Homeless Sessions: No Shelter

homeless sessions

About eight years ago at Christmas time, I was homeless. In some ways, I was lucky. I didn’t have to sleep on an actual sidewalk in an actual cardboard box. I did see plenty of people that had no where else to go. I saw too many children that were homeless and hungry. There were a lot of people with mental illnesses that went beyond depression.

Recently, I moved into a house. I must have had my poker face on because my mom keeps asking me why I’m not more excited.

I didn’t think that I would ever move into a house. In my mind, I believed that my forever and ever housing arrangements would be rentals and subsidized apartments.

A house that my kids and I belonged to was too much to hope for. For a several weeks, I wake up and look around. I still cannot believe that I have been blessed. Is it a dream? Am I going to wake up in a rundown apartment?

I was about two days away from sleeping in my car. My car was also going to get repossessed at any moment. One traffic stop and it would have been gone.

At the time, it was not important to make friends. Of course, I didn’t want to make enemies either. Being homeless was scary. I was always afraid of getting mugged or kidnapped – not by the other homeless people but by the criminal element in the area. One teenager at the shelter had his coat stolen off of his body. The people were trying to kidnap him but he wiggled out of the jacket and ran. I don’t think the muggers were homeless. I just think that they were thieves.

Before I was homeless, I didn’t separate homeless from criminal. I didn’t even think about it. After I was homeless, I understood the difference because I talked to people at the shelter, who were just trying to stay off the streets.

It’s also damned near impossible to get a library card when you don’t have a home. I took a risk by taking a very long walk by myself to get to the library. I really wanted to get on the Internet. Check my email. Maybe send someone an email that could help me more than I could help me.

On my way back to the shelter, a man stopped me. He asked me if I was hungry. It was only a short time until I was going to be hungry. He gave me $10 to eat and wanted me to pay it forward when I could. He didn’t want anything from me in return, except to help somebody else.

Somehow, I managed to get a room at the inn. . . well, the local homeless shelter. I can tell you that I was out of place. I was the unicorn of all unicorns. . .  a single, white, pregnant female unicorn.

I wasn’t totally alone on this adventure. I wished that I was. The abuser came along too.

Thankfully, he is long gone.

Those homeless days are gone too. The memories are still around, which is fine. The memories keep me moving forward.

Part of the reason that I keep doing this blog is that if I want bring a little bit of awareness to a few causes. Life isn’t all about rock concerts and glitter. There are people who still need a lot of help and compassion.

So if you take anything away today, remember that just because someone is homeless doesn’t make them a criminal. There are plenty of crooks in big fancy houses.

P.S. I still have to pay it forward.

This list of things to do to help the homeless is from the National Coalition for the Homeless – just in case you wanted to help.


42 responses to “Homeless Sessions: No Shelter”

    1. Thank you! That is the best compliment. 🙂

  1. Very well written and very thought provoking. Congratulations to you on your house! That is an amazing achievement!

    1. Thanks so much! I had some help getting here. 🙂

  2. Great post! So glad to hear you have a permanent, safe place to lay your head at night. Your journey is so inspirational. Keep sharing it!

  3. Wow- so important and powerful. I’m so glad you are sharing your story and educating people !!

  4. I am glad to read that you have shared this story. Most of America is one missed paycheck from being homeless…they just don’t realize! Great post!

    1. Thanks! It’s true. Most people are closer to being homeless than they realize.

  5. You are an incredibly brave and strong woman. Blessings and prayers for you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much! It’s nice to hear. (I don’t think of myself as brave & strong.)

  6. Very touching and thought provoking post!

    1. Thanks! I appreciate it. Thanks for reading it.

  7. Thanks for writing this

    1. You’re welcome! Thanks for reading it! 🙂

  8. Reblogged this on Nutsrok and commented:
    We could all be homeless

  9. Yes, always pay it forward. You never know. My mom was homeless for 6 months while I was in college. Would never have imagined this could happen to a family member, but it did. So it could also happen to me, any of us.

    1. True. It could happen to anyone. Still trying to figure out how and if I should ever stop paying it forward.

      1. Never stop.

      2. That’s what I was thinking! 🙂

  10. What a wonderful unicorn you are, though, to keep trying to help others.

    1. Aww. Thanks! 🙂 * sheepish grin*

  11. Great post and a real eye opener

    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it.

  12. Reblogged this on The Neighborhood and commented:
    Saturday was Peace Day in The Neighborhood and it certainly lived up to its name. It was not large scale, but it was something we created that brought on happiness during its staging. Seems fitting that the first post I should read in its entirety since, is ‘Homeless Sessions: No Shelter’ a beautiful yet painfully poignant look into the life of a former homeless and abused mother. But she recounts those days of fear and wandering in a surprisingly peaceful essay.
    From the blog, chasing destino…. Homeless Sessions: No Shelter

  13. What you are doing here is great! Many unfortunate circumstances can lead to being homeless. And congratulations on the house, you, unlike many, truly can appreciate the value it brings into your life…so enjoy it. 🙂

  14. So glad you have a home now. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. It takes strength and courage to move forward!

  15. Good story, well written.

  16. Reblogged this on Cycling Scientist and commented:
    Excellent story.

  17. gerhardamandanel Avatar

    Hi, you nailed it!

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂

  18. An enlightening yet encouraging story! Relating this experience alone is your ‘forward’ – and it is simply but very well expressed! Heartwarming to read that you have your own home now. My best to you!

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate it. 🙂

  19. Thanks for sharing! I think the way many people look at the homeless is similar to the way they look at refugees — until you actually know one, two, or more individuals in that situation, it’s too easy to think of ‘them’ as a faceless, abstract crowd. I also believe that the way any society treats its most vulnerable members says much. We’re only as ‘good’ as we are to those who need us, whether they’re old, young, ill, homeless, or trying to escape war and persecution.

  20. I ran a transitional facility for homeless men in Clermont, FL. The homeless of 2015 are not the same as years before. They are educated, musicians, parents, sons and daughters. Today’s homeless are are the result of social strain called The American Dream Theory. It is the root of the majority of problems we face in this country. We have a long way to go when it comes to being truly civilized. Please read. https://gotthis.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/our-troubled-times/

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