I told you in yesterdays #whatif prompt post a little of my experience of homelessness so this question is not a hypothetical one for me.
Let’s answer it first: I am not sure where I would sleep if it happened again. But when it happened about 8 years ago I first stayed with a friend. But as my ex-partner were not able to deal adequately with his problems I knew he would try to track me down and I did not want to bring my friend into trouble. I also did not want to be a burden to her and her husband.
description for visually impaired readers: A meadow full of puppies and a lily. In white writing a poem saying: Silence isn’t golden, Silence is all shades of black. Silence isn’t golden, Silence is all shades of grey. Silence isn’t golden, Silence is all shades of red. Silence isn’t golden because it won’t protect when they come for you.
As it was summer I decided I took the tent and lived on a campsite until I would find a place to live. I also felt the deep need to be close to nature and close to mother earth. And I needed to be alone. If I’d had the chance to go into a shelter I would have done so but as I have no children there was no chance whatsoever.
Living in a tent with all your belongings in it brings certain problems with it. I was lucky because I could keep my job so I could keep my car and lock everything important in the car because of course, a tent does not have a door to lock so everybody can get in and get stuff.
One day I came home from work and my ex-partner sat in my tent trying to get me back. Even though he was not violent at that time it was terrifying. I was so angry. I got him in the car and took him home which was about 30 miles away. I think he walked all night to get to me. Crazy what people do when they are desperately lonely and not able to find a solution for their pain.
There was another man living on the campsite. I think he was an ex-soldier and homeless too who started to get an interest in me. I spent a couple of nights listening to the outside to make sure he is not coming in. I don’t think he was a danger either. Again just lonely but I did not want him close. The one night he tried my now-husband was with me so he got the message and the next day he was gone.
If you live in a tent how do you keep your clothes tidy? You have not much space to hang anything up. You basically live out of a suitcase. Again I was lucky because I still had my job. So I was on a campsite and could use their facilities. Washing, ironing was possible and I got creative with hangers on the metal skeleton of the tent.
photo source: Quotesgram. Description for visually impaired readers: Pink background with white writing saying: “Persons who have been homeless carry within them a certain philosophy of life which makes them apprehensive about ownership” by Jerzy Kosinski
As I said yesterday I cannot fathom what it means for someone and especially a woman to live on the streets. The constant fear for your security does drive you crazy. I suspect I did not realise it so much then because living in that tent felt so much safer than living with my ex. But I really do not want to get back into that situation ever. In fact, I am now realising how fu….. scared I was then. It makes my whole body shake.
But taking a deep breath I realise that I am not in that place anymore. My husband and I have managed to create a safe place for both of us. He has his own experience of difficulties so our relationship is precious to us. We work on it daily. I am so lucky I met him.
Well, I leave the recount of my experience at this point. It is getting too difficult, to deal with my feelings. But again I ask you to not judge anyone whom you see rough sleeping. You know nothing of their story, their struggle and their pain.
This post answers to Karen’s #whatif prompt over at “What if we all cared?” and these are her suggestions to take part:
Feel free to respond in your favorite way whether it be a poem, short story, photo, video . . however you best relate to the prompt. Simply post your ideas, create a ping-back and use the hashtag #whatif.
Fellow Bloggers writing about Homelessness:
Anything is Possible: Good News Tuesday: Clean Energy, Rescue Team, and Employing Homeless Moms