Friday, February 6, 2009

Fear

"Were you scared living on the streets?" Duh, well, yah. I wrote this a while ago after being asked a question about fear while street living:

You asked about fear. It's terrifying not having a home to go home to at night. That is why my first two weeks on the street I planned to stay up all night and sleep on the beach during the day. If we had more time I was going to take you to the place where I first laid down on a sidewalk and went to sleep. I looked at the address on the building: 555. That number used to come up in my life a lot and I thought, maybe that is what it was all about; that our lives are written, sort of God's pawns.

Yet I was not afraid of people. Dogs yes. Police and the government, definitely. The Belmont Shore rapist entered woman's homes. We live on a triple fault line. Wildfires. Drive by shootings. Is anyone really safe? In 2004 I was healthier than I am now. I was always ready to run.
A man woke me one night to give me food he picked up at a fast food joint, after the bar or club he was at closed. He specifically picked up the food to give to a homeless person, he said. How he found me in my hiding space is unknown, perhaps just roaming the places one might find a homeless sleeper. I wondered why he did not just leave the bad, rather than wake me. He kept talking and I finally packed up my blanket, cardboard, plastic bag and left. I do not think he would have tried to rape me, but I did not trust him. He was angry or not understanding why I was leaving, but I would not have been able to fall back to sleep.

Some one tried to rob me once while I slept. Perhaps the same kid who had robbed Gilbert a day or two earlier. Many homeless women get raped; I tired to find "safe places" to sleep. Thus the fear is not a gnawing fingernails type, but a constant underground anxiety; subconscious, causing a state of constant "fight or flight" adrenaline, perhaps.

Basically I did not care if someone killed me, even though thinking about it is hard to imagine. I feared getting beat up and being hospitalized; I feared going to jail. I feared losing my self control; flipping. I showed you my spot at the library. One night two men were there asking me to smoke crack with them. I declined and finally packed up my stuff and left. Another time a fight broke out. Again I left. After 11PM the police usually do not roust sleeping homeless to make them move. Fights like that could bring the police; I was told about the woman stabbed to death at Lincoln Park, not too many months prior to my street living.

When I was still homed I would not tell men where I lived, only give them my phone number. I dated now and then, but did not trust men. Homeless I went into strange men's apartments. That is what I meant about doing things I would never have considered homed. The Wandering Scribe (from England) wrote about the same thing. She stayed overnight in hospitals and would sneak a shower. I washed my hair in public sinks. I slept next to a toilet (beach restroom early morning nap).

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