19 September, 2005

Answer to Jen's comment

Well, I thought a big brother of homeless people was a good idea but I think you under estimate the value of a program like that. People want to be entertained and believe me they would be and I think a few arrests would be made after the show because I can't see any addict or alcoholic not saying something about their past. Some of it would be funny some would be so sad. But you are right when you say people tend to turn their backs on certain problems hoping that someone else will deal with it. I am sorry to hear you might be heading for a rough time but keep your chin up and do the best that you can and things will be ok. (I hope) As life gets tough I have found out to my cost. We get tough too. We can only learn as life deals us its cards. We will make mistakes, wrong boyfriends or girlfriends which takes us years to realise they are not the one. Doing something without thinking might be the wrong choice to make. Then again, maybe life isn't meant to be as smooth as we wish, maybe life is meant to be just that. Life!

7 comments:

womble said...

I think one thing I learned from my time at Crisis Open Christmas is that none of us are very far away from that first step to homelessness. A redundancy, a relationship split, it's so easy to end up.... on the streets or in a hostel or not quite-sure-next-week. I left my family for someone I loved at the time but it was odd that one unsettling thing was the fact that I had no call on the place I now lived in and called 'home' if my partner died. He didn't but it was worrying, to me, at the time.

Jen said...

Hey Jamie, thanks for responding to my comment!

I don't think I underestimate the value of a program like that, I think it would be an ace idea. But... I've been thinking lately about the psychology of the response of society's attitude towards poverty.

So.

A few weeks ago, I met with a friend. I said to him,

"This is really crap of me, but could you lend me a fiver til payday, I'm roughing it on baked beans on toast at the moment!"

and you know what? he laughed and gave me a tenner and said not to worry about it!

The next thing I did was to arrange to meet up with someone close to me. I told him I had lost my job due to discrimination (I have recovered from a mental illness, but I still get judged on that), no one else would hire me, and I was so broke I hadn't eaten for twelve days.

You know what he did? He looked really shellshocked. He said I should go to the citizens advice bureau, or call my parents, or sell some of my stuff. (I'd already sold all my cds and my books to pay the rent.) Then he went home.

These are two isolated incidents, fair enough. However, I have a theory. Say you have someone who is about to slip off the edge of a river bank. Someone will reach out and grap them. But someone already in deep water? People walk by. Eventually someone comes, but it takes forever.

I did call my parents. I called my mum, first. I asked her if she could send me a fiver, I was a bit strapped for cash and couldn't afford busfare to the job centre. She said, fine!
I called back and spoke to my father. I asked him for help. He told me to go to the citizens advice bureau.

It was exactly the same story. A little bit of poverty, that's okay, we're all strapped for cash, but if you're seriously broke, that's a scary thing, and nobody wants to know, you might drag them down with you.

A while ago I did some fund raising for charity. I had to stand on the street and approach people for donations. On the opposite corner, a man stood selling the Big Issue.

I spoke to 250 people in one morning.
I think he sold about three copies of the Big Issue.

People are scared. Politicians can't save the country. We need to start saving each other. Now.

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