Invictus…

I have so much I wish to say, but can’t seem to find the words…yet. So, instead I’ll post this poem.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Homeless to Helpless to feeling Hopeless…Survival is Exhausting.

I am going to tell the truth about everything. I don’t care anymore who reads this, who cares or more likely, who doesn’t. I haven’t written in a long time. Mostly because all that I want to say is not exactly “positive”, the way I’ve always tried to be on this blog. Even during the worst of what I have had to endure these past few years, I tried to keep my hope and faith, and show people that it can be “okay”.

Well, today, I don’t feel okay. My life does not feel OKAY.

The last time I wrote, it seemed my life was getting better. I was working so hard to get back on my feet, and I was. I was going to classes, working at getting my GED, had a job. Everyone was cheering me on, telling me how proud they were of how hard I was working to “fix” my situation. Well, shit falls apart faster than you can blink. I guess I’ve been too ashamed to write since it all changed. Now, I just don’t care. I have to let this out and let the chips fall where they may.

I got hired at four different jobs this past year. Some of these jobs lasted a day, some a couple weeks. One job, the best job, even lasted a month, but that is because 3 weeks of it was in a classroom. I do that well, learning, class time.

However, after getting these jobs the anxiety attacks would start. Yes, I have a disease. It’s called Generalized Anxiety disorder. It is NOT a choice. It is NOT laziness. It is a real disease, and it is torture. So, one by one, each job was quit.

I also suffer from severe depression at times. (If you’ve followed my life at all up till this point, you’ll understand why). Depression is also a disease. I don’t choose it. I fight it. Some days I fight it with all my might, some days I glide through all happy, smiling, sunshine, photo taking, dancing…me. Then, there are days when it swallows me whole and I can’t find the strength to do the “positive thinking”, gratitude shit that can help.

Anyway, now that I’ve explained my challenges, my diseases, let’s add my daily struggles on top of this pile of shit.

Uncertainty while I was homeless was the scariest part. Never knowing what I would or would not have from day to day. Well, not having an income now creates that same fear, that same frustration and anxiety. The shame that I can’t take care of myself.

I have a place to live. I have food stamps. They give me $194 a month for food. You figure that out. Think about how you would eat, what you would eat, how you would make it last 4 weeks. It normally lasts about two. maybe three if I don’t eat much.

Now, let’s consider the other necessities of life. The things not covered by Food stamps. Toilet paper, dish soap, paper towels, shampoo, trash bags, vacuum bags….everything thing else needed to run a home. These require money. I have none.

I have one dear friend who pays my cable/internet and my car insurance each month, and tries to make sure I have all of these things. But, it is demeaning nonetheless to have to tell someone that you need them to buy you toilet paper…again.

I started panhandling about a month ago. I made a cardboard sign, found a nice spot at my local Wal-mart, and stood out there accepting money from strangers. Mostly being ignored and making people feel uncomfortable. Watching them look away, so they didn’t have to see. Most I think are just fearful that it could happen to them. Some judging and thinking things like, “why doesn’t she just get a job”…”oh, she’s probably not homeless” (which is true), or whatever else it is we all think when we see “those people”. Snap judgments based on nothing. No one truly knows what anyone is going through, but we all do it. Make those judgments.

Those of you who have read this far are probably thinking “there are resources”. No, there are not. Not for cash anyway. Welfare and medicaid are only for those who have children. I won’t even get into my health issues here, or the fact that without money or insurance, you don’t exist to the medical community.

Anyway, back to my story.

Panhandling was good. Pride crushing, but good. I averaged about $60 a day. This made me feel kinda good that I could buy my own stuff, the things I needed or sometimes just wanted. You know, important shit, like that scented candle (a luxury for me). Until some Wal-mart white shirt came one day and said I couldn’t stand there with a sign anymore. This morning I was at Wal-mart at 5am bumming cigarettes from people. IF you feel the need to say anything about my smoking, please move on now.

Omg, this post is becoming longer and longer.

I know that my ex will read this, and probably be happy about my misery. He never cared what happened to me when I was homeless, never offered to help, and still doesn’t. He is good that way. At just turning his back on people…he did it with his son, and his own mother, so why did I think it would be any different with me? He walked out on me, our dogs and our whole life together and never once asked if he could help. Never said me missed me, or asked if I was okay….so fuck him. I don’t care what if he reads this now. I will write the truth about him, my truth. He wants everyone to see him as the victim in this. HUH. He walked away to a job, a free motel room, a paycheck, and took our $349 a month food stamp card with him. I was left with a house full of our stuff, two dogs I had to turn into the shelter, and a two day eviction notice. Again, Fuck Him!

When I was homeless the only people who truly helped me were strangers, or distant friends. Not family, not siblings, not my kids….just strangers, oh, and one cousin (sorry hon). My brother offered a place for me to go back in Mass., but that wasn’t possible, he had his own problems. My other brother, never even tried to contact me. My sister who lives just 2 hours from me, wouldn’t let me live with her because her boyfriend didn’t want me there. Really? What the hell is that? I would never turn away a family member and just let them be homeless because of ANYONE. Maybe it was not even the truth. Maybe SHE just didn’t want me. A few months back as she and her boyfriend were facing some financial issues of their own, then got an inheritance from a dead relative of his. Not a shitload of money, but a good deal. They had just filed for bankruptcy, and she told me that her lawyer said they had to spend that money fast if they still wanted to file. She tells ME this. Really? Your gonna tell me that your “problem” is that you have to spend $10,000 really quickly, but don’t offer to help me? Then she tells me over and over how money doesn’t make you happy. Meanwhile, I’m looking under my car seat for pennies to get toilet paper. Yeah, okay.  Fuck them all. Karma is a bitch. I would never wish bad on anyone, but I’m tired of being silent about the way I was treated by those who are supposed to care. Whatever.

So, here I sit….no money at all. I applied for SSI for my depression/anxiety issues and it of course has been months. No income, not sure where to panhandle now. Running out of smokes…staring at a whole list of stuff I need at the store, all stuff that I need money to get.

The one bright spot in this past year is that I got approved for an emotional service animal. I got a dog. The loss of my dogs, Cody and Casey still breaks my heart every day, but Miss Penny Lane has helped to fill the lonely hours. She makes me laugh, she kisses my tears away…..I love her.

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I guess that is what I had to say….Just a rant. If it wasn’t raining I would be out somewhere panhandling or at least bumming smokes off of strangers. Survival is exhausting….I could sleep forever.

 

 

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“American Doomsbury” Concord Born: Inspiring or Intimidating?

I have been extremely lax in writing…I need to work on getting back into posting daily. In the meantime, here is was from the past.

Quiet Desperation

While perusing my shelves recently I came upon a book titled, American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their lives, Their loves, Their work.

Written by Susan Cheever, this collection of tales delves into the private and intimate lives of these well-known authors. Cheever’s writing drew me in from the start, the content revealing so many personal details about the “literary elite” of Concord that reading at times felt like voyeurism. I recommend this book to anyone interested in this intellectual, transcendental, free-thinking, and at times scandalous group of writers. While many have touted the inaccuracies of Cheever’s tales, and her redundancy at times, I have not wanted to put it down. So, as some debate continues as to whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, it has no bearing on my reason for this post, and I don’t really care.

There…

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By Kim13 Posted in Life

At the End of the Day…

So many people are focused on their “to-do” list. They rush through their days, weeks, months, just trying to check as much of that dang list as they possibly can. They want to feel they have accomplished things.

I used to envy those folks. Their ambition, their drive, the way they could run here and there all day long and just get so much done!

My life has changed in so many, many ways in the past few years…okay, decades. I have dreams. I have goals. I have an “idea” of a “to-do” list. But, after all the loss, all the pain and all the surviving I have had to do, I know what is truly important to me each and every day.

My “to-do” list is so very different now. Yes, I have the same things many folks have on theirs, wash clothes, go to the grocery store etc., but those kinds of things will always be here. The list may get longer or shorter, but it’s all just the things we need to do in life.

But what would happen if today was my last day? Would I care if the dishes were done, the clothes washed, the milk picked up? No…

As I sit here watching the sun set on another day, another day I will never have again…I ask myself these simple questions…

Did I make someone else’s day better today? Did I offer a hand, an ear, a shoulder? Did I make them smile or ease their burden a little?

Did I have enough to eat?

Did I laugh?

Did I tell someone I love them?

Did I give something of myself to this world today?

Yes, I did get my laundry done, the groceries bought, the house cleaned up, but at the end of this day, the only day that matters…did I “do” the things that really matter? I believe I did.

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“You Shouldn’t Tell People You Were Homeless…”

Should I be ashamed of the fact that I was homeless?

I have never been ashamed of it. It is what it is. It happened.

The apartment complex I live in had a pool party for the residents today. It was a wonderful, hot, sunny, South Georgia day. I mixed and mingled with old friends and met some neighbors I hadn’t known before. It was nice.

In the midst of one conversation with the guy who recently moved into my building, he says, “You know, you shouldn’t tell people that you were homeless”.  I’m sure my face showed my befuddlement as I replied, “Why not”?

I didn’t need an answer from him. I know the stigma attached to the word “homeless”. I know the thoughts that run through people’s minds, the judgment that will be there. But, the fact is, I don’t care what others think. I am NOT ashamed of what I have been through, and I don’t hide it. It is a part of my life now, another part of my journey.

When the question came up in our conversation of “how did you come to live here”? Well, was I supposed to make something up? This is my truth. This is my story, and I refuse to be ashamed of any part of it.

I have dealt with so much pain, so much loss and so much judgment in the past year of my life. I don’t want pity, I don’t need sympathy, but I refuse to not ever talk about it. My “pride” was flushed down the toilet when I had to start asking people for help…when I set up a GoFundMe site to keep food in my belly and a motel room to sleep in…when I had to accept money from virtual strangers from all over the world. And you know what? Thank God I was able to put my pride aside and let people know what I was going through, that I needed help! I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t told… if I hadn’t asked.

There were enough people being “ashamed” for me. Those closest to me, those who didn’t call, didn’t offer to help. They held enough shame that I didn’t have time for. I had to do all I could to just survive another day.

Now that I’ve come through, now that I can wake each day in this lovely place, safe and fed, surrounded by new friends and a new life, I have no place for shame. I will continue to tell my story, not to elicit a dramatic reaction or worse, pity…but because I KNOW that someone will hear this and they will be comforted by it. They will know that you can be down at the bottom and still rise up, that you can lose everything you thought was important, and find out that your soul, your determination and your compassion for others are the only “things” that truly matter. You can come back from anything.

I will forever be grateful for the kind souls who were there for me when I was homeless. I forgive those who chose not to be there for me, and most of all, I will NEVER be ashamed of, or afraid to tell my story. It is mine…And, as someone once said, “What others think of me is none of my business”.

Just my thought for today. Maybe I can get a tee-shirt made that says, “Formerly Homeless”…I would wear it proudly.

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