a reply to: Silure
I was homeless for a few years in Nashville TN, and I had never gone through any of that before so I just simply didn't know how hard life was when
you have no support or a home to go to. I didn't even get govt assistance, not even food stamps. I was fighting all these legal battles and had jumped
from job to job, I had like a dozen jobs but couldn't keep one because of the circumstances. I had no place to shower and slept on concrete at a
church that turned a blind eye and let me get away with crashing on their property.
Anyways, the point is - people do stereotype and judge you for being super poor. Here's what I did to get around that.
I would wear a business suit with a blazer, the churches gave away nice cloths so I chose these suits and nice Italian leather shoes because none of
the homeless people ever took them. It was easy to find my sizes.
Well, get this, I could sit all day long working on my court documents and doing research at cafes like Panera or Starbucks or etc, and no one ever
bothered me because I was wearing a suit. I wouldn't even buy anything and they'd offer me free stuff often.
I'd see a homeless guy wander in, looking dirty, carrying all these shopping bags with his junk in them - and he'd try to buy some coffee or something
- and they'd kick him out immediately!
So they'd let me hang out ALL day long without buying anything, yet they'd make the homeless guy leave though he wanted to buy something!
It was all cuz of how I dressed and presented myself. The way I talk to people. I always acted like I knew what I was doing and "belonged there". They
judged me purely on appearance and let me get away with it.
I'd never bother anyone or ask for any handouts, which also helps a lot. Bothering customers is an automatic 'get the hell outta here'. Surprisingly,
I was offered tons of handouts as a result. I got to know the workers at these places and they never found out I was homeless, I hid it from everyone
at my own detriment.
The reason I couldn't keep any jobs is because of my legal situation in combination with the fact I had no place to get cleaned up and I absolutely
refused to step foot in the shelter because they were going to make me forfeit my laptop and they wouldn't return it when I left either. It was a
really stupid rule that basically shut me out of getting their help.
I've gone days without food, lived on just a few dollars here and there. I did find a few churches that gave out free meals and used them to survive,
but since they only do certain days of the week or were way too far across town (and I could rarely afford bus passes) I would usually eat a meal only
once every 2 days or so.
I realize people will say "you should have done this or that" or "you could have got this or that from whoever" but I've been down that road plenty of
times and they just simply don't understand the battles I was fighting and don't understand the physical logistics of the situation I was in. I
couldn't have done that or gotten that, I tried and had to make the best decisions I could at the time. I did the best I could.
I learned to not care what other people think to an extent (as long as I can do what I need to do and be where I need to be) because they simply
didn't walk in my shoes or have a clue what I was up against. I also learned how shallow and superficial everyone is and wearing a business suit
tricked virtually all of them. I don't think anyone really figured it out, except the church people I got meals from who knew as it was obvious to
It's worth pointing this out in your thread I think. I lived it, I know what's up. Most people don't have a clue what it's like to go through hell and
their opinions/suggestions are completely detached from reality.