Every morning I like to do a bit of light reading before I start work. Mostly, I read articles via alternative news websites. My favourites at this present time being: Natural News, The Mind Unleashed, SchNews, Spirit Science and Metaphysics, as well as reading tips and reports by Ethical Consumer. Not all in one morning, I add.
It was a recent article on The Mind Unleashed that allowed me to step back in time and remember a moment in my childhood when my concept and understanding of homelessness was born. I for one never had preconceived ideas of homelessness as a child because I came from a poor family – so how dare I to judge another when my situation wasn’t a bed of roses. The story goes:
There was this lady that often sat at the corner of our road. Nobody knew her name, but whenever she was present the general public would pretend she simply didn’t exist or flash her a look of disgust. Because not only was she unkempt, smelly and dirty, but also very large. Local children nicknamed her Mad Max because she would often shout at them (myself included). And whilst I referred to her as Mad Max, I didn’t shout the name towards her. What intrigued me about this lady was that she kept with her a medium sized black bag. I can’t remember what prompted me to speak to her and whether or not my older brother did so first, but it started with a ‘hello’ and a smile. What followed was the fact that she once had a decent job in the city and was married, but then it just all fell apart like a stack of dominoes through no particular fault of her own. I later asked what was in her bag, and she pulled out a sketch book with the most beautiful and detailed drawings I had ever seen. Her hobby was drawing. I remember feeling an array of emotions; confusion, anger, sympathy, empathy, etc. I had in my pocket £1 pound sterling, and went into the shop to buy her drink. She said ‘thank you’. I had to leave to return home, but I thought to myself it would be great to speak to her again. Unfortunately, I never did see that lady again, and I never did ask her what her name was.
Rethink Homelessness an initiative of the Central Florida Regional Commission on Homelessness, recently asked a few homeless people to write down a fact about themselves that other people wouldn’t know just by walking past them. Their answers may surprise you (as this video (cardboard stories) shows – click on below image to view video on YouTube).