Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why do you always want to be homeless?

That is a question I got asked in an email tonight.  I wanted to write, "I don't know."  But I do know why when I think about it.  I already suffer from a low sense of self esteem and lack of confidence.  Homelessness is the bottom rung of the ladder.  I would have no further to fall.  No more disappointment in myself and disappointment of me from my family.  I could take some twisted sense of comfort out of there not being able for this angel to fall any farther. 

Maybe I am misguided, but there seems to be much more interest and help for the homeless both positive and negative. than for just some homed, mentally ill guy in small town Alabama.  I could apply for programs not having an income.  My medications would be subsidized.  Religious people would then take an interest in my welfare and salvation.   They would also feed me and give me a cot for the night.  

Structure also plays a big role in it as well.  I am a big follower and not a leader.  Being a homeless person, the Rescue Mission would structure my day.  I would have to arrive in the afternoon to get a bed.  I would be fed, take a shower, and have a sermon to attend.  Then I would be given a mat to sleep on.  I would be awoken in the morning to eat breakfast and sent on my way.  At home, I rarely eat structured meals these days.  Some days I do not eat at all.  The mission would provide much needed structure and guidance in this avenue of daily life most people take for granted.  A aspect of life that I have a hard time grasping.  Also, my sleeping habits would be regimented and structured.  These days I just get up when I wake up with no rhyme nor reason. 

Lastly, I wouldn't be alone.   I would be in a major city filled with people on the streets.  I would blog at the library and coffee shops always around others.  I would be forced to intermingle with my homeless peers at the Mission every night.  My lonely nights would not be filled with the short visit by my father only to give me my medications and then leave.   My only bed companion a dog, which I love, but is no substitute for a human companion.  My normal isolation would turn into the other extreme of having my life laid bare for inspection.

I also suffer from the delusion that homelessness was the only thing I have ever "done right."  I was very active as a homeless person.  I was outgoing in the sense I needed to be for my survival.  Everything was raw and real.   If I didn't eat before bedding down in my tent, then I would grow cold during the long winter nights.  If I didn't gather wood in the evening, then I would not have a fire for my breakfast and to warm my hands in the morning.   If I didn't take a shower at the truck stop then I couldn't buy beer because I would have been ostracized for my lack of cleanliness.   Homelessness was very harsh, but it spurred me into living and into action.   It forced me to do the things that most homed people take for granted.   I feel like I have no reason to get up other than to write this blog or hang out down at the shopping center. 

Now, can you somewhat understand my thinking?  Why, when times get tough, I want to run to the hills, homeless?  I felt so alive and real then.  My survival was paramount and tangible.  Now, my family takes care of everything from my food to my appointments.  I am just left to live in this house idly passing my days.   I hope I don't offend anyone by writing this.  My hope was only to delve into the introspection of why I think this way sometimes.   


Jenni said...

Now I really need to read more of your blog and I'm really, really glad I chose to tag you for the Seven Things About Me meme. No hard feelings if you don't want to participate, but I think you'd be a very interesting person to learn more about. You certainly don't sound like some cookie cutter clone, Andrew!

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

if you like being homeless so much why not keep it on as an optional weekend activity?
thats whats cool about having your own place. you can go 'camping' out on the streets every weekend IF YOU WANT TO.
why not do BOTH? stay where you are and go street surfing every now and then when you feel the urge. theres no law against it you know..
not quite the same as a trip to the bowling alley at the weekend, but hey, whatever appeals to you at the weekend!

justLacey said...

The only person structuring your day when you were homeless was you. You can still do that. I wish you had as much confidence in yourself as the people around you did. If you only realized that doing these things for yourself would make you feel better (as well as those around you) then you would be more inclined to do them. Just as you did when you were homeless. You take care of Maggie don't you? Dogs need lots of love and attention as well as food and water. She is thriving and that is because of you. take care of yourself as well and you will thrive also. Start tomorrow set a loose schedule to start. Be up by a certain time, showered by a certain time and eating your meals on a schedule would be better for you as well. It't the simple things that start us on the way to feeling better. You can work the things you liked about being homeless into the life you have now.

Summer said...

Yes, I do understand what you are saying in your post. It's crystal clear and I have no buts... None. I just want you to think a little bit more about it before you take any action.

M said...

it is probably healthy that you write out these thoughts. it will help you understand better as well as helping we readers understand better.

i think many of us can relate to aspects of what you are going through when you long to be homeless...

ohhh my dog is barking...i can't finish this comment. beagles are such pains in the patookies!!

CJM-R said...

What about a supported living (we call them group homes up here) situation where you would live with a few other people and have staff that would help everyone to structure their day as well as have vocational and mental health services available? Is there anything like that where you are living?

I understand the concerns you laid out, and I was just trying to think of a middle ground that might help you to get your needs met without having to become homeless.

I feel for you and hope that you can work through these issues in the best way possible for you.


Anonymous Boxer said...

I'd love to read more from you on this subject... it speaks to nearly everyone...because it's truly in our spirits to be free. Man used to be nomadic when we had to move to find food/water. Modern inventions interupted that part of us and I don't think we're aware of that. Thanks.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Andrew this last post shows me that you know an awful lot about yourself and you are not in denial about most things. I understand what you are trying to say...bottom line here is that you need structure and you're lonely. In these times of economic hardships for many...have you considred taking in a room mate. A room mate would be company for you, and would help you lead a more structured life...that would be the agreement. Do those things for you and get the room, heat and electricity and use of laundry facilities. The roomie would have to pay for his/her own groceries and personal necessities. The roomer may have a part-time job but mostly should be there for you. This could be a retiree...someone having a hard time making it on their own financially. Of course you would have to do plenty of background checking to make sure they didn't rob you blind, but this is just a thought.
Living homeless is not a solution to the problem you are having now. This is just something you might consider. Check church bulletin boards for ads reference sharing a home or being a companion.
I think maybe you would feel a little more free without having to give up the security of your own home. Living in a tent in the forest, being deprived of the basic comforts you now have is only punishment inflicted upon yourself by yourself. Why? Why are you punishing yourself for something that is not your fault? The mental illness is not your fault. Sorry this got so long-winded....hope you don't block me. I mean well.

KYRIE said...

You car got stolen???
Shame on those idiots for striking around Christmas!
I hope the cops find ur car back, and I am especially worried about your ID getting stolen, be careful with identity theft n such.

I understand about what u wrote in regards to homelessness here.
Just like to say, u have done a lot of right things like touching ur friends' lives profoundly.

Hang in there OK. Next year, I just know good things will come again into ur life. My friend, u deserve good things to start happening again! Good night and take care.

Tee said...

On wanting to be homeless--you must think of your baby, Maggie, you can't abandon her, she needs you and loves you. Just take care of her.

I understand wanting structure to your life, being retired can look a lot like your unstructured life. You might want to make yourself a schedule, get up at a certain time each day, breakfast at a set time, shower and shave at a certain time, walk at the same time, lunch set time, bedtime same time each evening, etc. It's easy to get out of the habit of having a schedule, but you can form a habit of having a schedule. :-)

Annabel said...

I don't know what to say Andrew. I'm so sorry about your car. I am trying to understand you thoughts on being homeless. I know that when things get tough we tend to have those dreams of just running away from it all... but realize that running doesn't solve problems. Most likely it will just create new ones. You're going to have to simply face what is happening in your life and take control of it. You have it in you, but you'll have to realize that too. Also, think about Maggie. I know she is special to you and it wouldn't be fair to abandon her, nor would it be fair to subject her to a life of homelessness with you. I will pray for you, Andrew, that you may realize what blessings you do have in your life.

simonsays said...

What about Maggie? She can't live that way...

I know what you are saying, and it does make sense to me. But you do have an obligation - Maggie.

I'm really sorry about your car, and I do hope the police find it. These things just happen, they are not our fault, they just HAPPEN.

I am thinking of you today and everyday. :)

DiamondsSaphire said...

I love your blog..I will definatlty be back.

Cheryl said...

HI Andrew,

As always...a lot of great support and good advice from your friends here. We all want the best for you. By sharing, I hope it takes some of the burden off of you and lightens your load.

It's a new day, and I hope, a better one for you.

shy_smiley said...

Andrew: I know I'm by no means sharing your boat, but I fully understand many of the things you write about here. I have a Honda CRV, too, and though it wasn't stolen, my brand new christmas gift stereo was stolen from it. It's a horrible feeling of violation... you're sitting in your home and someone has the audacity to take something that's yours... right from beneath your nose! Many times the police are able to locate your vehicle. I'll be reading to find out what happens.

I don't dream of homelessness as intensely as you, but I do often dream of escaping the complexity of modern life. Reading helps me escape without leaving. My Side of the Mountain and The Pillars of the Earth are two of my favorites. Into the Wild is good, too.

Keep writing, please. Does it help you organize and understand your thoughts? Maybe you'll find some comfort through writing. Take care.

nengaku said...

Andrew: I can identify with much of what you have written here having been homeless a couple of times myself. But I disagree completely about homelessness as hitting the bottom. It is absolutely possible to fall much further than that. To lose one's integrity. To become dishonest. To use and abuse others. To prey on other's weaknesses. So many ways to fall. I've known many people who took vows of poverty who were some of the most admirable people I knew. Sometimes that meant being homeless. It ALWAYS meant relying on the generosity of others to provide a place to stay.
Our society equates having STUFF with having MEANING. That is illusion.

alyceclover said...

Not sure if homelessness is so much as hitting bottom as it is throwing hands up in the air in despair "F-it".

I had a structured life with a job, bills and so on. Homeless was a feeling of constant drifting with no shore in sight. Everyday was all about survival.

Prior to I thought there was homeless help available~a lot of competition for that help. You read The Homeless Guy and he paints a true picture of the so-called helpfulness. It is a reason why the myth began that homeless will not avail themselves of services.

Being outdoors 24/7 does cause that alive feeling and depending upon other homeless does bring fellowship. I agree with the commenter who said be a weekend homeless camper. But in your case it will work against your desire to stay off the booze.

You made it through this day.