I told you in yesterdays #whatif prompt post a little of my experience of homelessness so this question is not a hypothetical one for me.
Let’s answer it first: I am not sure where I would sleep if it happened again. But when it happened about 8 years ago I first stayed with a friend. But as my ex-partner were not able to deal adequately with his problems I knew he would try to track me down and I did not want to bring my friend into trouble. I also did not want to be a burden to her and her husband.
As it was summer I decided I took the tent and lived on a campsite until I would find a place to live. I also felt the deep need to be close to nature and close to mother earth. And I needed to be alone. If I’d had the chance to go into a shelter I would have done so but as I have no children there was no chance whatsoever.
Living in a tent with all your belongings in it brings certain problems with it. I was lucky because I could keep my job so I could keep my car and lock everything important in the car because of course, a tent does not have a door to lock so everybody can get in and get stuff.
One day I came home from work and my ex-partner sat in my tent trying to get me back. Even though he was not violent at that time it was terrifying. I was so angry. I got him in the car and took him home which was about 30 miles away. I think he walked all night to get to me. Crazy what people do when they are desperately lonely and not able to find a solution for their pain.
There was another man living on the campsite. I think he was an ex-soldier and homeless too who started to get an interest in me. I spent a couple of nights listening to the outside to make sure he is not coming in. I don’t think he was a danger either. Again just lonely but I did not want him close. The one night he tried my now-husband was with me so he got the message and the next day he was gone.
If you live in a tent how do you keep your clothes tidy? You have not much space to hang anything up. You basically live out of a suitcase. Again I was lucky because I still had my job. So I was on a campsite and could use their facilities. Washing, ironing was possible and I got creative with hangers on the metal skeleton of the tent.
As I said yesterday I cannot fathom what it means for someone and especially a woman to live on the streets. The constant fear for your security does drive you crazy. I suspect I did not realise it so much then because living in that tent felt so much safer than living with my ex. But I really do not want to get back into that situation ever. In fact, I am now realising how fu….. scared I was then. It makes my whole body shake.
But taking a deep breath I realise that I am not in that place anymore. My husband and I have managed to create a safe place for both of us. He has his own experience of difficulties so our relationship is precious to us. We work on it daily. I am so lucky I met him.
Well, I leave the recount of my experience at this point. It is getting too difficult, to deal with my feelings. But again I ask you to not judge anyone whom you see rough sleeping. You know nothing of their story, their struggle and their pain.
This post answers to Karen’s #whatif prompt over at “What if we all cared?” and these are her suggestions to take part:
Feel free to respond in your favorite way whether it be a poem, short story, photo, video . . however you best relate to the prompt. Simply post your ideas, create a ping-back and use the hashtag #whatif.
Fellow Bloggers writing about Homelessness:
Anything is Possible: Good News Tuesday: Clean Energy, Rescue Team, and Employing Homeless Moms