Last night I put Penny in the car to run to the local convenience store to get a couple of snacks. I didn’t plan on begging, even though the night cashier there knows me, and has only warned me to avoid the cameras the few times I’ve been there for that reason.
As I walked in the store I held the door open for a cab driver with one leg. He smiled and said “thank you”. I finished getting my things, using what little food stamps I have left.(less than $20 until the 15th). As I walked out the cab driver was getting into his car, and for some reason, I ignored all the “rules” of begging and went and asked if he had a few dollars for me to get some smokes. I didn’t realize that his passenger was an employee of the store…She stepped right out of the cab, giving me a look like I was something she had just stepped in…”You can’t DO that here”…I just turned and walked away, my face red, the shame whelming up inside of me.
I came home and cried.
I don’t want to be like this.
I don’t want to have to ask others to keep helping me. My friend “D”…he pays my interned/cable every month, pays my car insurance, buys my shampoo, toilet paper and everything else that comes with everyday living. I hate asking him for money for smokes, he works hard for it and he doesn’t smoke. He also tells me every time I ask, that I have to quit. I love him for who he is and how he helps me, but I hate the lecture every time. So, I try to beg and panhandle for my cigs, and for whatever else I can get money for.
I hate the way people look at me when I am standing outside with my sign…I know what they are thinking. They don’t know that I have a mental illness. They don’t know that I have tried SO hard to be able to hold a job. They don’t know that I don’t want to be out there like that.
Then there are the ones who just look away, doing everything they can to not see me. I don’t blame them. I make them uncomfortable, angry, sad…whatever it is they feel/think.
I thought I would get up early today and head out with my sign. Maybe even make a new sign. But, I just can’t do it. My mind can’t do it. My body can’t do it. My pride can’t do it.
I am so sad. Everyone is celebrating with family or friends. Everyone is happy and grilling out, going to fireworks.
But, I know the truth. There are many people just like me who are just trying to survive. People who feel like shit every day…People who smile through it all…trying to hide the shame they feel. The shame they know their families feel about them…
We all know that society today is so materialistic, so driven by “what you have is what you are worth”.
Today, I feel like I am worth nothing. Nothing. Nothing.