The Hardness of Homelessness

This was written by me while I was homeless in Seattle sometime in 2015. At the time of writing, I was staying in the hospital, all hopped up on drugs because I was detoxing from alcohol and going through withdrawals. There are many errors within, yet the message remains the same. It will forever be etched in my memory and provided a solid foundation which sparked my newfound love of writing.


The Hardness of Homelessness

Some of you live in big cities, some of you don’t. But some of the cruelty and pure ignorance of the people that I see bites me to the bones. It can be simple kicking of a pigeon (who are quite annoying, I know) just trying to do their thing, to passing someone who is just crashed out in the middle of the sidewalk, not stopping to see if they’re ok.  Now I know in downtown King County alone we have 10,007 homeless on the streets.  I am part of that number.  Yes, some nights I sleep in parks or under overpasses, getting my stuff stolen and beaten up for the little that I have.  Getting wet under those damn wool blankets that are made of who knows what.  You’ve all seen them.  Putting cardboard down just so my ass isn’t bruised in the morning.  ‘Why not go to a shelter,’ you say?  They are full.  There’s not enough. And the ones I do try to get into cost about 5$ a day because they are mostly for people in some sort of program.  ‘Get into a program’, you say.  Waitlists are shitlists.  Some do what they can, going to WorkSource or selling papers on the corners, but even then people just look at them like pieces of spent meat. 

I’ve lived in downtown Seattle long enough to tell who really deserves a dollar and who is just going to go straight to use that same dollar for crack, but it’s still a hard thing to see because I live that life.  I’ve been one to hold my hand out and to be constantly rejected and sneered at. I get what I can, when I can, doing odd jobs here and there and some general labor.  Even returning stolen goods for gift cards for people, only to turn them in at a pawn shop for cash, but the constant search for a dollar just to eat or sleep somewhere is a struggle I never saw myself growing up to face.  

Job applications are another thing.  3 time felon, 4 misdemeanors, no phone, no address, only one good reference from FareStart.  I got skills, but I know I go to the bottom of the application stack.  It’s a hole that I’ve never been so deep in, but I have faith in God that He will reach his hand in and let me out and give me another chance.  Seattle is a huge city of chance, and I know that I’ll eventually have many, I just gotta do the work to find them.

As for the homelessness, yeah it’s an epidemic, and it’ll only get worse.  Fuck the walking dead (which is all we seem to be), soon you’ll just hear clanging cans and hands reaching out for you wherever you go.  All that moaning and shuffling feet from people who eventually just lean over and nod out.  Who knows what to do… I know I’m gonna do my part though.   Look to God, do the work, and persevere.

Sorry for any spelling and grammatical errors.  I’m in the hospital. I had nowhere to go and it’s cold outside. It’s the only option these days.

Author: Ryan S.

Born and raised in Elk Grove, CA, I've battled with various addictions throughout my entire life. I've discovered that through writing about my experiences and struggles, along with the other various forms of writing that I do, it gives my addictions, traumas, and worries of the future a little less power within my thoughts. This, to me, is therapy, and a route toward recovery through a little hindsight, which brings me to a happy medium with my struggle within my discovery of self.

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