out of desperate need, but no one of sound mind and body wants that life.
For me, the elements weren’t the worst part of homelessness. The worst part wasn’t sleeping next to earth worms that came up after it rained or having a huge water bug walk on me. It wasn’t mice, rats, dog crap, hunger or anything like that. The worst part of homelessness was having reaffirmed that I was a nobody. I got that message at home and had it made even clearer on the street. Who sent that message while on the street? It was the people who walked right past and refused to see me.
My first experience with homelessness was at age six. I was six years old and Indiana had a record breaking blizzard. I was just a baby, but I believed I had a better chance of surviving strangers than surviving my mother. I didn’t want to be homeless, I just couldn’t manage that life at home.