I feel as though storytelling is for the masses. Certain stories just have a way of resonating with people in a way that benefits them. This is not a happy story. It doesn’t have a happy ending. It has an ending that is typical because life is typical. Although every story is unique, no story is special in the sense of tragedies. Everyone goes through them. Everyone suffers.
“Life’s a bitch, and then you die.”
-Narrorator of 1000 Ways to Die
Being homeless in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was an adventure, to say the least. I wouldn’t dare use any word synonymous with “enjoyable” nor would I recommend this experience to anyone. It’s almost like going to prison, an experience you would exchange for just about else.
I was one of the lucky ones. I never completely got engrossed in the lifestyle. I had a job, had meager funds to buy things, and wasn’t active in my drug addiction (over 2 years clean and sober!)
There’s so much to know about being homeless. So many unspoken rules to follow. So many secrets you need to know.
Like I mention before, I had a job. So I’d wake up, go to work and endure the nonsense of earning a paycheck. I loved my job. It was a break from all the craziness and the politics of being outside.
On days, when I didn’t work, I’d go to the local homeless shelter where you could sleep and eat lunch a noon. It was like being in school. There were rules that had to be followed and monitored very carefully by staff. There were all sorts of things you could do there. Like take a shower, get clean clothes, get mail, get your hair cut, it was a homeless paradise. There was also tones of trouble you could get into to, so they kicked us out at.
Then it was back to killing time til Dinner time.
There were always people coming to feed the homeless. Some people were forced to but the majority were just decent people. They’d bring huge spreads with a variety of foods for us too. Granted with the amount of us it wouldn’t last but it was, it was still delicious. After dinner, all there was left to do was kill time until nightfall. And nightfall was when all the drama began.
Nightfall was when the drugs and alcohol came out. It was when all the drama started. There was no shelter to it. The best you could do was stay out of it. It helped to stay with people who had a sense of immunity to it. Or at least people who favored you enough to keep you out of it. I was lucky. I ran with people who had jobs as well. People who could separate themselves from the drama. People who took care of themselves. When you are homeless, it’s important to remember to put yourself first and not get absorbed into the world around you. Always remember, that you don’t want to make this temporary situation a permanent one.
Mine was temporary. After about 3 months, my father invited me to stay with him. Things worked out for a while, but not permanently. My point is every situation, however good or bad is not permanent. Things change in the blink of an eye. Stay ready, and be prepared.
Until next we meet
Breath and Exist,
Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here