Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Of Homelessness and Deodorant

I actually showered today, which was a plus, but I forgot the anti-perspirant, a minor setback. While at Krystal's, writing, I realized among all the unwashed employed, that I smelled. My old nemesis, social anxiety, hit hard. I had to find some deodorant. Off to Wal-Mart I went -- the grand tabernacle of all things cheap, tacky, and made in China. I can find my way in and out of our local Wal-Mart faster than any man alive when they have enough lanes open which rarely happens. My deodorant was purchased and I glided it on in the car. I felt immediately better, as if someone had applied some soothing magic balm. Social anxiety is weird in that way. I no longer felt I stood out.

I made my way back home now exhausted from my shopping spree. I sat out on my porch smoking one cigarillo after another. The Homeless Guy had written a post trying to explain why he has been homeless for over twenty years and it made me think.

For the chronically homeless, like myself, assimilation back into the real world requires a great deal of effort on many fronts. But mostly, chronically homeless people need to reestablish a belief within themselves that our society is actually worth the trouble of belonging to. As long as the world appears to them to be nothing but a hostile place, they will never even make the attempt.

He paints the "chronically homeless" with a broad brush that mainly should only be used on him. He is telling you what it would take for him to not be homeless, not for the actual chronically homeless. Rosa, who was homeless, read his blog yesterday and told me, "It makes you think he was never on the streets. Homeless people don't talk like that at all." I have heard this said about the guy before. The only way for him to gain a home is for him to have someone like my father be his benefactor. My father bought me a car, home, and helps with my medications. He also is a strong motivator for staying sober as all this would fall apart if I were to drink again on a regular basis.

Thinking of homelessness this morning made me think of what I have been lacking in life lately and that was healthy friendships and interactions with people outside my usual sphere of friends. I need AA despite all the religious mumbo jumbo and undertones. I need the comradery and the friends. I need a place to go every night that is safe and healthy. This will go a long way in ensuring that I always have a home. The Homeless Guy can talk the talk, but I actually get a chance to walk the walk so to speak. As he sits around waiting for society to change, I can make a change in my own life, here and now, with like minded people. And that is something, I fear, he will never learn. Change, it truly is a powerful motivator.


Anonymous Boxer said...

We all need a sense of community in order to feel alive. I think it's critical.

Change is very scary to many people and I agree with what you say; "Change, it truly is a powerful motivator"

saptarshi said...

Yes, deos are so important!

Liked your blog a lot. Bookmarked it right away. :)


that could very well be as far as the case with this other blogging individual..but lucky for you, that's not something that you have to stress about. You're blessed to have the knowledge to see past the foggy glasses, and the willingness to move to another station, when the "cheese" has since left your usual habitat.
Good for you!!
I hope the meetings go well for you!

Josie Two Shoes said...

Amen, Andrew! I like this powerful, positive "I can do it" attitude!!

darla said...

Andrew, I agree with you, I think AA would be good for you. If for nothing else, but to get out and mingle with people who've "been there/done that" and have moved on in life. I don't know from experience, but I'd imagine hanging around with the homeless people at the shopping center would get a little depressing. At least, to me it would be. Anyway, there is a lot of power in positive thinking, Andrew.... full speed ahead!

If you get a chance, visit my blog at atthewestwoodranch.blogspot.com

Jay M. said...


Friggin brilliant! I love what you're saying here, and I think it's something that doesn't only apply to The Homeless Guy. It seems to apply to just about everyone.

Motivating ourselves, recognizing the things in our lives that benefit us or bring us down - physically, mentally, or emotionally - and having the guts to choose the right ones! Nice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew

how appropiate to find this after I have just been writing a speech about fear. I have confronted mine as I have battled with breast cancer from the ripe young age of 37 and you are confronting yours. It is great to enlist help of supportive people or a group such as AA so all the very best to you!

My journey is written at


My World said...

"Change, it truly is a powerful motivator."
That was something that I really needed to tell myself, living this miserable, meaningless life that I myself am leading.
Thank you so much Andrew. I love reading your blog

justLacey said...

You are right that your father has given you the basics to be successful, but it is still up to you. If you want it it will be yours. Go get it!

C. R. Morris said...

I will apply deodorant five and six times a day. Sometimes every time I visit the bathroom. If I haven't showered in the past thirty minutes, I won't allow anyone in my "bubble." I don't like them there anyway. I brush my teeth a lot too. I have a horrible fear of smelling. As for that homeless guy, I've had thoughts that he wasn't really homeless as well. Weird.