Today I stumbled upon a 365 Day blogging challenge and have decided to undertake it.
This, is day one…
Hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days (with a picture of yourself)
Okay, I refuse to post a photograph of myself for the following reasons:
- When I was writing this blog five years ago I posted my image everywhere, and in the process destroyed any chance of employment, education and the life I wanted. I’ve always been one to learn from my mistakes and thus do not wish to do it again. After all, I’m homeless, mentally ill and unfortunately do not meet the ‘acceptable beauty criteria’ that Australia has imposed on people.
- Whether it’s true or not the abuse I suffered five years ago has made me believe I am the ugliest human being that has ever existed, thus, no-one should have my image inflicted upon them.
- I don’t have a camera and thus have no means to do this. So here’s Vincent Van Gogh instead, we are a little alike after all.
Does this mean I’ve failed the challenge before it’s even begun?
No. It doesn’t.
So much emphasis is made on physical appearance that it often becomes all people are judged on. Do I go to the gym? Yes, when my anxiety and depression allow. Do I eat healthily? Yes, within the limitations that the Australian government and its citizens have imposed. Do I need to prove this to others? No.
The most important thing in life is how we feel inside. So my plan is to spend the next 365 days of this blogging challenge rebuilding my mental and emotional sides. My external appearance is therefore, redundant, for I’m improving that in my own time anyway.
With that out-of-the-way, let us move on to the good stuff; dreams.
During my first major depressive episode whilst homeless (October/November 2009) I realized one thing: a homeless person is not allowed to dream. That’s not to say we don’t. I just realized that the wider population (i.e. the non-homeless) does not like the fact that we do. It humanizes us; thus making it harder for them to treat us like the sub-human animals they’d like us to be.
Since that realization I stopped myself dreaming. It was the only thing I could do to survive homelessness. Whenever I did allow myself to dream of a better life the fecal matter hit the cooling device and all hell broke loose in my mind. Even now it’s hard for me to believe my life will be any more than this isolated ‘thing’ it has become. But given that (a) it will keep my counselor happy and (b) I do still yearn to be who I once was, I have compiled a list of the things I’d like to achieve.
Whilst compiling this list I did try to keep the highly unlikely from making an appearance (i.e. go on a date with Karen Gillan, dance a tango with Vanessa Hudgens, be cast as the twelfth Doctor, be liked by a human being again) as I am honestly going to do all I can to cross each of them from the list.
Basically, the big stuff for me is to heal/stabilise the psychological and emotional damage the last five years have inflicted on me.
Being homeless is not the adventure some people think it is. It’s a grueling, painful, agonizing experience that annihilates you mentally, physically and emotionally.
I’ve been off medication for years.
I’ve had little to no support.
I’ve dealt with everything alone.
This takes its toll. If you don’t believe me, try to imagine how you would feel if you’d just spent four and half of the last five years on your own. No friends, no conversation, no human interaction; nothing but abuse, insult and having your self-worth and confidence chiseled to dust through years of begging for food, help and assistance.
If I don’t focus on the damage homelessness has done, I may as well give up now.
As for the rest:
- In regards to my sister, I will speak of her in more detail soon, but basically she is now homeless again as a result of being unable to accept assistance for her mental health problems. This frustrates me no end.
- I have been stunned over the last few years just how little the homeless crisis is discussed by the mainstream media, society and government. Sure, they set the target to halve homelessness by 2020, but given all I’ve seen is an increase what exactly are they doing to meet this goal?
- The Ballad of the One Who Got Away (working title) is an installment of the Chronicles. I’ve been formulating the plot since 2007 and have been writing it on/off since completing The Ghosts That Haunt Me that year. If I can get myself writing again, I stand a good chance of completing this.
- I read blogs, websites, and forums all the time. And yet, no matter how passionate I am about the topic I’m reading I will never leave a comment. I will think about leaving a comment. I will compose beautifully written arguments in my head over several hours and then bottle out of posting them as the panic rises. Who has a panic attack over posting a comment? Alas, not the people who read The Punch. Those, and others, would have a field day if a homeless, mentally ill, socially ostracized, Newstart recipient began voicing his opinions to the world.
- There’s no chance I’m telling you what item #1 on the bucket list is until I’ve done it. Let’s just say I cannot believe it hasn’t happened yet given how simple it is, I growl at several people from my past for not helping me achieve this, and I’m determined (as always) to knock it from the list so I can focus on other things.
- I haven’t had a haircut for nearly two years (I lack the funds to do this, cheers Julia)
- I spoke of the hugs in my diary and the movies here.
- I would love to be able to look forward to Doctor Who again. I haven’t enjoyed the trepidation I’ve felt before each episode over the last two series. Will it be a Doctor’s Wife or a Beast Below?
- As for my AFL team, I started supporting one a couple of years ago as a way to try to connect with society and Australia in general. To live in Victoria, you have to love the AFL, so I taught myself how.
Basically, now I am housed again, I want to spend the next 365 days rebuilding my life. I miss who I was in January/February 2007. I miss waking up happy and excited for the day ahead. I miss that sensation of loving myself and who I was. I miss being with friends. I miss how it felt not to be consumed with voices, anxiety and depression. I miss being ecstatic with my life and of just plain being alive.
I’ve spent the better part of the last half a decade trying to stop the pain I feel 24/7. I’ve worked hard, I’ve sacrificed lots, I’ve made mistakes and I’ve paid for them.
Now all I want is to be me again.
A selection of articles you may enjoy…
- My last post… Hope, the greatest weapon of all
- My last journal entry… I blame Forty Shades of Grey
- When Homeless People Die (thehomelessguy.blogspot.com)
- Police beat up a mentally-ill homeless man to death (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- 80% of Australian Homeless Families Denied Shelter (homelessness.change.org)
- My name is homeless (flexiblebalance.wordpress.com)
- Why are the majority of homeless mentally ill? (homeless1wa.wordpress.com)
- Homeless Youths See Dreams on a Broadway Stage (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com)
- ‘Homeless Hotspots’ campaign sparks online outrage (ctv.ca)