alice on the run

I want to post my few experiences living in a van after seeing the wonderful blog on how to live homeless effectively. I'm not sure what else I will post about yet, as this is a first for me. Welcome to my blog!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Inspired by the Homeless Blog

This is my first time at this website. I was going to just post a reply to the blog and ended up going through all this, so not tonite, but soon, will start posting my experiences. I have wondered at myself for being so fascinated by the plight of homelessness, and how people function. The first thing they have to do is learn to hide the fact they are homeless, and that is sad.

I lived in a van from March through August or so one year, and I did it on purpose because I wanted a taste of the freedom, and had got an old van, had no job and no plan for what to do next, and I had looked forward to the whole thing, just like someone else had posted. I had some other ideas about what I wanted to do while living in the van, but I found out the real world out there was alot more scary and dangerous than it seemed in my mind, and I let myself down on pursuing those adventures. I want to try it again sometime, but what I mainly learned the first time was how stupid I was.

But I liked it, in alot of ways, and I could see it as a good lifestyle, if you were able to plan for it, rather than landing on your butt that way and then trying to scrounge yourself a life.
The thing that grabbed me tonite that made me want to respond was the homeless shelter experience. I did that too, for a day, and it was a day I'll never forget. The people there were of course women, but they were down and out and all beat up on the inside to such an extent that there was no attempt at conversation and eye contact was avoided. I was tired to the point of tears when I got there, and my first shock was that I was not allowed to sleep, nap, lay down, or even doze off with my head propped up on the table with my arms. I had to sit up and stay awake until bedtime. We had to go to a church service in there, which didn't bother me one way or the other but I was not there to get saved, just to have a safe place to close my eyes for about 8 hours, that's all I wanted. I think I actually lost it and cried awhile when I realized what little I wanted was not going to be so easy to get, and I was sorry I'd walked through the door asking for "help," the only "help" I needed being having four walls around me to feel safe in. That part probably feels quite different to a guy, than it does to a girl who was not used to what it felt like to want to fall asleep and not be safe to do so. Maybe it's the same for guys, on the other hand, but if you are a guy and look like you got nothing, there's nothing another guy wants from you; if you are a woman who appears to have nothing, there's still plenty to fear, maybe even more.

The food was some kind of mushy meat gravy over watery mashed potatoes and it all tasted alot more like aluminum than food; I couldn't eat it, now I am sure if I was hungry ENOUGH I would not complain about something like that.

I felt the sadness, despair, hopelessness of the other women and it rubbed off on me. I knew inside my heart I wasn't one of them, and I began to feel like I was an intruder who shouldn't be there, fact is I had a van but was afraid to sleep out in the van in what was at that time a very unfamiliar town. How I came to the shelter is a story I prefer to forget right now, but I was simply drifting without a path in life and drifted into some bad things. And the rude awakening did me a world of good. I knew that there but for the grace of God go I, and there is nothing exempting that possibility for me as well. I learned I did not want to be one of those broken from the inside-out women, living with no joy and no hope and nobody left to care that that is your life.