Look beyond the horrific losses I have sustained.
Look beyond the severe physical threat that is constant in homelessness.
Look beyond the denigration, degradation, and social stigma evident in the eyes and bodily postures of regular people on the street; of my comrades-in-arms on the streets; of myriad people (yes, often even those positioned to assist--not all, but many) in the cities and community.
Look beyond ... or, rather ... look within.
Of all the possibilities presented to me during this adventure of homelessness, the opportunity to be self-aware has never been more prevalent in my life.
Being the *good child* that I strove to be all my life, I tried to fit my round pegs into the square holes.
- "Work hard."
- "Finish all the work that is expected of you before you go out to play."
- "If you are sick, ignore it--get in there and get your work done."
- "Work is not meant to be fun, it's something you have to do to survive."
- "Just do it and quit whining about it."
- "That's just your imagination, it's not real."
- "Quit daydreaming and get something real done."
- "Stop lollygagging, you're wasting time."
- "Don't just sit there do something."
- "Quit being so rambunctious, just shut up and sit down."
- "Stop being so strange, don't be different--no one will respect you."
I would never have had the courage to walk away from the 40 to 105 hour work weeks I've put in the way I have been.
A good girl works hard and ignores her body, mind, and spirit. She will be rewarded later.
When I was young -- even before the current trend of working 80+ hour weeks was the norm for mere survival -- I worked 103 hours a week.
Did you do the math?
Did the question of, "Hey! How can you physically work 2 2/3 full-time jobs at once?" surface?
The answer is I couldn't. I only kept it up for about 6 weeks.
In today's vernacular, "Epic Fail"
I had a waitress job from 10pm to 6am. I was a cashier at a parking lot from 6:am to 2:pm and I can't remember what the third part-time position was.
That time is a blur in my mind.
I had it set up so my days off on each full-time job were different. That meant one day I would either leave one job a tiny bit early or arrive at one job a bit late. It also afforded me 2 days when I had the luxury of sleeping 7 hours, the other days I slept 4 hours.
It was a whirlwind.
And there was no money to be saved. I was paying for the apartment my boyfriend and I were living in. I was paying for the food, gas (cooking and heating), the electricity, the water, the taxi and bus to get to job to job and back 'home'.
No, my boyfriend didn't work. I don't remember why.
I worked, ate, slept and did them all disturbed. It was not an affluent time ... I was constantly in fear of how I was going to pay the next bill.
That led to the second episode of street-living in my life. Because I couldn't get all the bills paid.
But, I kept going back and trying again.
In my lifetime I've been a food-service worker (numerous times) and clerical (from filing to executive assistant -- those are the jobs I taught myself typing for and then taught myself about computers and learned computers from others around me).
I've been a tow-truck driver and dispatcher -- in a time when there were very few females in the field.
I've been a tour-guide for a demonstration kids farm.
I've been a fund-raiser and development consultant.
I've organized events and have been a paid storyteller.
With all the paid gigs, I've also volunteered, in animal rescue; as a docent for nature education organizations; and as a face-painter and storyteller.
And through it all, I've continued to try and fit my round pegs into the square holes.
Without this homelessness and concommitant loss of everything I've ever owned, I would never have walked away from trying to fit.
I would have continued denying myself.
I am a dreamer. A creative. A researching wonder. A person who can see and feel energy in ways that are not acknowledged by the metaphysic commodity world view. An adventurer. An explorer. An asker of "why?".
I've called myself a misfit all my life.
Being homeless is a huge opportunity for me ...
I choose to advocate transformation from the metaphysic commodity world view to the metaphysic sacred life world view (yes, there will be a post defining these terms).
I'm not a misfit. I have a voice. I accept myself. I make a difference.
Here's to you ... and the opportunities you have.