Once upon a time I considered writing about homelessness but was afraid that people would think that I was examining the problem from a privileged perspective. But I would like to say to all of you today, that I am not.
I know from first hand experience what homelessness is like. And it's awful. I know how it feels to live without a bed, without a place where you can have people over, or even a place to go, and it is awful. So please, be patient and understanding as you read the rest of this and understand that sometimes, people just need to get words out of their brain.
This post has been in my head for about a week and I have been waiting to post it so that I may be do the topic justice.
Homelessness is what happens when you're 12 years old and you go away to sixth grade camp with a house and come back only to find that over the course of a week you were kicked out because your mother spent all the money on drugs. You don't confront your mother, you just cry and listen to your mother ramble on and on about how fun it is to live by a lake in a trailer.
Homelessness is that trailer by the lake that you and your brother can't go in because your mother and her boyfriend are having sex in it all day long. It's seeing all your belongings in a storage shed and the loft bed you loved and your grandmother gave to you being used as fuel for a fire that crack is cooked over. It's being told that there are fish in that lake and that if you don't catch any, you don't eat.
Homelessness is finding a stick and tying a belt, fishing line and hook to it so that you have the means to catch your dinner, because you're hungry and don't know what else to do.
Homelessness is abandoning the trailer by the lake for an apartment with your aunt and her two children, while being forced to sleep on the same bed as your four brothers, your mother, cat, and her boyfriend because the police are onto your family and if they catch up, you'll get taken away from your mother. But really, how bad would that really be?
Homelessness is not knowing where you'll sleep today, tomorrow, or the next day. Its not knowing why this is happening to you, how far you have left to walk, or why you can't just go stay with your grandmother. Its turning 13 and being too afraid to ask for presents because you know you'll get hit. Wanting presents is selfish and how could you even consider such a thing at a time like this?
Homelessness is being too proud to ask for help. Homelessness is degrading. They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, but in the process of building that strength, homelessness sure as hell eats away at you.
Everyday it gnaws at your soul and your self worth, whispers in your ear, telling you that you're so terrible that no one cares enough about you to give you a place to sleep for the night or a home to live in.