Living in the Tension and Getting Up.

Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
–Brian Andreas

A couple of years ago I met a guy. His name is T.J.. At the risk of full disclosure and possibly confirming your suspicions that I really am a b****, I’ve got to confess, I 113% did not want to be friends with him. You see, T.J. is cool; girls dig him, guys look up to him and well, he wears a leather jacket. Plus he’s a musician and when you spend enough years at a Christian college that attribute usually conjures images of guys sitting in the quad singing worship music superficially to woo the passing ladies. Barf. He was clearly not company I’d want to keep – I am tottttally above that, am I right? Continue reading “Living in the Tension and Getting Up.”

Homeless Bill of Rights; Join the Movement

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

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THE HOMELESS BILL OF RIGHTS:
1. Right to move freely, rest, sleep, & pray and be protected in public spaces without discrimination.
2. Right to occupy a legally parked vehicle.
3. Right to share food and eat in public.
4. Right to legal counsel if being prosecuted.
5. Right to 24-hour access to “hygiene facilities.”
6. Require judges to consider necessity defense in homeless related cases. Continue reading “Homeless Bill of Rights; Join the Movement”

I Give Up.

If I am being honest, the last couple months have been pretty rough. The holidays are usually challenging for many patrons of Skid Row, so that part did not come as a huge surprise, although this year was worse than most. Couple that with some personal difficulties going on outside of the Skid Row community, I found myself on the floor- several times- wondering what the heck I’m doing here…or there…or anywhere.

More than once I have thought about giving up, calling it a day and surrendering. These thoughts however, are usually followed by a long diatribe of self-chastising, because when the word surrender gets placed in front of me the first thing I often think of is weakness, loss of self and loss of the competition at hand. Whether in the physical or the metaphysical, waving the white flag is not an act I take pride in.

But what does it really mean to surrender? What does it really mean to lay down my sword and let go? Perhaps it is less and act of giving up and more of an act of will, stating respect in the entity you are giving yourself over to. Continue reading “I Give Up.”

I don’t work with bums.

The worst line that has ever been used to ask me out started with, “You work with homeless people? Awesome. I met this bum the other day…”

“Bum?!” I hastily replied. “That’s reeeeeal nice, I bet you made him feel so special when you called him that…” And then proceeded to use enough colorful words to ensure we no longer had a ride home and would be taking a taxi out of downtown San Diego. (tact has never come easy for me.)

Now, I understand that, that word is often used in a way that is not meant to be offensive and to be honest, I think it’s used by some of the most well-meaning people, but this should not be. Homeless people are not bums. Homeless people are not junkies, crackheads, hobos or hookers. Homeless people are human beings without homes. Continue reading “I don’t work with bums.”

ILLEGAL TO BE HOMELESS

“Why did you go to jail?” I asked Miss Deborah recently when discussing an arrest a few years back.

“I was sleeping on the street in Arizona,” she replied.

“And what happened?”

“That’s it. It’s illegal to be homeless where I was so they arrested me. I had no choice; I very literally had nowhere to go, the shelter was full.” Continue reading “ILLEGAL TO BE HOMELESS”