I'm not sure if after recently talking about the 'darker side' of this sentiment, watching the movie "The Soloist" was simply topical or purely coincidental. But it struck a dark chord (pardon the pun). Why? Well, I heart true stories and because my biggest fear in life is being homeless.
Some might say that this is an irrational fear, but I beg to differ. I remember years ago my girlfriend Rita told me that one of her biggest fears was a tsunami. It was a fear that I felt was completely ridiculous and irrational, until the two of us spent Christmas together in Mexico and when we were getting ready to hit the beach we heard the news. CNN was our only English channel, and it made us aware of a tsumani that swelled in the Indian Ocean that morning - it would soon report that it was about to take the lives of 150,000 people. I looked at Reets thinking, well...not so irrational after all. So, after witnessing my first recession as an adult, I feel my fear is also completely rationale. Sure, I'm of sound mind and body but that doesn't mean we all can't fall upon incredible hardship. Perhaps it's because, as a middle-aged woman, the responsibility of having a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in and food to eat falls solely on me. This is not intended to be a pity party, it's simply where the fear is rooted.
I cannot tell you how many times over my life where I've had a heated discussion with individuals that believe you shouldn't give homeless people money. Sure, there are likely thousands on the streets that created their own self-demise, but there are so many that don't stand a chance from the moment in which they were born. And so many more suffer from an incredible mental illness that we cannot even begin to understand. So, my point for years has been why bother painting them all with the same brush? Imagine if you were the one in their position, I'm sure a smile or say hello goes so much further than any quarter or dime in your pocket. So I often extend the gesture of human empathy.
Where my home today is my safe haven, I can totally understand why four walls may seem like a prison for a lone individual suffering mentally. So given that they choose the streets as their unconfined home instead of an apartment or shelter - is that really a choice after all?
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