One of the things I think that can do the most damage to ones self esteem in facing homelessness (or at least I'm comfortable speculating while I'm still new to this) is the absolute sense of truly being alone.
When living a normal self sufficient life, even the loneliest of people will feel isolated from their specific social and professional circles, but when the whole world around you chooses to pretend you're not there, this has to be devastating.
Now please don't misread me here, I have yet to feel the full force of this social "shadow", as I'm really not out there in the thick of it yet. However little things make this happen.
Last week I had a couple of days on the street before beginning the process because I had someplace to go first before I left myself at the mercy of the system. It's certainly not a tale of being swept under the social rug, however I remember that first day trying to feed myself with my EBT Food Stamps card, and having to go to several different stores where I might be able to grab something precooked, and being turned away. Even attempting to try different fast food restaurants, based on rumors I had heard of them accepting ebt, and the embarrassment of being turned away, and the looks from others, was even harder to take than the fact that I still didn't have anything to eat.
It seems as though people who would normally just ignore you, now went out of their way to show their distaste for you.
Then suddenly here you are finding a whole new set of people who DO take interest in you, and DO want to befriend you, and are sincerely interested in what you have to say. People that I'm perfectly comfortable admitting are just better people than I am, as I have also turned away from many in bad situations because I just didn't want to know. Ignorance is bliss, after all.
People who I would've in the past humorously classified as "do gooders", that are not just relentlessly and selflessly helping others less fortunate, but genuinely care about these people.
Not saying everyone should go to these lengths, but on some scale we could ALL learn a lesson from them as far as simply being a little more human.
It's not often, or ever for that matter, that I would speak to a stranger on the phone for 15 minutes, and feel I made a true friend... but damned if that didn't happen today.
I won't get long winded about the work that Shay and her husband Shane do, I'll let their work speak for itself!
So please visit http://www.project-5050.com/main/ and see the difference that people can make by true actions as apposed to words.
Not to use a cliche', but if the world had more like them, it truly would be a better place.
I'm just some long winded schmuck who's life has become unmanageable, so if you're reading this and thinking about hitting up my donation page today.... don't. I'd rather see it go to their donation page. These are the people making a real difference to countless people around the country.
I'm just one guy sharing an experience, they're out there changing peoples lives every day!