I’ve been wondering how many people are out there with a situation similar to mine. What do people do when their options run out? I mean we are not all blessed with families that stand behind us 100% and help us when we are down. If that were the case, the homeless population in Hawaii would be non-existent as opposed to the serious issue that it actually is.
According to Hope Services Hawaii there are 12-15,000 people that are homeless at some point of the year. And at least 6,300 of those people are homeless at any given day. Of those 6,300 homeless people, outreach services in the state of Hawaii were only able to help 1,770 individuals in 2014. 48% of those 6,300 are single individuals, and the rest are families with children.
To be honest, for a long time homeless people really bothered me. I was disgusted by the unwashed men and women that littered the streets of Waikiki, begging for money and food. The homeless communities on the North Shore and Kapiolani Park, or even the groups that line the sidewalks in Kaka’ako and Aala Park, setting up their “homes” made of tents, overturned shopping carts with tarps attached, and fences made from cardboard furniture boxes.
I didn’t mind giving food or water to those who stood at intersections with a sign pleading for help, food, and or places to stay. People who don’t want to be in the situation they are in, and will do anything to get out of it. In fact when I was still employed I would buy a sandwich once a week for a man that frequented the parking lot of the 7-11 down the street from my office. He was always very grateful, polite, and thankful. But I didn’t have sympathy for the people begging for money from tourists, expecting something for nothing, especially if it looked like they were high. A year ago a kind friend of mine went into a store and bought a sandwich for a homeless man she saw sitting outside. When she gave it to him he didn’t say thank you, and verbally insulted her for not buying him a drink, or giving him some spending money. I won’t feel pity or sorrow for people like that.
Facts about homeless people were never very interesting to me. I loosely followed the news stories on what was being done about the growing epidemic. Scoffed at the bills they attempted to pass about making sleeping on sidewalls illegal. But these days, I can’t help but wonder if that’s going to be me soon? Am I going to be living out of a box because of the “inconvenience” of my illness for others?
For the first year I was out of work, I stayed with two sets of friends who luckily enough had extra rooms in their house to spare. I was so grateful to be able to have that nice warm roof over my head, hot showers in my own bathrooms, and a private place for my two cats and I to call home. Both sides of my family knew of my growing illness and were happy to know I’d found accommodations. But as the years end loomed closer I knew my time was running out.
I’ve always been very independent. It’s why I worked out my housing issue on my own for as long as I could. I hate asking for money, and I don’t like the feeling of owing something. Debt, in any form, makes me very uncomfortable. But when I had literally exhausted all housing options on my end, I knew I needed to ask. As stated before, my mom has been my sole caretaker throughout the majority of my illness. Sole caretaker meaning she attended EVERY doctors appointment, sat with me through all medical treatments (including several rounds of chemotherapy), helped pick up my prescriptions, came to the emergency room visits, let me stay in her house when I was recooperating from hospital visits, helped me organise my medical records, documents, and bills, and most importantly stayed by my side through my spinning wheel of moods. Having already done all of these things for me, it was very hard to ask for more help.
This is where we ran into a bit of a problem. My mom is one of the most caring, genuine, and loving women you will ever meet. She will go above and beyond the call of duty to help people, including strangers. And had she been living alone, wouldn’t hesitate for a second before telling me to move in with her. She would take care of me forever if she could, I know. However, being the beautiful and loving woman she is, of course has a partner to share her life with, and when you share a life you make sacrifices and compromises. And in those shared choices, there is no room for me.
So, swallowing my pride and stubbornness, I approached the other half of my family and asked for help. What happened as a result of that is not something I’m able or willing to talk about just yet. Another day, another story. But a clear NO all the same.
Which brings me back to my solid fear of homelessness. Because of my worry I decided to start a fundraiser in my name as another attempt to keep me off the streets and safe and dry. I hope and pray that I continue to receive more donations that can help me get to my goal. In the meantime, I wonder. I worry. I sit and I cry. How can a string of horrible events keep happening to good people. Was I Genghis Khan in my former life? Hitler? Mussolini? What did I do to deserve this?
I look back at my life and I don’t understand how this happened? I left home at 18 and have been independent and fruitful ever since. I’ve gone to schools, worked many jobs, paid my own rent and bills, travelled all over the world on my OWN dime.
And yet here I am at 33… I have a chronic debilitating disease with no cure. I have cancer. I have no money. No home. And my greatest joy in my life is my two cats who don’t care about any of this shit. They love me, they sleep on me, and they remind me that I’m still alive. They’re entire life is seeing me every day and making sure I feel loved, and that of course they get the necessary amount of pets.
But I can’t help but wonder.. how many others are out there that feel like this? And what the hell are we supposed to do? Just keep swimming?
Sure, I’ll swim. But gosh do I hope when I get out of the water there’s a towel waiting for me, and a hot shower, and a place to rest my bones.
My fundraising website: