I was reading a recent post written by The Homeless Guy. He loves to portray the life of homelessness as hard and arduous. It is all a play on your sympathies and a tug upon your heartstrings and purse strings. I call it his Messiah complex. He wants you to believe that he is “suffering” for a greater cause; that of advocacy for the homeless and their plight. Yes, I will agree that those long winter nights spent in a tent were awfully cold and I would often cry myself to sleep bundled up in my down sleeping bag. There is an untold story of homelessness though; a tale of idle days with little responsibility and even less direction to life.
I regained a home a bitter, resentful, and hurt man. I was coming off the heels of a devastating divorce. I was a broken soul. It was easier to just escape into the woods with all my camping gear carrying a case of beer, a carton of cigarettes, and a sorely damaged and bruised psyche.
Years later, I look back on my homelessness with a certain fondness. They were very, very simple times where my only responsibility was keeping up my addictions. I have found that keeping a home is much harder. If keeping a home was easy and not filled with many pitfalls then there would be very little homelessness.
One of the hardest aspects of keeping a home for me has been juggling the many responsibilities that came with said ownership. I had to become an adult. I had to think carefully of the future and plan ahead. No longer could I just run willy nilly rampant through life without a forethought for the future. I had to save my money. I had to be careful with my shopping and purchases. I had to pay the bills. I had to sober up. I had to take my many medications for my schizophrenia. I had to rebuild family relationships and friendships and nurture them. I had to escape the selfish thinking of the homeless mind and become more aware of the people around me. All of this took hard work. One of the hardest things was reaching out for help. I was always a very prideful man and swallowing that pride and rash bravado was a giant hurdle to leap.
I regained a home a bitter, resentful, and hurt man. I was coming off the heels of a devastating divorce. I was a broken soul. It was easier to just escape into the woods with all my camping gear carrying a case of beer, a carton of cigarettes, and a sorely damaged and bruised psyche. The cold was a less cruel mistress. I wouldn’t have to deal with people, my pain, or all the responsibilities of life. I was alone with only my own selfish concerns to care about and the alcohol to drown my sorrows in.
I look back on the past few years of regaining a home as some of the hardest I have experienced, but also the most rewarding. As my life grew less chaotic, I become more sure of myself and a self healing occurred. I regained my composure. I regained some sense of pride and wellbeing. The many burned bridges of my past life were rebuilt and strengthened. It took a lot of hard work and this broken and battered man was made whole again. For the first time in my life, I am responsible for myself and my actions. That is a very novel concept in this life of a formerly homeless man.