Childhood for homeless people is an ugly thing that usually was full of lots of abuse whether it be mental, physical, verbal or sexual. Learning to let go of childhood and move on into the world of an adult is almost as hard as being homeless itself.
My childhood was filled with abuse of every kind, whether it came from my mother hits and screams or my next door neighbors unwanted sexual advances. When a person is raised this way they grow up with lots of hate and anger and that hate and anger override any other emotion. I was a very angry person, I didn’t really realize how angry I was. I suffer from PTSD and I have moments when I flashback to something that happened twenty years ago, it’s hard to move forward when you are still stuck in the past.
About 6 months ago I finally decided to stop being so angry and just let life comes as it comes. I see myself now as living in the forgiveness state of my life, this is hard because I want to forgive but I don’t want to be a victim anymore either. Once again I, and others, walk a very fine line when we make the choice to live our lives in the forgiveness state rather than being victims forever. But what does it mean to forgive? I’m sorry are words that are often mouthed by others but really have no meaning. When someone says I’m sorry does it mean that that behavior will never be shown again? If the behavior does come up, do we just let it go because we love the person and have decided to put up with the behavior? Do we get rid of the person and never see them again and if we do what quantifies that? In the forgiveness state, I ask myself all these questions and sometimes I come up with reasonable answers and sometimes I don’t.
In the case of my mother, I can only say that I love her very much and she has tried to change her behaviors for the better. In my case, trying is all she can do and I see that and I reward that. Does that mean that her behaviors never become negative, no of course not. I realize that my mother is a separate unit from me and that she has her own story that comes from abuse and negativity as well. Which leads me to my other conclusion, we are all just repeating a pattern of behavior that we learned from someone else. What is childhood, a place where we learn our behaviors based on things that people show us. If we are seeing things that are violent and out of control we learn that that behavior is normal. Once we learn that abnormal behavior is normal, we repeat it until we’re told differently or we have an experience that shows us that what we learned was not only not normal, it was harmful to us. It has taken me over 40 years to learn that my childhood was harmful, that is the realization. Once the realization is made, you can go about fixing the problem, but you have to be aware that a problem exists in the first place. That is a huge problem in the homeless community, there is not a lot of self awareness. A lot of people in the homeless community simply think that if they are surviving they are doing ok, they don’t understand that there is more to life than survival, I know I didn’t at one time. The realization is a powerful thing, it’s almost spiritual. I am not a religious person but I believe that there is a soul among all of us and that soul can be broken. When the soul is broken, especially during childhood, it’s an enormous thing to fix, but we have to know that our soul and spirit are broken in the first place in order to truly recover from our childhoods.