Hope IS Defiant

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Everywhere, But Nowhere: Facing Homelessness

First night sleeping in car; too much stuff

Sorry for being off the blog, I’ve been facing homelessness for the nearly the past week. My time living at the dorms came to an end last friday, leaving me with nowhere to live but in my car. And man, has that been uncomfortable! I have too much crap in my car and ’cause of that I can’t put my seat down and because of that–due to a herniated back—my back aches even more and I feel kinda like a zombie from “The Walking Dead” throughout the day

Well…this my first day being homeless. I’d NEVER actually thought I’d hit this long bottom in my life. But I tried everything… calling shelters—but they’re either full or they I’m on a waiting list or I’m awaiting a 3 tier interview process–family…well things haven’t been so well with them. Unfortunately, this something I foresaw myself being homeless person as an 8 year old. Yes…as I said it…as an 8 year old…you’d be depressed too if you lived with domestic violence everyday. You could “foresee” what could happen based on was you saw and based on what you experienced. Worrying about a place to park my car and when I’m going to sleep or just the fact that I’m going to live in my car again  has given me nothing but tremendous anxiety. I’ve been dealing with sharp pains in my stomach due to incessant stress. Good thing I still have prescriptions to my anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications…..I could have gotten more going on.

I find myself asking “Why”? Why—“What did I do?” or “Where did I go wrong?” Am I being punished, because I pursued my dreams in being a teacher? The worst part is I’m not a qualified teacher because according to the California I have to pass my RICA in order to register as a certificated special education educator or resource specialist for the middle school and high school. I don’t even know why California is so strict when they place about #26 in the nation for education. I’ve tried to even applying as a long term substitute teacher, but that too requires a credential. Not being to pass that RICA and possess my physical credential makes me feel like a dummy…a failure. It’s making life hell for me. Due to lack of income and interview opportunities, I have been behind on my bills. I’m already 3 months due on my cellphone bill and if I don’t have the money by August 24th I’m screwed and further does my credit go down the drain. Oh wait! There’s more! I have to find a way to pay off my car registration and now I have creditors call me about  paying down a health insurance plan. Ugh! I’ve NEVER had such bad credit until I started this program. So for anyone thinking in becoming a teacher or going to school period—if you have the chance, live with parents, family, or whomever that dear to you and live with them.

The worst thing is the weather is so freakin’ hot right now! Currently as I writing this post, I’m in the library. But do you know what REALLY sucks? As you’re coming out from the store, people looking at your car with this “Why does this person have so much stuff in their car?” look and you have to carry yourself off with dignity (and sometimes do a little glaring. What? People are such judgmental creatures) as you approach and enter your car. Then you’re always on the road… you get so tired and you just wanna go and relax, but oh wait… it dawns on you that you don’t have a home to go to. Heck…a bed. You have find a neighborhood that is safe at night and hope that the police doesn’t kick you out of the parking lot your cars is in…Or you have creepos surrounding you. Lights are always going on and off, because of comings and goings of cars and trucks. Well…better then hearing a train’s horn blaring off. You wake up in the morning and now the challenge is this…where are you going to take a bath. Well…it’s really shower, but I use those words interchangeably. On the second day of living on the streets, by calling a non profit organization, 211, they recommended me to a church that was offering a place to shower for the homeless. And happened since this was the first Saturday of the month, the church was offering it to me. My lucky day!

Despite the bad breaks I’ve been dealing with, I guess there are some things to appreciate:

  1. I am determined, steadfast, and resourceful.
  2. I attend a great church. As an 8 year old (yeah I was rather a precocious child), I wanted to be in a church that would feel like a community and not just a place that I’d just go and come back from. They would help me make sure I don’t fall far from God (although I’ve given myself some time a way from talking to God). Again if it’s not for my spirituality (of course, my anti-anxiety and anti-depression pills), I think my depression and anxiety could have taken over me more and then I’d really be in trouble. And you know something…after 23 years…my dream came true. It took awhile, but it came true. A friend from church was kind enough to rent me a motel room for two days and was so nice to just to stretch my legs on the bed, sleep comfortably and have a place to take a shower.
  3. All in all, I’m still blessed. At least I have a car to sleep in. Not a lot of homeless people have that. Not mention I’m able to travel anywhere I want in an air-conditioned vehicle. I have access to a phone and a laptop. I have clothes I can change out of. Heck, I have a bath back scrub. In the same church that I showered in, no homeless person I saw had a bath scrub or a wash cloth, bath soap, deodorant, or even lotion. The church only had one shower and there was list of people, including myself, whose name was on the list. After 6 people went before me, it was my turn. I couldn’t believe how fast it had gotten to me. Now usually, I can take fast showers–15 mins and then I’m also brushing my teeth. “Hello?” a lady knock says behind the bathroom door. “Are you almost done?” “I’m almost done!” I replied. How long have I been in the bathroom for??? 5 minutes. “Hello?” the lady says 3 minutes later. “Almost done!” I said as I was making sure I washed every part of my body. Another 3 minutes later, “Are you almost done?” Man she’s patient. “Sorry! I’m just putting on my clothes!” I didn’t even have time to apply lotion the rest of my body and put on deodorant. Is this how people who live on the streets actually live? Man…I’ve been spoiled being able to having the time to take a bath everyday. After pretty much everyone had a shower, we all had pizza, salad, watermelon and soda and movie was put on…I think it was called “The Apostle John”.

I’m really, really trying here and I hope I’ll still be able to substitute teach at the end this month so I can start working and I can finally accrue some income. I’ll do my best to keep this blog running, but if you don’t hear from me know that I’m out in the world trying to survive and be the best self I could possibly be.

Self-Love Affirmations

This something I picked up awhile ago, because it was something my therapist had me do.  While they are such simple words, they are self-reassuring. And because the affirmations are so simple and short, you don’t find yourself overthinking or thinking how much you suck. That’s usually me when I’m depressed. Anyway, I just thought this would be something you may like see and tell yourself.

Before Saying THIS, Please Reconsider…

When I would walk across a high school campus to get to another class I had to teach as a student-teacher in the spring this year, every now and then I’d hear a student—usually when it’s an assignment that requires them to actually work or their teacher moved them to the front of the classroom—say “Man…I wanna kill myself!” The hell??? Is that how kids express themselves now days??? Whatever happened to saying, “This sucks?” or “This blows?” or “Aw, man?”  Heck…I’d EVEN accept, “This sucks monkey balls”!

It was hard during that time to know if a kid really WAS on the verge on having suicide or not. But then again—like with mental illnesses in general—people who on the verge of suicide usually DON’T usually say I’m—in a sense— “in a really bad mood.” According to an article by PsychCentral titled, “Common Signs of Someone Who May Be Suicidal“, 70% of people who commit suicide tell someone about their plans, or give other type of warning signs. But then again…there’s no right or wrong way to go through a mental illness, right?

I once was able to talk the school principal about it. He told me regardless if a student says it, to still keep an eye on them. But then how could you when kids now say as part of an everyday conversation? The next day, I had a discussion with a student for saying “I wanna kill myself” because of an math assignment he forgot to turn in. Saying this as if he isn’t ACTUALLY going to commit suicide, I told him not to say those words, because it makes people very concerned. And that suicide is a very important issue because it’s discussion not be taken lightly, because I knew a friend who had a relative die by suicide. He got quiet after that.

*Sigh* It’s sad that while there’s still a big stigma around mental illness, there is still little to no understanding about it. I mean c’mon there’s…

  • “I feel like I’m so OCD because I keep washing my hands.”

Or

  • “I’m so depressed about (I don’t know) what’s happening between Khloé and Tristan.”

We can’t control how people react to things because it’s their feelings, their view, their experience. But we can educate people on what mental illness is and what to do if either themselves or their loved ones are going through it. Better yet, help people find more positive ways to express themselves in the goings and comings of their life.

So I have a question for YOU…was it wrong of me to tell the kid NOT to say “I wanna kill myself” or should I have given him the benefit of a doubt?