Thoughts & Reflections
I’ve already smashed my old perception and understanding of homelessness through this experience. Do you require your own experience to know what it’s like? The media either has a biased spin on this entire issue or they have not met any of these people before. That’s because none of these stories have been broadcast on TV. Had they covered these stories with us in the past, then there wouldn’t be any surprising experiences left for me. The homeless or impoverished population makes up a broad group of people that should never be generalized into a category.
Homeless stereotypes come in all shapes and forms. I am going to address the issue of the “dishonest panhandlers.” If I told the public that I needed money for food, but used that money to buy crack, heroin or cocaine instead, then I am essentially lying and hurting myself. My punishment: Damage to my body and negative energy in my life. For example, a bad trip could lead to arguments and repercussions in the future. Some of the homeless get kicked in the head while sleeping out on the streets. Either someone is trying to get even for something done in the past or it is merely an act of hatred against the homeless.
Now, should we as citizens not give them any money? Let me go further and ask, “When has money been the solution to your problems?” Sure, if you have a financial problem then money can fix it. But how are non-financial problems solved? Addictions are not financial problems. It is not because of the lack of money that some choose to lead a life of drugs; but rather circumstances which many had no control over. This then drew some into a life of escaping reality.
Unhappiness or anger cannot be cured with money either. Unhappiness requires happiness as its cure and hate requires love as its cure. The people who delude themselves into believing that money makes them happy or that “money can buy love,” are clearly on a road leading to nowhere. If you believe that money is the solution to all the problems, then the richest men and women in this world should be the happiest, most loved and complete. Nothing can be further from the truth. The rich can also be addicted to drugs, commit suicide and be depressed all at the same time.
Some homeless take drugs to fill their psychological void and escape reality. Psychological voids can be caused by sexual harassment, being neglected as a child, heartbreak, not being loved, societal pressures which bully different thinking or different looking people, our bleak history when it comes to the Native culture, mental illnesses, failures, post-traumatic stress and so on. I am sure there are other reasons why some people get thrown into such a lifestyle.
Many of us have been lucky enough to have experienced peaceful, loving childhood experiences which did not require the withdrawal from society. It is easy to judge someone’s life without knowing their entire story. I think John the Firefighter and other stories thus far were prime examples of that. Naturally, our perception is very different than what many of the Downtown Eastside has been through. Therefore, we can never truly understand what it feels like to be sexually assaulted by a relative when we were children, unless if we’ve experienced it ourselves. There is no way of knowing how we would react given the same circumstances.
When it comes to an addicted individual, I would like to quote Einstein. He said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Even though drugs did not cure their problems in the past, these unfortunate people repeatedly attempt the same solution. Make no mistake, many non-drug addicts in our society go through the same pattern as well. We continually try forcing the same solution, even though we know it hasn’t been effective. Getting high and avoiding reality may be a temporary cure, since it forces the mind off whatever one’s psychological void is, but again, that is not a solution.
Money does not provide immunity to these psychological voids either. A rich person can have all of the same problems a poor man has. Being born into a wealthy family, while dealing with a drug addiction, does not necessarily translate into homelessness. The rich man is protected by his assets which prevent him from being tossed onto the streets.
I just fell asleep at Blenz for a bit. The cashier woke me up saying that I am not allowed to sleep here. It was cold last night, so I wasn’t able to get proper rest; this day may be longer than usual. All businesses are open, so it is harder to find a place to sleep in an alley. The backdoor in alleys can open without a moment’s notice. That would be a rude awakening.
So I decided to head to the Granville Strip for a nap. I’m going to be using my shopping cart to get there. My shopping cart is parked outside of Blenz right now. It is time to provide a bit of contrast to the people who “have to” buy themselves a new toy on boxing day. Not everybody is as privileged as they are. I think it’s about 7:30 AM.