Have you? Have you ever felt the way others are perceiving you isn’t who you are at all? Walking into a room, you can sense the murmuring of judgment. It’s not a nice feeling. Now imagine feeling that every moment of each day, not just on occasion.
This week, my friend Tracey came in to do a presentation with our dancers about homelessness. The next couple of days I will relay that information to you…. because we’re more like them than we think.
It only takes one incident to change everything. One thing gone wrong can change the whole course of someone’s life for the better, but also for the worse.
Imagine for a minute, you’ve lost your spouse. For the first time in a long time, you are alone suddenly. You come home from the hospital to the home years of memories have been built in to find that they are no longer there. You stop eating, you stop going out. You miss a ton of work and eventually get fired for not being able to function when you do show up. You slack on paying your bills. Eventually, life catches up to your numb living and you find out you have nothing.
You have no friends because you’ve isolated yourself from the world. You have no where to go, no one to ask for help. What do you do? Where do you go? You’ve lost everything; your spouse, your home, your career…. gone.
You check yourself into a local shelter, numb from the pain of grief and to the nightmare you find yourself presently living. You lie awake all night, unable to sleep, trying to come to terms with your present reality.
People don’t get you, they scoff at you on the street and call you things like “hobo” and “bum”. All you can think is; “This is not who I am!” You’re falling down a black hole, unsure of who you are anymore. A part of you wants to fight for what could be, but the pain keeps you captive. You start to believe the labels. You’re sinking into a pit, unable to see the way out. Eventually, you start to accept your present as your fate.
This is the reality for some who find themselves homeless. I heard a story of one man, a successful C.E.O. of his company who lost his wife. He couldn’t bear to return to his home so he just started to wander the streets, never to return to his former life. Can you hear his soul crying out: “This is not who I am!!”
One tragedy in life can change one’s destiny. And if there’s no community of support around, it can turn to the worst quickly. Perhaps friendship is more powerful than we think? Maybe you have someone isolating themselves in your circle right now? Maybe it’s worth not giving up on them?
It’s time to make this personal and choose to see past the typical stereotype we see and see the person.
Doesn’t everyone deserve to be seen as who they truly are?