Today I had to finally tell my youngest daughter’s teacher the truth about us. I directed her to change.org’s website to read about my situation. Before they go trying to refer to me resources that don’t exist, they need to see what the reality is for those who are homeless. This is a small town, Enumclaw is. There are no community service programs here. The next towns over are Bonney Lake, Auburn or Tacoma. Bonney Lake isn’t that much bigger than Enumclaw so if I have to leave here, I’d be heading to Auburn, Federal Way or Kent.

The teacher sounded stunned that homeless people were here, why should that surprise me? I hope she does read my story and every story I post on here. There is a new brand of poverty out here. One marked by individuals finding their way to the internet via social websites to stay connected, to make that human contact with others in the same situation so that they know they aren’t alone in hell.

I had my misgivings about coming out here because it’s so far out and because public transportation to and from here is extremely limited. I couldn’t leave Caly stranded and without help though, especially while going through surgeries. We do the best we can for now but I am gearing up for the winter. The mini-van needs a tune up and new tabs at the end of this month. The roof needs to be sealed as I found a big leak near the window on the driver’s side. My plan is to get us all new sleeping bags that can insulate to -0 degrees. Everything else I can figure out as I go. If it becomes too difficult here, I will leave.

Tomorrow should prove to be an interesting day since I don’t know what the impact will be once the school principal gets word or our situation. I appreciate their concern as it appears to be genuine but the reality is, I am doubtful there’s much they can do.

While everything is a day-to-day “adventure” for us, more people are sending me friend requests on Facebook or following me around on Twitter. I am always amazed that they WANT to read what I write and for that I am thankful. I will admit it feels a little odd to me because I don’t like being in the spotlight, never have but if this is the path I’m on, I must follow it. I’ve got to see what’s at the end of it.

Just as I was signing off of other websites, I got a call from Rab, the 85-year old street performer I wrote about. He told me how this was the hardest time in his life because of the loneliness he endures every day. Because of this, he feels tired of life and prays to God to end his. In that one sentence, that one painfully honest admission, everything I’ve been stressing about went away. That old familiar sting came to my eyes because I can’t stand to see another human being in pain, not this kind. This kind of pain could be avoided if people in his family took the time to visit him regularly. I asked him if he checked his mail box lately because some “surprises” were sent to him on Friday. He said he hadn’t checked his mail box since then but he would tomorrow. “Well, I got an idea then. Why don’t you talk to my youngest since she is fighting me in going to sleep?” Rab’s voice took on a different sound, it was …..delighted! I handed the phone to her and away she went! Asking him who he was, where he lived, how old he was, 85?! That’s old as Jesus! Yep, that’s what the kid said to him! Even my teenager took time to talk to him for a bit!

Rab doesn’t know that I’ve been out looking for pen pals for him so he can still feel connected to the rest of the world. I want each letter to be a surprise for him because he needs to know he is not a life forgotten simply because of his age and circumstances. He will not be around much longer and if I can make his remaining years more livable simply by offering to be a friend, well….even I can afford that.

It would be all too easy to allow myself to fall into despair about not having a place of my own and worrying myself to death over what’s not happening in my life right now. Everyday there is something, never enough this, never enough that and even though it can be a rollercoaster sometimes, I still have a lot to be thankful for. For one thing, I have access to clean water. I have the ability to work on getting a degree even though there is no guarantee of a job in the field I’m studying for. My kids are physically healthy and know that although we may have it rough right now, I’m not giving up on a better future for them. I don’t let them see me getting caught up in a whining fest or downward spiral into anger. Sometimes my teenager and I get into it because teenagers “know” more than they actually do but compared to some others I’ve seen, I think I’ve been fortunate that she hasn’t gotten into drugs, gotten pregnant or landed in jail. When it came to bringing donations to Nickelsville, I stood back for a moment while watching her unload the back of Caly’s car as though she had done this all her life. Sometimes her little sister gets on her nerves and typical bickering does occur but in those moments when they bond together, well, words can’t describe what I feel.

Laughter softens the bitter pill of how we live, especially when it comes to my 7-year old. From asking about tentacles and Chinas to borrowing cameras and making her own videos, she really surprises me. Here is a link to a video done last year of her when asked a question: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/video/video.php?v=125655337449632

My teen is the quiet artistic personality. She loves to draw and is an anime fan, especially Manga. I have to monitor what kind of Manga she looks at because not all of it is age appropriate as we once discovered when she got a hold of a book that made me blush! She found it at the local library and I had to tell her that just because something is “cartoonish” doesn’t mean it isn’t adult.

In the back of mind, when I knew we were going to be living out of a vehicle, I had to remind myself that the path I’m on must be leading me somewhere I just didn’t know where. This is what my philosophy has always been even when I was a kid because the experiences I’ve had always prove it. If I hadn’t become homeless, with kids, would I be able to write about it the way I do? Would I be able to understand others in the same situation if I had never experienced for myself what other people don’t want to believe is true? So many times people carelessly would comment that I should just go on welfare until I educated them that in all honesty, there is no such thing as welfare of American citizens any more.

If I hadn’t become homeless, I wouldn’t have met all the people I’ve met so far with their own stories to tell. If I hadn’t been homeless, I would’ve never found out about change.org and all the nice folks there. I wouldn’t even be on wordpress.com if I hadn’t been homeless. I keep wondering where my path will end but I know it began with me and the choices I’ve made so far. Going back to school felt scary at first but what did I have to lose? If I’m ever going to get out of this, I’ll have to fight my way out.

In the meantime, I will continue talking about the homeless and confronting stupidity wherever I find it. No matter how much any of us would like to give up, don’t. Don’t let the apathy and indifference of ignorant people keep you from helping yourself. Don’t let negativity infect your spirit because the truth is, we are our own worst enemies and it is time to start being best friends with ourselves.

If someone were to ask me if I would do this all over again, the answer is yes, I would.

“Again by Bruno Mars”

He says he’s not that nice yet everyday his conduct makes a liar out of him. It doesn’t matter that he had a dark side and is a work in progress, we all are. He doesn’t have to do what he does, so why does he? Regardless of how you got here mister, you’re here and you are making a difference. If you are guided to this path to do a job that others shy away from, do you think we really care about what you say about yourself?

We each judge ourselves harder than others would, that’s a given but when all is said and done, the impression you leave behind is how you will be remembered. Maybe not being nice is what’s needed. Maybe a not-so-nice person is the kind that will get the job done because of all the not-so-nice people out there.

You brought joy to a 13-year old boy today. You helped his mother and father the best way you knew how. Is this what not-so-nice people do? You help other homeless people to get connected via social media. You give them an avenue to be heard via InvisiblePeople.tv and wearevisible. You bring them onstage with you to tell their stories. They say you can tell a lot by a man, not by what you see but by what you hear. We have all heard you say you’re not so nice. We beg to differ.

Oh and..don’t argue with a woman. You’ll lose…….

Angst-”I” at ease.

Anxieties, worries, stresses, strain, unknown futures calling me

Nothing guaranteed, knowing that I won’t be free

Silent tears, hidden pain, when a new day will I see?

I saw my reflection the other day, past a window on display but….

The woman I saw, who looked like me, couldn’t remember what she used to be

Thinking back to childhood days, soft green grass and summer days, I never thought

I’d see a different reality, a different me

Blue, green, yellow, black, wish I could get my life back, but wishing on a star

That’s just fantasy. I’ve got to find a way back to me. I once met a girl, she was nineteen

She sat nearby, watching me. Somehow she guessed, somehow knew, guess she’s seen a few

“Be careful,” she said quietly, “you’ll lose your mind out here.” I watched her then, sitting there

Wondering how long she wandered through nowhere.

Sun gone down, the night is black, looking up I see its tracks

The Great Bear, it shines the way, sometimes the only one who hears me pray

No matter what I do or what I say, how come things are still this way?

I think about the people who, when asked to help, didn’t come through.

Excuses plenty, yes I’ve heard every, and even though with that mindset

They should know I won’t forget

I’ve learned a lot on the way, when to run and where to stay and stranger still

I can’t give up, never will. Eyes are watching, young and new, watching everything I do

When you see me walk on by, when I see you I won’t cry. You had your chance and you failed

Now I have a story to tell. Won’t be fun, not what you want to hear

Won’t be about people you have near. So while at home, snug in bed

Knowing you have nothing to dread, someone on the street,

dies tonight in their sleep.

“If they can’t feed their kids don’t breed them!” “It’s their fault they’re there”

“I don’t feel sorry for addicts and drunks” “Don’t give them money, they’ll just buy junk”

“I’m not paying for their welfare” “Not my problem so I don’t care”

This is the message society gives, this is the attitude they want to live

I find such attitudes to be odd, when did they become God? Christian charity, hah, not likely!

Conversion before giving to help the living, Forcing beliefs or no relief, they have forgotten!

One man came, one man said, “Give us now our daily bread”. There was no inclusion

No list of exclusions, apathy and indifference feeds the delusion

My mind is set, the goal is clear. With perseverance a new day is near

The system is broken, has been awhile. Sold our children down the Nile

Inadequacies are built-in addictions, that’s why you see so much affliction

It’s up to us, call it Intuit, stop the excuses, just do it!

This isn’t what we’re supposed to be, a society made up of angst “I” at ease.

The two I lost…..

Even though my thoughts today have been preoccupied with figuring out how I’m going to pay for my storage rent, car tabs and school stuff for the kids this month, there is something else that comes to my mind every October. It is the memory of two native girls I saw every night while working the graveyard shift at a local convenience store. People saw them and would remark how somebody ought to do something about the life they were living. I contacted state agencies and got nowhere with them. I can’t help but think about how they would still be here today if the members of the community would’ve directly intervened on those girls’ behalf by bringing food and clothes to them so that they didn’t feel like their only hope was to try to be like their aunt who was a prostitute addicted to heroin. I gave the kids sandwiches and tried to get them more help but it was too late. This poem is for them:

This is the month of holiday ghosts, of goblins and ghouls, of pumpkin seeds roast.

Their names long forgotten, but not their memory, two innocent lives I miss the most

I was strict, but wanted them to play, lost childhood I saw everyday

 

Where did you go, I wandered, I asked, nowhere and none too fast

Bad company came calling today, bad company came and took you away

Eleven and twelve, so young and pure, in shallow graves found you were

 

I tried, I cried but no one cared, simple compassion was all that you dared

That aunt of yours, I blame her I do, her addiction they said, made her a fool

Following her footsteps, you two did take and now from slumber you’ll never wake

 

Childlike voices, childhood prayers, all you needed was someone to care

I hear your names upon the wind and wonder if you’ll forgive our sin

We failed to save you, to bring you in and now I’m left with suffering

 

The swings in the playground move with the breeze, I hope the gods of mercy see

Your memory, innocence lost, still comes to haunt me

They don’t understand me, those people I’m around

Loving, laughing, feet solid on the ground

Even when I leave a comment, it makes no sound

 

They don’t understand me, they don’t try

Nights I hear my children cry

In the driver’s seat I wipe my eyes

 

They don’t understand me or what I do

Blinders on, can’t see the truth

I don’t exist, talk till I’m blue

I don’t mean a thing to you

 

They don’t understand me or how to change

Until it’s too late, engulfed in rage

Words of anger expressed on a page

 

They don’t understand me, I don’t belong

Even though their attitude is wrong

Because of that, I sing a new song

 

They don’t understand, my words though bold

A new understanding will now unfold

This sickening mindset has grown old

 

They don’t understand me, but they will

Indifference, yeah, I’ve had my fill

It’s not about can’t, it’s all about will

 

They don’t understand me, so they say

Then shut the hell up and get out-of-the-way

This is my mission, to find a better day

 

They don’t understand me, so I’ve heard

Do nothing just like the rest of the herd

Common sense has become absurd

 

They don’t understand how it is that we

Choose to become the worst society

It’s not about others but all about me

 

They don’t understand me, guess what, I don’t care!

What little I have I will gladly share

Remember my name if you dare

I’m here, I’m now and I’m not goin’ anywhere!

Yesterday I wrote about Rab, the 85-year-old musician and “street preacher” of sorts. He called me yesterday and let me know he is awfully lonely. I know many of our seniors are and was hoping that folks reading this, (if you’re local or have a lot of minutes on your phone) might take the time to contact him to be either a pen pal or phone buddy. Now I’ll be honest, he does have a tendency to ramble on if you let him but listening to his stories about how he grew up and his opinions on how we’ve changed for the worse are worth listening to. If you would like to brighten the day of an elder, please let me know. Thank you for your time!

What kind of society are we?.