Saturday, July 21, 2012

Paths to Change: Homelessness, Poverty, and Abuse.

The most important event in my life …  being homeless.

The crowd hushes.  Murmuring abounds. 

Where in the undercurrent rumblings do your murmurs fall?
  • “Did she really just say that?”
  • “How pathetic, the most important event in her life is/was being homeless?” 
  • “What?
    • Being born wasn’t eventful?
    • Having significant others wasn’t eventful?  Working wasn’t eventful? 
    • Giving birth wasn’t eventful?”
  • “You’ve got to be kidding! Of everything in your life and you feel being homeless is/was the most important event?"
  • "Shameful!” 
  • "What does she mean?"

Rd smiles mirthfully, raises her hands to quiet the crowd, nods, and the talk begins…


My most recent event of being homeless is the first thing that comes to mind, from August 2010 up to February 2, 2011.

 It was during that time I had the opportunity to meet and work with a therapist who is truly a brilliant therapist. 

During these nearly 2 years, with the nurturing, understanding, acceptance, and insight that was so profoundly missing during my first 55 years, I am actually moving into a life of my own design.

True.  I will not disagree, I am still less than a hair’s breadth away from physical homelessness.
True.  I will not disagree, I am not perfect.
True.  I will not disagree, I love and accept myself more and more all the time.

That last sentence — HUGE!

Let’s step back a bit … just so you know, I’ve been physically homeless 9 or 10 times in my lifetime, beginning at age 17 1/2.  It would have begun at 15, however, I had this imperative belief that I had to have my high school diploma and so I stayed in a situation that was not healthy until the night of my graduation from high school, then I left.

I’ll also share with you, that from 10 years old through age 17 1/2 I was highly suicidal, and the only thing that kept me from acting on it was my knowledge/belief that someone would have to clean up after me.

::smile:: Yes, I’ll give you a moment to absorb both of those bits of information — and to make note of your reactions or responses.  Do note that a reaction is much different than a response.  A reaction is usually due to a trigger, a response is usually due to a choice.

Being homeless 9 or 10 times,  included losing nearly everything I’ve ever owned (having it stolen in various ways and means; having to give it away for various reason; having no roof over my head in various circumstances) is not something that happens only to me.

For a long time I thought it did -- only happen to me. Until the last time I was homeless, I never realized for how many people homelessness is real.  Because this foray into homelessness found me too ill to be able to survive on the streets as I have done in the past, I virtually had very little hope for myself and succumbed to one of the lowest periods of self-acceptance I've ever dealt with.

You see, I thought being without a home; in dire financial straits; or being abused was “the way of things”; “my lot in life”; and “because I had done something, even though I didn’t know what it was that I had to be punished for, so life could never be good for me.”

True that.

And also true this:

Being homeless, poverty stricken, and abused is not because I didn’t work hard.  I nearly always worked 2 jobs, once for a 2 month period to try and keep from losing an apt I worked 2 full-time jobs and 1 part time job — and that was when I had a significant other whom I supported because he didn’t work.

Needless to say that didn’t work out so well.

::chortle::

Being homeless, poverty stricken, and abused is not because I’m un-educated academically.  Certainly I didn’t get a 4-year degree. Yes, I got a 2-year degree finally in 1988, after spending 14 years to wend my way through junior college.

I’m apparently a persistent little cuss. ::grin::

From then on I was told, “Sorry, you need a B.A or B.S to qualify for this job.”  So I was still peddling like the frog in the bucket of milk, churning things into butter just to survive.

I believed it when others told me, “nope, you need more academic training to qualify for the money we will pay for this position.”

Those facts are actually insignificant.  Because in shelters and on the streets, I’ve run into street peers who have both more education than I, and less education than I.

But I digress.

Am I qualified to share with you about homelessness?  About poverty?  About abuse?

You bet your sweet bippy.

During these last 2 years with a brilliant therapist (by the  way, I highly recommend EMDR as a therapeutic form) I have transformed many of the old things I learned which were highly dysfunctional into balance, joy in life, and a very healthy sense of self-awareness, self-respect and self-love.

I have learned words to express many of the things that I was unable to express hitherto.

 And I have come to realize that the dysfunctional-isms I was taught have been taught to generations before me and will be taught to generations after me.

I find this unconscionable.

Since I *can* do something about it, I am writing this series of blog posts subtitled:

Paths to Change: Homelessness, Poverty, and Abuse.

So I am now into the next moment that is to become the most important in my life —

NOW.

Here's how to start making changes:

What questions are you asking —  of yourself, and of others?

Are you examining the beliefs you’ve been taught?

Everything you believe now you’ve been taught.

You can change your beliefs.

You can change your thoughts.

As this is true of me as well as you it means I can change homeless, poverty and abuse.

So can you.

Here's your *home* work for this week:

1)
What do you believe?

Especially, what do you believe without question?

Go right ahead, for the next 6 days take a few minutes each day (for instance when you're sitting in traffic; or standing in line somewhere; or waiting for the bus -- or even with pen and paper in hand to jot down the beliefs) to ponder what you believe.



2)
Re-hash the list of beliefs you came up with and ask yourself, "Why do I believe that?"



I'll join you, in fact ... my next post will be a listing of some of my answers, so we can play this game together.


See you next week.

"If a person does not keep pace with their companions, perhaps it is because they hear a different drummer.  Let them step to the music which they hear, however measured or far away." 
-- Henry David Thoreau, with my small change from *he* to *person*


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