The Lost One.

I’ve cried a lot today. Big shocker, two/thirds of you think, knowing my familiarity with tears. That’s okay, I thought it too even as I wrote it.

Tears keep streaking my cheeks because while I am dumbfoundly excited and proud that after months and months of painstaking work my team and I have managed to identify, process and house 66 people, we lost one. In the week leading up to her move-in she was around and then just gone. Vanished. We have no idea where she could be.

This reality is not new to me, it happens all the time working with a transient population, but something about this one feels more off than most. Miss K is a tiny older lady, who speaks broken English and is often rather confused- the fact that she has managed on the streets for as long as she has speaks volumes as to her tenacity and strength. I admire that about her. Continue reading “The Lost One.”

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Keep Watching.

I saw Jesus last week. Not literally- I mean, I did see a couple shaggy haired hippy-types (swoon), but I didn’t actually see him walking about town- put your phones down, I don’t need an intervention just yet.

No, I saw Jesus on Skid Row.

I saw him in the eyes of all 31 new residents as we handed them keys to Skid Row Housing Trust’s newest apartment complex.

I heard his voice in my new friend as she tearfully sung me the Hallelujah Chorus when I informed her that after months of bureaucratic red tape her paperwork and lease were finally completed and ready to be signed.

I saw Jesus in the heart of my co-worker Ally,who sat with our new visually impaired resident, guiding him hand-on-hand as he signed his new lease. Continue reading “Keep Watching.”

Advice Column.

I’m not very good at taking advice, but man I am sure given a lot of it. My old roommate/close friend Megan once said to me, “when I have advice I think you should take I typically try to word it in a way in which you end up thinking it was your idea.” Did I mention Megan is brilliant? She has inadvertently advised me to make some of my better decisions in life.

It should come as no shock however, that I loooove giving advice- especially about relationships and what one should do with their life…two things I have zero business acting like the authority on, but whatever it’s your choice if you’re dumb enough to take it.

It’s barely a hyperbole to say that roughly 80% of the advice I am ever given is something to the effect of, “Rachel, you really need to chill,” because well, I lean just a teeeeensy bit on the anxious side.

I’ve been hording a Word document for some time now of some of the best and most ridiculous remaining 20% of advice I’ve been given the last few years and thought I’d share it; Enjoy. Maybe you can even glean some healthy insight (especially regarding your teeth; your friends).

Relationships are not a pissing contest, Rachel- stop trying to win them.
-my former boss Continue reading “Advice Column.”

Keep Going

Keep Going

A week or so ago I got a message from someone with a question I get asked a lot (and I ask a lot to others); How do you keep going? How do you cope when things are hard? Because I find it nearly impossible to write short answers to anything I care about (ask anyone that I’ve ever sent a text message to), I wrote back a small dissertation that I thought I’d share, as I find it to be a vital question and something so so soooo important when living out any peace-waging effort.

I have not cornered this market, but here are some things I have picked up along the way:

Counseling. I have been in and out of counseling for years. I first started going after being held-up/car-jacked in college and started displaying really odd behaviors, fears and nightmares. I was interning at AIDS Project Los Angeles and slowly a job that I had LOVED was turning me into a complete wreck. If needed, counseling is one of the greatest tools, once you can humble yourself enough to say “I freaking need help.” (That part took me a long time- in fact, someone else made my first counseling appointment for me and strong-armed into going. That said, I think everyone in the world could benefit from it.)  It has really assisted me in processing things when I’ve thought I might lose my mind. It’s also helped me learn how to set up healthy boundaries- learning where to let go and recognize that I can’t make people’s decisions for them even if I want to and that at the end of the day, I really have very little control over anything has helped me a ton. Continue reading “Keep Going”

Weighty Matters.

(April 1st)
“What year were you born, 1971?”
“That better be an April Fool’s joke.”
“A what?”

“Can I please have your gum when you’re done with it, Rachel? I’d like to test your DNA.”

(The Monday after Easter)
“How was your weekend, Miss Rachel? It was kind of a big one for you and your people, eh? Wellllll, maybe a rough one for your Jewish side, but I bet the left side of your body was alll ‘wooo! it’s our time to shine!’ ”

“Okay, be real with me- are you more excited about your big Easter holiday yesterday or that today is the Dodgers Opening Day? I imagine you consider them both holy so I am just curious.” Continue reading “Weighty Matters.”

That is the Gospel.

Yesterday was not my finest day. I think I started complaining the minute I woke up. From the guy cutting me off in traffic, to a meeting I needed to help facilitate, to being hungry during said meeting- EVERYTHING was frustrating and annoying me. I am not proud of this- in fact, if you’re reading this it’s because I lost the debate with myself as to whether or not it would be okay to just erase this part and admit to nothing. At one point I stated to a friend, “I should be quarantined today, take away my phone and all human contact, I think it’s most beneficial thing for society.”

As you might expect, that didn’t happen, life had to go on as did the workday much to others’ chagrin I am certain.

Right now at Skid Row Housing Trust we are in the middle of leasing up a new building, which essentially means we are in the process of identifying and then housing 60+ new residents, bringing them off the streets into their new home. To say this is an honor would be a huge understatement, but to say it’s insanely stressful and often times confusing as all hell would be too. Continue reading “That is the Gospel.”