Monday, October 15, 2012

#ROW80 POST 11 – Homeless in 24 Hours or Less...

The following is the very first post I ever made when I first decided I was going to blog about being homeless. At first I thought it was going to be some kind of high, dramatically artful thing, but guess what? That isn’t me and that sure as hell isn’t the life I was living, nor have I ever lived it. My life has been one of high hilarity, confusion, conflict with brief periods of normal. So why on earth I ever thought I should try and be all serious and intoning and shit was beyond me. Probably because I thought homelessness was a serious enough subject to demand that. I’m not sure that anything short of the Mass Extinction of Life demands something that deadly dull, but there it is. More after this bore-fest:

We are homeless. Some of us arrived in this state unexpectedly, while for others of us, it was a long, slow decline. Some of us have made choices abruptly or over an extended period of time, that now seem idiotic, but seemed logical at the time. Some of us are infirm medically, with serious physical illnesses. Some of those illnesses are congenital, some are brought on by bad life-style choices. Some of us are here because our mental faculties do not allow us to function in the "real" world. We may be afraid, subject to panic attacks, irrationality, or we may be bi-polar. We don't all sleep in the streets, or under overpasses and in bus stations. We don't cart all our worldly belongings around in shopping carts or back packs. We don't all shout at the "normal" passers-by, or cause other disruptions in public. We are not all dangerous, to ourselves or others. We are not all addicts or criminals. We are not all "playing the system." We are not all the other things that have been said about us, or to us in ignorance or with malicious intent by "normal" citizens...

We have feelings, dreams and hopes. We do care about what has happened to us and how we've come to be living in a shelter, group home, or rooming house. Some of us are dealing with terrifying health conditions, financial situations, domestic abuse. We are trying to recover from the situation of being homeless. Some of us are dealing with ostracism from family members, because we have been incarcerated. But we have paid our debts to society, and are ready and willing to work and prove ourselves contributing members of this world. We are badly hurt, but we are still trying to craft new lives for ourselves. We still have hope. Some of us are young; mid-twenties or early thirties. Some of us are middle-aged; fifties and sixties. I am pretty sure that my life's agenda did not include being homeless, legally blind, with cardio-vascular disease, emphysema and COPD at age 55. At least, I don't remember wishing for it, but... here I am.

This blog is intended to give the non-homeless a glimpse into the world I and my fellow homeless friends inhabit. This is not a how-to on how to survive homelessness or a directory of useful services in Tampa for the homeless. This is an attempt to describe our view of the world as "homeless" people. We plan to write stories, chronicle our experiences as we move through dealing with the Medical and Government establishments, on our journeys to... "non-homelessness?" Some of this blog will be amusing; some of it heartbreaking; kind of like "real" life. We will start with my story and get the boring out of the way first. We will be adding pictures and will have a few "departments" of other stuff. Sorry to be so non-specific. As we open this up to the public, I would encourage email from readers (if we ever garner any) to send their suggestions for additional material.

So, please read, and please, please feel free to email with comments, criticisms and suggestions. Just please, no hate mail.

-- HomelessViola
-- May 20, 2011

You had to cook WITH your roll of paper towels or someone would steal them at the shelter

This was back before I gave up my "HomelessViola" moniker. But wait! Before I did i got a case of the terminal horrids. To this day, I do not know what possessed me. I became "GratefulViola" for oh, all of about 5 days. I even signed up on some websites. Then the universe collapsed and died and I knew that was just wrong. I went off and played Runescape at the Library for a while and thought about my new life that was struggling to be born and some more hoary old aphorisms abounded. 

It was about then, I found out my old Clan, SpiritZ had pretty much died of indifference, so I couldn’t really be "SpZ Viola Woman" anymore. Damn! This whole viola thing was just all asses and elbows. Actually, I wasn't having too much success as a woman, either. I never really had; didn't play Barbies,  and I didn't have dolly carriages and dress up my cats. I kind of hung out with my dad and read about wars, tanks and blew stuff up. Hmm. Mebbe I needed to rethink the gender part of my handle. I sure as hell wasn't going to become some kind of "violin" thing. I still hate those screechy things and play the violin only for money.

My friends Jeremy and Bryan were coming up with all of these kick-ass handles like "MidnightWolf" and "DamnationDay" and shit and I’m "GratefulViola." Oh, kill me with a spoon! Jesus. Oh, god, "HomelessViola" just sounds well, helpless. I use that as my email handle and I’ve typed ‘helplessviola’ instead of ‘homelessviola’ it’s painful. It’s not me. Now, I’m pissed. I’ve been that more, a lot lately. I never was before all of this, whatever 'this' is.

Geeze, this first post, Could I have been any more non-specific? Swap stories and letters? Let's all hold hands and sing "Kumbaya." Tomorrow is Sharing and Caring day and Beenie Weenies? Not. A. Clue. When I first started to write my blog. Some would argue that after this post, I've made little progress. Fine. Let's move on. This is my blog and my process. Let's just say that this is part of the healing. Process. Beat a dead horse.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I became homeless, if we skip over the last pointless paragraph is that I did have tons of repressed anger. Everyone was always angrier, meaner and bigger than I was, for a long time. So now in the Clan Chat, I kind of zone out and when I come to... I'm thinking about some of this casual cruel stuff that happened and that I probably caused, too.

We’re in a Clan Chat, with my friends; and they've been through lots of my shit before all of my catastrophe and miracle of miracles; they're still my friends. I type out, “how about this? Fury?”

Jeremy: “Fury?”

Me: “Yeah, ViolaFury.”

Jeremy: “Cool, I like it.”

Me: “Me too.”

Damnation Day: “Nice one, after 90 years, you finally found a good name.” Typical Bryan.

They're what's for dinner!
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