Memo: Don’t Compare Homeless People To Stray Cats, You Will Make Brittany Shriek Like A Tree Monkey

treemonkey

“Homeless people are not animals! Also, feed the damned animals, what is wrong with you?!”

I’ve decided not to write about my epic saga of homelessness or related adventures anymore, or at least not for a little while. While my finances are still terribly precarious, and my PTSD is still quite T, I am a much happier and healthier person than I was when I started this blog a year ago.

It’s easy to get stuck in past traumas. Hyper-vigilant people don’t necessarily stop hyper-vigilating just because they’ve reached safe harbor. Sometimes you have to locate your own off-switch and firmly instruct your brain that it’s time to think about other stuff now.

This is me, doing that. Or fixin’ to do it, as they say in Raleigh.

Before I leave the topic behind entirely, there are a handful of sentiments about homelessness that I need to get off my chest. These are things that I learned while I was homeless, the stuff that surprised me or took me off guard. Stuff that I wished folks understood about people like me, and stuff I wish my friends understood about the homeless people I encounter now.

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Knowing Better

My most embarrassing memory of college is of something that didn’t embarrass me at all while it was happening. Which is the worst kind of embarrassing memory, in my opinion. When you feel some degree of shame or self-consciousness while the thing is happening, you’re probably exercising at least little self-control. It’s much, much worse when you’re completely confident that you’re right, because then there’s no check whatsoever on your obnoxious behavior.

Neither of my parents went to college. Neither did any of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, or older cousins. My going to college occasioned both pride and suspicion among the adults in my family. While my friends’ parents were giving advice (or making demands) concerning what they should major in and what classes they should take, the only piece of advice my family gave me was to be on my guard against those well known liberal predators harbored by every institution of higher learning, whose goal in life is to brainwash well brought up students from conservative homes into turning their backs on everything that is right and decent. “Don’t let anyone change your thinking” was what my family told me, unaware that when it came to things like abortion, homosexuality, and the unquestioned wisdom of the Republican agenda, I had changed my own mind already.

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