By the way, I’m a Capricorn with Chinese Goat and Snow Goose to boot! If interested in what these mean…leave me a comment, and I’ll explain it to the best of my ability.
I want this blog to be of use to people, so I entertain comments. Soon, I’ll actually figure out to respond to them *laughing and shaking head*
As I sit here in this swively (is that even a word – Google spelling with it’s annoyingly perky red squiggly line, seems to think not – I respectively disagree, hmmmfffph!) office chair at my computer desk in my very first apartment of my own…
I’m taken back to a time when I wanted desperately to change:
I can remember glancing down at the wet streets below and recalling a black and white documentary I had just seen about how Section 8 Housing first came into being. I was terrified. I wanted to get my own apartment, but after seeing those images of people washing themselves underneath the New York streets from a dripping drain pipe in the middle of winter – well…I didn’t want to be one of those people.
And yet…I did.
At least, I wanted to be the kind of person who could survive those kinds of conditions and bounce back and become successful. Guess I got my wish.
For a little over five years now, I have surfed the streets of California, Boise Idaho, Ketchum Idaho, Norristown Pennsylvania, and now, here in Boulder, CO. – And I’ve learned a thing or two about survival…
The main thing is…you need to learn how to become resourceful and you need to learn how to bide your time and scrunch down your disappointment and the feeling of the unfairness of it all, that people won’t give you the time of day – all in favor of becoming more than you were someday in the future.
I’ve said it many times before: A homeless person makes one mistake and can fall back ten steps. We have to be careful what we say, who we confront, where we sleep, the places that we frequent to stay warm and dry; and even who we confide in.
When you have an apartment or a house, chances are, you also have family or friends to support you – putting you up on their couch for a week or two while you find a job. Often though, for a person living on the street – having been there for a while – the notion of support is a hazy dream. You’re limited to who you know and who cares enough to look beyond your failure as a first class citizen and who’s willing to go out on a limb to help you out and give you a chance to get back on your feet.
Speaking as both a former homeless man; and the one who’s given out the helping hand – I can say that when the roles are reversed, a person can really be tested as to their own integrity and whether they do as they say and remain true to their own values. It’s hard to be the only support for someone who doesn’t even know how to help themselves. It’s difficult to watch them berate themselves for not doing better and constantly spew a stream of vitriol against ‘the system’ or the society that won’t give them a chance. When you try and tell them that things can get better if they only try and move forward – they look at you like you’re dumb.
The look says, “Man, if you’d only been where I’d been, you’d take that Pollyanna crap and the fairy, star-dust you’re giving me that don’t mean a damn, and shove it up your own ass.”
I know, because I’ve felt that way – too tired to do anything for lack of sleep. – Depressed. Dirty, smelly, feeling like no one cared or ever would – like I would stay and die on those fucking streets. What a feeling. – And to feel that almost every day you wake up? That’s almost even too much for a person such as myself…having been through the Marines…to bear.
Change or transformation takes time. We all want the rest of society to change; but in truth, we, ourselves, have to make the first steps. I’ve been through the ringer in terms of being an only child, parents divorced, foster homes, being labeled a ‘special-ed kid’, moving all the time, flunking out of the military after less then two years, and then succumbing to alcohol for a time while I was sleeping behind dumpsters.
Quick TIP: If ever in that situation, make damn sure you know when the trash pickup is…you don’t want to be squashed like a bug against a wall when they come to flip that dumpster up into the back of that truck.
To change enough to transform your life when that far gone, can take a super-human effort of will, determination and consistency of character, which most people never have to even think about; let alone perform on an hourly basis. But once one has done that; they feel that they may be able to do just about anything else in this world.
All of us who’ve ever picked up a self-help book in Barnes and Nobles or the library, have come across the idea that you can completely turn your life around in 21 days – “The same amount of time it takes to break a habit!” – they often exclaim. Well, yeah, I’d agree, if you only had one thing to focus on and the rest of your life were going as planned; and you weren’t continuously having to map out how you would survive from day to day. Yeah, I’d agree. If you just want to stop smoking or lose a few pounds…
But my friends, if what you want is a sustained change ranging through the whole scope of your character so that you can succeed in life? – I’m here to say that I’m afraid it will take much, much longer than any cute, quick 21 or even 90 days.
The good news, is that the people who realize this; the sooner that they accept this – the sooner they will set upon the path of real transformation, the likes of which not many people can ever claim.
If interested in how you can transform your life and what the benefits might be, stay tuned to my next article coming up within the week.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your comments. I’m still learning how to respond, so if I don’t get back to you; you don’t need to take it personally *smile*