Empty Anniversary…Empty Refrigerator…Empty Hope

Today I have been married for 13 years. My husband “ran away” two years ago. So much for love, honor and cherish till death huh?

I don’t get my food stamps until Monday…This is my fridge right now.

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I have been having a lot of issues since the doctor raised my medication level. The worst of which has been my radical sleep schedule. I fell asleep at 4pm yesterday and slept until 1am this morning.

I had intended on leaving the house soon to go panhandle, but after walking Penny for five minutes and coming in sweating…there is just no way I can go stand out there.

Thank goodness I see my therapist at 1 today. I best set my alarm in case I fall to sleep again so I don’t miss it. Sigh

I can’t see the med doctor until Monday to see what can be done about my side-affects. I am beyond discouraged right now.

When will I ever get some relief?

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Don’t Know How to Title My Blog Post….

Okay, so, another night of no sleep.

This past week has been amazingly stressful. I almost lost my youngest daughter. I won’t get into details here because it is her life and private, but I can not get beyond the fear of almost losing her again, and the fact that I can do NOTHING to help her through this.

I have no appetite and that is good because I just spent the last of my food stamps and have 2 weeks before they come again. I have no cash of course.

The title of this post is because I couldn’t title another post, “Too hot to panhandle.” After being up all night I actually considered grabbing my sign and going out, but I am way too tired, and yes, it is too hot out there.

I don’t know….I go to the mail box every day just praying I will receive the letter stating I got approved for SSI, but all that I get are bills.

I honestly want to post here all the positives; I have a roof, AC, food, clean clothes, my dog Penny….Being grateful, (which I am), is supposed to lift one up, but it’s not really working today. I am going to wash my dishes, make my bed with clean sheets, and maybe just sleep the day away….again.

Sorry for being such a gloomy Gus…..it is what it is.

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Net Worth, Self-Worth, Society Judges One by the Other…

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.

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Too Wore out to Go Begging…Too Hot outside, Too Tired Within My Soul…

It is too hot again today to panhandle. The heat index is down to 99 now, but I still can’t bear to be out there. The one good spot I have now for standing and holding my sign has no shade at all.

The stress has made my appetite go out the window, so that doesn’t help my fatigue.

I managed to get my apartment cleaned up today, well, mostly cleaned. I just took a Klonopin to help keep me from stressing too much about running out of smokes again.

I figure if I sleep now, and wake after 10pm, I can hit up the people at the Walmart or in front of the convenience store for dollars. It’s harder to get money that way, but at least I won’t be frying in the heat.

So yeah, nap time I guess. I am so tired.

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Broke, In Pain, and Trying Not to Give in to Giving up….

I am so discouraged today.

I have been having some abdominal pain for like 4 months now. The doctor found blood in my urine with no UTI, so he thought it might be cancer. I went back to the doc on Wed. No blood in urine, but a bacterial infection in my vagina. I am now on antibiotics for that, and I still need to bring in a stool sample to check out my colon health.

Of course, a colonoscopy is what the doc says I really need, but as I am seeing him at the “free” clinic, there is only so much he can do for me with the available resources.

In the meantime, I am broke as always. My food stamps are gone until the 15th. I have food in the house, but am out of some things…Pepsi, bread, cigs etc. Now, the med the doc put me on is causing severe diarrhea and I don’t even have feminine pads to help protect my undergarments, so I just got done cutting up the dog’s wee wee pads to use.

I can’t go panhandling. It has been either deathly hot out or storming. Plus I physically feel like shit.

There is no way to even tell you how exhausted I am of this life. This struggle. This waiting for things to get better. I want to sleep forever. Thank goodness I have tranquilizers…at least I can sleep and dream, and not deal with this shit.

So tired.

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How Penny Lane Came to Live with Me…

As I explained in my post titled Homeless to Helpless to feeling Hopeless…Survival is Exhausting.  Back in October I rescued a dog that I named, Penny Lane.

I had been deep in the throes of a very bad depression to the point of sitting one night and wondering if the railing on my balcony would hold my weight. I made it through…THAT night. I knew I was in a seriously dangerous episode of my disease, so I made the necessary visits to my therapists, used what coping tools and meds I could, but I still struggled to come up out of the pit.

Even though the housing program that I am in is wonderful, it does not allow pets. However, after doing some research online I found that I could apply through my therapist for an Emotional Service Animal. I jumped on it as fast as I could. My therapist knew that the loss of my dogs, and my being alone constantly was really making my life horrible, so she wrote a “prescription” for a therapy dog for me.

I was so excited that night! I poured over the Humane Society site, choosing which dogs I would go visit the following day. When I got to the humane society I asked to see the first dog I had chosen. He was cute, but had as many issues as I, and I was afraid I was not up to the challenge of helping him. I walked through the kennels again, passing by Penny’s cage for the second time, she stood and reached her paw out to me between the bars and kissed my finger.

I asked if I could take her to the social room to see if she and I were compatible. Well, I never made it to the room with her. As soon as I held her I knew…I just KNEW that she was MY dog, and I was her “Mama”.

She had been brought in as an abuse/neglect case, and had spent most of her young life in a cage, but that didn’t stop me from loving her at first snuggle. I signed the papers and brought her home. It has taken a lot of work to get her to where she is now. At first she was understandably afraid of everything and everyone..except me lol. I took her out to crowded places, and had strangers hand her treats. I spoiled her with treats and a soft bed, and toys, and a ton of hugs and kisses. I taught her that humans can be good, and that love is possible, that life is amazing. And she taught me the same.

She is a totally different dog now. She still doesn’t really like men, and she has an aversion to baseball caps, but otherwise, you would never know she had such a rough start in life. She has also made my life so much better. She gave me company. She gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Most importantly she made me feel loved and needed. I’m not sure who save who…but, we are both blessed indeed.

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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

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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