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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
This Blog is not for the faint of heart,my direct approach is to address the importance of lifestyle choices.. education and awareness.the story will unfold Midnight matters ..days just slip away..and nights get longer writing has been a passion of mine now I share it with my audience. sharing my stength.hope,faith Everything in between Thanks for visiting come back soon!


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Monday, March 8, 2010

Homelessness An inside look

If you have been following the blog, my faith journey into bipolar madness.
took me on the road into homelessness,I have been living at hotels,friends & family,
then a shelter.I had a few of my well intentioned friends tell me I can't afford this lifestyle.This doubter listened and after my hospital stint,I was discharged to a homeless shelter.First I ended up at one in the west-end, dinner was being served as the women lined up ,my dearest friend of 15 yrs worked there who is also the mother of my daughter's friend.I left as the embarrassment of what others would think was intolerable to me.
I made a few calls to the local homeless shelters,a list had been provided to me at the hospital.

Day 1 at the shelter, my observations.
Women ranging from young to old,trans genders.some wild some calm.
two-three women occupied a small room with lockers,beds,a dresser,a side table.
three levels of stairs that seemed overwhelming when carry all my bags.I really put a new meaning to bag lady.a washroom with stall like showers.T.V lounge equipped with flat screen T.V's and chairs scattered the large room.
Balconies that would have seating for the smokers.,the ashtray a can filled with butts.
A dining room which fed the city workers better than the homeless women.
Some days one would choose not to eat in the dining room with outbreaks of stomach flu.
Everyone in the shelter kept to themselves,it is an unwritten rule.
Upon entering the shelter there is an intake process,showers and all laundry must be done.
medications are locked up.distributed different times throughout the day.Curfew was 3:00 am.

Good thing for me was I fit right in,with the personality I have people were either scared of me,or open to my inquiries.
I am always on the look out for subject matter for my writings.
Now that I look back I am able to see why I couldn't sleep.
The ere sound of doors slamming,as to add volume echoes of the past.
A knock on the door startled me.I said hello?
The voice said,why are you making so much noise in there.I laid upon my bed the silence of the darkest night.I responded if you can hear me think than yes I am making noise.She said go to sleep.I couldn't help but think was someone really there?
I jumped from my bed,the irons gave way.No one could be seen,but her eminence left behind.
I slammed the door,just like I heard for the next 10 minutes,doors slamming,I stood in the hall leaning against the wall,the doors remained closed and the sounds left Sleep was a distant hope.
I was moved with emotion,first shock then panic.tears filled my eyes I began to hyper-ventilate.
Then I went for a smoke to calm my nerves,as well as nightly meds did the trick.
Jane was in her 50's a beauty in delicate terms her frail appearance,bulked by the coats she wore, we talked before as I really loved her coat.It was a white feather duvet that had a hole to fit her head through,she had hand stitched a brown pashmina to add to it's flare.

Jane offered me a few cigarettes,as I was running low.this doesn't usually happen people don't give there smokes away.she also asked me if a MacDonald's card would help.It was for 5:00 worth of food,her sheer kindness giving from nothing,seemed odd to me.Jane had told me her situation it was a way of survival,much like the way rats survive.not like a pampered housewife,her only decision in life was what she was going to change the color of her nail polish.It immediately hit me.I was pampered as I had been thinking about my nails all day.

I sat the good part of the early morning in the
donut shop,in my fluffy purple pajama's reading the newspaper,my glasses kept sliding off my nose into my search of apartments.I ate my breakfast as a gift from a friend.
With inadequate sleep,side-effects from the medications,made it seem all to daunting and confusing.
I began to walk,the wondering of up to 10hrs daily,an escape from the truth of what homelessness entails.
My quest for truth,was about to hit me in the face.I was sitting outside CAMH,a centre for Mental health and Addictions located on college st.approached by a few guys asking for a smoke.I gave two,from my newly opened pack.
One guy introduced himself as the new candidate for mayor,he had a mishap at the Scott mission and was waiting for the police.He was dressed the part suit & tie with a smile that made me unsure.
Then another guy was about to leave,I asked him to stay.His name was Oscar.he was well spoken,his appearance was a little scruffy,he was carrying a nap sac.I asked him what he does? He said he was homeless.
I laughed and said so am I.I am living at a women's shelter.Oscar and I spent the day together he introduced me to his friends some had addictions,some where alcoholics.
He told them I was a writer they gave me some good stuff.I am just checking in to see what condition,my condition was in.~Kenny Rogers
The part that stood out for me was these guys are funny,and articulate,but homeless
Oscar told me what his routine was daily,he got up around 7am,had breakfast,picked up cigarette buts,pan handled,went to the library,while we where at the library I helped him with confidence and a job search.all he really wished for was a job.
Oscar had said.he had been homeless for 30 yrs,although he came from a good well established family,they still remain in contact.
He really never considered the mental health aspect,of addictions.
as we where walking,it hit me after listening to this guy,homelessness was not an option of most it was a way of life.How dare I take this life as an experiment,how self imposed I was to come into this click of people that had so willingly taken me under there care,on the streets.
It felt like a slap on the face,I didn't need to be there.I was there.

Tim Horton's was a welcomed break from the bitter cold and rain.Even with the biggest of egos thinking I was coaching Oscar in a better direction.It was him in his modest way that taught me the value,of compassion & humility
That we are at home within.that spiritually I had work to do.His job was done for the day ministering to my broken spirit.we parted ways after a stop in a store,I had to get my granddaughter a birthday gift.we shared some laughs.He was going to the church for dinner.

I left the experience for a comfortable hotel suite.
My job was done,never take my life for granted.
looking at others in judgement was not my place.

Arnold did a list of pros vs cons of homelessness

Opportunity to spend time on my writings
homelessness provides space.
cuts costs
homelessness is a war within ones mind
Surrender to it.
having an open mind to opportunity throughout the day.

who am I trying to impress?
I'm building this house in Toronto for me to live in.
where I am most comfortable.

Arnold's biggest question Why do I constantly accept homelessness as an answer or a means to an end?
where does this lead?

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The reason of all reasons

A blog dedicated to strength,courage and hope.
Mental Illness and addictions is a disease,it should be treated as such recovery is possible.
My goal is to carry the message to those that still suffer that you will not have to be in isolation. be free my friend at last.
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