across the room a few tables over was that look. i know that look. it comes right after that feeling. it can pop up at any time or any place. it can be while you're alone or with other people. it can be while you're walking or eating or just sitting quietly. that look and that feeling is what happens when you remember and start to think. you're homeless...and all that comes with it.
after you've been homeless for abit, you accept it. the popular saying, one that i dislike, is...it is what it is. in any case, you accept it and begin to deal with it. you slip into somewhat of a pattern of normalcy and routine and begin the daily grind of surviving and acquiring what you need to survive. you begin the process of coping. along with that you do the things that you feel you need to do to come out of your homeless situation. you develop patterns and do some things repeatedly on a daily basis. you make one or two friends and alot of acquaintances. you meet new people and you cope....and survive. but every now and then that look takes you over. with that look comes that feeling.....it's a combination of sadness and frustration, coupled with something close to despair. you look at yourself from a perspective that you've never looked before. you remember who you used to be. you remember what you used to be. you remember old friends...you think about family. you think about alot of things. you remember most of it's gone. along with the material things that were lost you lost very personal things. you see yourself in the current situation and it can almost overwhelm you. at best it hurts. at worst it paralyzes and drives you into a deeper state of frustration.
when you're walking down the street and you know you are about to pass a homeless person, take a good look at his or her face when you walk by. you can see it sometimes. it's there...in their eyes and on their faces. it's there in the way they walk or move. it's there.....take a look. i've had it. i've felt it. it's not pleasant.
that look and that feeling is why it's important that the homeless know someone notices. it's important to know that they haven't been completely disenfranchised or forgotten. it's important to know, even in the smallest of ways that someone cares and is aware of them and the situation they're in. it's important for the homeless to have hope. the missions and different outreach workers and social organizations do give that hope. but it's also important for the homeless to know that individuals notice and care and are aware of what they're struggling with. hope is very inexpensive and it's easy to give. sometimes all it takes is a good morning and a smile and a ...how are you this morning.
being homeless isn't easy. it's a very difficult struggle both physically and mentally. it's particularly a hard struggle emotionally and psychologically. anything you can or are willing to do, no matter how small, can make a difference....even if only for a moment or for that day. it can pull that person out of that look and that feeling and help them thru the day.
do what you can. they already have that look. don't give them one.
see you around town