Pokemon and Homeless Children (Spoilers and Triggers Ahead)

I usually do not blog about brand new shiny toys, due to income levels I tend to be way behind the curve but I was gifted Pokemon X this month and devoured the initial story rapidly. This is my favorite story so far. Yet after that initial story there is another… instead of just endlessly hunting pokemon down (710 I think now) you end up with a VERY socially aware story. I have a page break here so that people wanting to not be spoiled as far as plot can avoid it.

 

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Begging at the Poorhouse Door

I live in a low income apartment complex. This means everyone here is either on Section 8 or earns a minimal income. We are all considered the poorest of the poor. I have been here for two months, though it feels like a blissful eternity. I am even getting used to the six AM vaccume sessions overhead. They help me wake up on time for meetings at least.

I have nice neighbors, the woman and her family upstairs are from India, and we exchange pleasantries often. The man next door is a white guy who works at Taco Bell and has four kids. I have yet to see much issue with my neighbors. However, there is a sudden trend. It might be due to more lay offs, but, suddenly people are begging at my front door. Not once, not twice, three times. I also can hear through the walls and know others are facing this same thing.

It isn’t just that they are begging at low income housing that bothers me. It is really how they beg. The first person who came was utterly honest, “Hey, I am sorry to bother you. We have never met but I live in Apartment 123 (not the real location) and just lost my job. I can’t afford food tonight, can I borrow something? I will pay you back as soon as possible.” I let my Person juggle things like this. Food requests send me over an edge still, and even if I have it I want to be irrationally greedy, fearing my own stomach will go empty. He gave her some gluteny pasta and sauce. He offered more but she declined. This incident doesn’t bother me in the least. I am proud of my Person’s ability to help, proud that we have enough food, and I am secretly glad that the pasta is gone since he eats my Rice pasta with me. Gluten Free leftovers are icky.

The second incident was much weirder. It had been a long day, I had Toastmasters, I had given a speech, then something else draining occured. Sprite was upset, so, I climb down, appraise the distance between me and the door and we manage it. Barely through the door when knock knock knock. “Oh, could you please drive all of this garbage I just pulled out of the dumpster over to my apartment on XYZ street?” I just climbed into bed, leaving him to deal with this intruder. “I’ll give it all to the homeless tommarrow.” Yeah right, that was my instant impulse. My person is more generous than I am with this sort of thing, though he shared my reticence to give a stranger a ride. He helped her carry it to her apartment and did not go inside. She seemed disappointed by the fact that she had to carry her loot, though what she would have done if we had not returned home boggles my mind. Would she have left it there? Was she really just lying in wait? It was creepy. My instincts said it was bad and so did my persons. He expressed concern that people will keep asking to use our vehicle now, because it is a nice, big van. I responded with this, “It’s ours. We say no. I don’t know these people. They do not get to risk my transportation. I was trapped for too long to let that happen.” He agreed.

Just now, i got up from my writing, and went to the restroom. I leave the door open incase I need help. That happens often enough and it is much easier to shout through an open door than a closed one. William Shakespurr has become my Bathroom buddy and he sauntered in just in time to get trapped by the knocking. Person closed the door and I listened intently. “Uh could you buy my cable box? I just got uot of the hospital and I want to sell it.” Two things. The cable box is not hers to sell. The cable company only rents them. I don’t want to buy a cable box that could get me put in jail. “No.” He closed the door then let me and William out.

I discovered upon asking that he has fended several away from the door. This is becoming an agitation. I live in the technical poorhouse too. I am not wealthy. What I have I have earned, struggled for, and often doesn’t go as far as I need. Yes, I am willing to help people when I can but, if you are going to go around with a sob story, several of the incidents I am not able to mention here due to my desire to be blatantly mean about their claims were over the top dramatic sob stories, then at least be realistic. IF you just want cash. Get a job, pan handle on the free way, but do not come asking me for cash.

Just like the rest of America, just like the rest of the world I do not have extra money to spare. AIG has it. Go ask THEM for help with your hospital bills. Go ask them to feed your child, or to let you stay in their apartments for one night. This is not a homeless shelter, this is not a charity. This is my home. Back off.

Though I can be nice, kind, and charming. Though that is my default behavior pattern, when I feel invaded in my home I will show my teeth and proverbial claws. I do not like guests, except an exclusive few. I do not like strangers trying to invite themselves in.

I was homeless. I get going hungry. There are organizations, charities, and help groups that will feed you, clothe you, and most will try and help you get work. There are rent assistance programs, there are a myriad of ways to try and get help. Begging at the door of a person who is just as poor as you? That is not it.

No this essay is not gentle, it is merely my statements of fact and opinion. Every person has equal access to help, so ask in the right place and the right way. There are even places that will help you if you are not a legal citizen, without having you deported. Got it? Stay away from my door unless you are going to be a welcomed guest, do not ask for the few things I have. I do not share my necessities when they are barely obtained.

Do not ask me for food, shelter, clothing. I offer what I have to the world. My cast offs do not get thrown away, they get given to charities or those in need. You can ask me for help finding food, shelter, and clothing. I am currently in need of many of those things.

Although I do not begrudge the first request, a part of me wonders if giving that woman food is why everyone else is coming here. The first was no leech, but the rest? That sucking sensation has drained me of my good will.

Corned Beef Homelessness

I was humming “The Rising of the Moon,” today and remembering Saint Padraig’s Days past. Part of it was the entire discordance in my body, the rest of it was a mixture of too much green and random facts about Saint Pats. I had seizures all day, starting directly after the TVC Toastmaster’s Meeting began. This left me exhausted, and my mind was not on the evaluation.

I still did my best, but, instead of baseball I wanted to think about the children i used to know. When I was homeless, at the first shelter I was running under the presumption that there was no joy to be had there, no safety, no happiness, no love. So far this had been proven correct, until I woke up on Saint Patrick’s Day Morn. This was about four years ago, I was all alone in the world. What woke me was a soft bundle of skin clinging to me tightly, crying.

The little girl was blind, and could not tell where her mommy was, and I felt nice and safe. So, sitting up I carefully ran a hand down her back and asked her what her mother’s name was. It was an hour before wake up call, and the girl had just gone to the bathroom, but her mommy had left her there, or so she thought. I put my shoes on and forced my body to move. Once I had my footing we walked to the bathroom, through the snow, my coat wrapped around the girl. I was cold, but, she was smaller and I decided she likely needed it more than I did.

I could hear someone calling, “Maggie?” In the darkness, I could not see but I could hear her. “I hear my Mommy!” The relief filled the child and she wanted to run off, but was afraid because this was their first night at the Shelter and she had fallen a few times, trying to find her mother. We made it to the bathroom, over 500 yards from the main building. Her mother was in tears when she saw her child and scooped her up. “I thought you were gone forever.” They said this in unison. I took my coat, her mother had hers, and wrapped myself in it, creeping back to bed.

I tried to go back to sleep but it was too late for extra rest. Still, I reasoned this wouldn’t be a big deal. They often treated women like garbage there, I am certain they still do. This day was different, if you could ignore the fact that the men had a restroom inside the main building and did not have to go outside with wet hair, they even had six toilets instead of just two and theirs was accessible. I couldn’t ignore it but was told if I so much as protested I would be out with no shelter.

When we cleared the floor, set the tables and had our breakfast, a bowl of sugary cereal each, the children came in. They rarely got breakfast, unless someone saved it for them, first come first serve, and children without a home are just as reticent to leave their warm beds as those with. I often saved my cereal for a child, and this morning I presented it to Maggie, after it turned out there was no more food. She recognized my voice and told her mother I was the nice lady who had saved her. I smiled for the first time, since losing my home. For a moment I didn’t hurt so much either. Then my stomach started whining at me, it wasn’t hungry it was just the sheer amount of allergens I had to eat in order to not die. The knife’s edge I walked on had become narrower and more harrowing.

I pulled on the very shirt I wore today, one of the few I managed to salvage. It was my only green at that point. I let my hair down, liking how it felt. I felt pretty again, a first since my back injury and homelessness. I wanted to dance, though I did not trust my legs for that. Then the staff asked for volunteers to run arts and crafts. The adults all grumbled, no one wanted to bother with the kids. I raised my hand. I have this strange reaction to chances to do things, I usually say yes.

There were acrylic paints, glitter glues, glitter, glue, and a lot of paper. I was given the one pair of scissors and we set out to work. Maggie was the first to want to try something, so, I helped her cut out clover and let her smear the glue all over the paper. She was having a blast. I remember her laughter, “It’s gooey!” Her mother watched, but less carefully since I had returned her unharmed without knowing either of them. Another girl came over, then a boy, and they made green paper chains, then, on white paper we painted leprechauns. Soon, the entire building was covered in green.

That smile kept returning too. After the first chain was hung, a few of the men began to pin the decorations, growling out playfully, “We need more green over here.” Smiling as one of the kids ran a decoration over, the smiles started to spread. By the time the annual news cameras came, filming us just to show how great the people who run the place are everyone was smiling. I remember the reporter, a short man with a puce tie, muttering, “Why are they so damned happy? Don’t they know they are homeless?”

As we sat down, a kind man bringing me a plate as I had begun to fall over again I realized why I was happy. I had stopped focusing for one day on my homelessness, and had instead focused on making someone else happy. I wanted to make sure that those kids had a happy day. I wanted to see their smiles. It was cold out, snowing, but inside the warmth of family and friends was found. I also had the first meal that was not going to make me sick since arriving there. Corned Beef with a side of freshly mashed potatoes. There was enough for everyone, a rarity there. I even was allowed seconds on the meat and potatoes.

I hid from the camera, this was helped by the smile that would not abate, I could not stop grinning. After all, the children were laughing, our temporary home felt like a home for once and until it was time to sleep no one fought, there was no need to try to steal food, and we were all content. The next morning there was no green, just the cold snow. There was too little food once more and it all went back to being a gray existence, dull and painful. Except, that I still felt happy.

My happiness was not permanent, yet, my acceptance that I could feel happiness made it easier to exist in a state of contentment. Without that day, I might very well have been too depressed to fight for survival a month later, when I nearly froze to death. That shelter is a special hell, for those in need, for those who no one cares enough about. It is not up to code, safe, and they do not try to make you safe or happy. It was merely a whim that lead to that one day, a kindness so rarely given.

As more and more families lose their homes, they head to shelters just like that one. Today, I remembered my own agony as I fondled a bit of green paint hidden just inside my sleeve, the paint stain is left over from that day. I too considered why I kept the shirt, and I realized despite it being a bit uncomfortable, always too warm , I keep it because this shirt has memories attached. It isn’t just the shade of green that sets my hair afire, smooths my skin, and makes me feel absolutely beautiful. The beauty I feel is instead in the subconscious associations with happiness.

When you have nothing, you still have your soul, your life, and the ability to love.
Happy Saint Padraig’s Day. May the road rise to meet you, your friends and family greet you, and love fill your heart today.

Thank You is Sometimes All You Can Say.

This feels strange, to write. I am going to go for a crown. It took me a very long time to become aware of my own value, and through the Ms Wheelchair USA program, I can not only show my own skills and confidence but I get to hopefully inspire other women and men to be confidence. I have conversations daily with my friends, sometimes strangers, and every so often in the mirror with myself when my pain has me grasping for strength I am sure I will not find about confidence and value.

I minister aid to those in need. Today I recieved two gifts. One, is the first donation for my campaign towards the Crown, and the other was a bottle of holywater. I will not discuss my religion here, as I do not think that has bearing on who I am or what I am capable of doing, but I see this as a beautiful thing.

The woman who sent me the holy water is one of my strangers. It was just before Christmas and I went with a friend to the bookstore. Meandering we agreed to meet at the coffee shop and I went rolling through the shop. She looked happy, except her eyes. I remember how utterly void of joy they were, and she couldn’t seem to stop staring, so, I struck up a conversation with her about the books on the table. She didn’t take long to open up to me. I remember my utter shock at her telling me she was going to commit suicide. I responded before I thought with, “Why would you want to do a thing like that?” After an h our of conversation we hugged. I rarely hug people because it pains me, but, she needed a hug more than anything else. She told me she wanted to send me a package and after meeting me she couldn’t kill¬† herself. Our conversation touched on the spiritual, but mostly her need to be someone. She had forgotten herself for years to be a mother to a disabled child, and now her own grand child was disabled and she couldn’t fathom happiness for anyone. Today I recieved a thank you card, and the bottle from a local blessed spring. It reminded me of my power to inspire people. I did not need a reminder to know I am good, but, the reminder that I can touch people by being who I am was a surprise.

I then talked with a male friend of mine who often forgets to love himself. For years he has battled this and tonight I shared with him how I learned to love myself. I started telling myself three times a day in the mirror I love you. That was all I saw myself, when washing my hands. Then, I wrote on my stomach, legs and anywhere that was invisible to others, I love me. I love me. Over and over. It took a long time, then I started to believe it. Mike and I met over something daring, I did something that I might be ashamed of now, online as many others do. The evidence is thankfully washed away by server errors and time. I had made myself do something out of character, to see what would happen. I never went back in my shell. I instead became a real girl. No more hiding, no more sorrow. Shortly after this I broke my back, and had to resume chanting how much I love me. I still do some days, to help myself along when the pain burns me through and I forget that I am more than a disabled chick who can barely walk. When homeless Mike fed me, he even helped pay for Sprite the Service Cat’s vet bills. He is amazing, and, I hope that he remembers that. He reminds me of who I used to be, and even admits when he is wrong. A very rare individual whom I appreciate. He is who I turn to when even my well worn tactics fail, he can always make me smile and is the Brother of My Soul. He is greatness himself, and proved to me, before any other male could, that not all men are evil. Without him, I would still be fighting daily to not feel afraid in this world. Instead I feel love and warmth even in my darkest hours.

Then, I went into my favorite IRC, dedicated to graphic programers who make animal skins for IMVU, a 3D Instant messenger and started talking with a brilliant young woman. Her name, posted with Permission, is Weesha. We talk often, though the last few months before I started this blog that contact was rare due to no internet connection. I told her of my discovery, just before the deadline and without enough time, this year, to dedicate to my new goal of Ms Wheelchair USA. We brainstormed for ways that she can help me to spread the word about MWUSA, to reach my goal, and so that people can learn about my Platform. I haven’t finished fine tuning the platform yet, but tonight she spread the word far enough that the first donation was made by Jen, a person of similar interests, taste, and a person who deserves a very special thank you. My wonderful day started off in tears and has blossomed into a garden of delights.

I just want to say thank you, these people are beyond special. May any who read these words have as dear friends and family as I have. They feed my soul, they nourish my dreams, and wish for the dreams of all to come true. They deserve as much as they give. Each one has their hopes and dreams and this, dear readers, is my hope for them.

For Information on Ms Wheelchair USA please visit their website. There you can learn about the current Crown holder Beryl Holzbach.  I saw some of her youtube videos today and was brought to tears, mourning what is, and hoping that her advocacy brings great strides to the medical field.

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