The Homeless Chronicles Pt. 15: An Update and a Thank You!

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I haven’t written any new entries lately because I have been working hard to change my situation. I didn’t realize that it’s been 18 days since my last blog, so I will give an update to the people who’ve been following my adventure. I would like to start by thanking all of the readers who have provided their kind words and feedback to this blog. You may not believe it but those words of encouragement, as well as sharing your own stories, have given me a spiritual lift. I have felt very alone since this whole thing began, and it’s nice to know that other people can relate to my thinking process. Several of you have donated actual money, which has allowed me to eat healthy food instead of Cup ‘O Noodles, and sleep in a warm bed instead of a freezing-cold back seat. I thank you all from the  bottom of my tired heart, and I appreciate EVERY penny. Thank you thank you thank you.

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GETTING UN-STUCK:

While 99% of the feedback I get from readers (I post this blog a lot of other places, BTW) is supportive and encouraging, I do get some mean ones. The ones that say “throw all homeless people into the sea” and shit like that, I just delete. But sometimes I get pretty judgmental ones too, that go into more detail about the standard perception about how “we all create our own destines,” etc., to which I agree (mostly). I believe this because I overcame poverty and abuse as a child, as well as a long drug-addiction (18 years clean, TYVM), and many many other factors that could’ve easily made me a casualty long ago, but I digress. The quickest way I can explain this “mystery” to those folks, without outlining my entire fucking history, is this: I see myself as a reasonably intelligent horse who has won many races, and lost many races. I just happened to have stepped into a large pit of quicksand, probably while gloating over the last race I won, and found that I could not get out. My argument is that even the smartest horse can fall into a trap from which he (or she) cannot escape without the aide of someone else, because he has worn himself out by struggling in panic. It’s a nice metaphor, but it raises the question: if you saw your friend or child (or a stranger) sinking in a pit of quicksand, seconds away from going under and drowning, would you stand just out of reach and wave a scolding finger and deliver a lecture about being dumb enough to fall into the quicksand? Or would you offer your hand and lecture him later? You’d save them, of course. You’d have to be a monster not to. Just remember: a drowning horse doesn’t need a lecture. He needs a fucking ROPE. Help, not shame.

OUT OF THE CAR AND INTO A BED:

There is one person who I really want to talk about today, and his name is Chicago Bob. He read my blog on Reddit of all places, because someone reposted one of my entries in a Sub-Reddit called “Today I Learned.” He happened across my blog about “Car-Dweller Culture” and quickly responded with a similar story about when he too lived in a car, and how he dug his way out of that proverbial hole. He sent a cash donation to my Paypal account, which I used immediately for a motel room and a roasted chicken & veggies, haha! HEAVEN!! When I reached out to thank him, we exchanged info and had a lovely conversation on the phone.

When my two nights of motel-bliss came to an end, he sent a bigger donation and I paid for three more nights in the same room. Those three nights allowed me the luxury of getting some meaningful rest; physically and mentally. We had more conversations, and struck up an actual friendship. He has donated money several times now, and even bought me a new laptop. He was the first person who has taken real strides to help me, a total stranger, to dig my way out of this horrific situation. He’s teaching me how to write corporate resumes so I can earn a living anywhere. His support and friendship has given me the desperately-needed encouragement to take some forward steps out of the rabbit-hole. It’s a small gesture to him, but a massive gesture to me.

BABY STEPS:

Because of Bob’s encouragement and help, I have come out of the darkness enough to make some actual progress, and I am working tirelessly (on my new computer) to get my business back and become a productive human again. Although I am still homeless, I am privileged enough to be able to stay in motels more often than the car; catch a breath and think logically, clean myself up, and get more bookings as a makeup artist and photographer. I can use the income from one photo shoot to pay for four nights in a room, and for me that is a very big deal. Bob’s donations are buying me a place to do makeup clients, which in turn pays for more nights in the room, and so on. I spend most of my time looking for a live-in job, and I couldn’t do that very productively before (you can’t show up to a job interview looking like you live in a car). Having a roof over my head has also given me new energy to consider legitimate ways to help other homeless people, and boy have I come up with a doozy! I cannot WAIT to start that process!

PASADENA OR BUST!

I got a room in Pasadena the other day because it was near a makeup client that booked me. I was shocked to find such a cheap room (the cheapest yet!) in a good neighborhood. When I saw the price I assumed it would be another ghetto, because that’s just the formula. But it’s a great neighborhood, and I had something of an awakening when I arrived. Pasadena has a long strip of cheap motels along Colorado Blvd., and it makes sense that they’re so cheap. The competition of a hundred other motels drives their prices down, even though they are pretty decent quality. I sure wish I would’ve known about this motel goldmine many months ago when I first started my journey. I would probably not be homeless now had I known about it. I wish I could find a cheap warehouse and reopen my business here. Any sympathetic property owners out there? 

TO LONG BEACH OR NOT TO LONG BEACH?

I’ve been offered a cheap warehouse in a bad area of Long Beach for $1,500 a month. The owner doesn’t care about my bad credit, or the fact that I will be photographing transgender people on the property. However, I am unsure if my clients would be willing or able to make that drive (or if there will be clients already in the area) to support the business. It’s VERY risky and I do NOT want to live in Long Beach, but beggars can’t be choosers (literally, haha!). I hope and pray that something else comes along before I am forced to commit to a place that I know would hurt my business. Although it might be irrelevant anyway, because I don’t have the money for the place, so I have started a crowd-funding campaign that could make that possible (I’ve provided a link below, in case you’re feeling charitable today) 😉

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A PART OF A REAL “RAGS-TO-RICHES” STORY?

I’ve never revealed my identity in any of my blogs, because I thought it would come back to haunt me someday. Or worse, it would somehow damage my business when and if I ever managed to get it back. But now that I have officially launched a crowd-funding campaign, it’s gonna be pretty damn tough to hide. Someday when I am being interviewed in some magazine or on some TV show (we all have fantasies, right?), I will be open about my experiences with being homeless, and my clients and fans will cheer me on as I accept my “Worst Year Ever” award.

THERE ARE FOUR WAYS TO HELP ME RIGHT NOW: JUST PICK ONE!

Donate to my fundraiser: this will allow me to rent a small warehouse to reopen my business, of which I still have anxious clients just waiting for my return:  https://igg.me/at/cXbEIwNoB9o/x/15916674 IF YOU CAN’T DONATE, THEN PLEASE SHARE THE LINK. Please please please with sugar on top 🙂

Media Attention/Press Coverage: Do you know a journalist or editor who is interested in human interest stories? “Transgender Advocate Survives Homelessness and Emerges to Help the Homeless.” It’ll make a great story and catch the attention of someone who could help.

I need a building, any kind of building: Do you know someone who owns a warehouse that would overlook bad credit? Do you know someone who owns an apartment complex or office complex that would overlook bad credit? If it’s big enough for a small photo-studio set-up and a sleeping bag, I’ll take it.

Benefactor/Angel/General Helper-Bee: Do you know someone who enjoys helping deserving people rebuild their lives? Someone who would serve as a mentor or guide for a business venture? I’ve been researching organizations for women in business, entrepreneurs, etc., but haven’t had the means or time to really pursue it. Yet. In the meantime, I dream of that smiling angel that floats down to pull me from the quicksand with that proverbial rope. It’s a nice little dream.

IN CONCLUSION:

I will continue this blog as I progress from “homeless” to “back-in-business,” and I hope you’ll continue to comment and share your stories. I do enjoy reading your stories, and I apologize for not returning every message. It’s something I plan on doing when I can finally exhale and begin rebuilding my life. I appreciate very much all of you who have donated. You have no idea how much it helps me, and my gratitude is immeasurable.

A VERY SPECIAL HEART-FELT THANK YOU TO CHICAGO BOB, WHO HAS HELPED ME MORE THAN HE COULD POSSIBLY KNOW. I’m proud to call you a friend.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. bob crane says:

    Chicago Bob here with a message to all the other readers who follow this story.

    As mentioned in this post, I too was homeless in LA and wound up living in my car while I scrambled to figure out a way to rejoin the ‘normal’ world. Every day my money dwindled, my appearance got more shabby, and my self respect and confidence slipped a little more. In the end I caught a lucky break, got a job (spent the first week sleeping in the employee parking lot, terrified that someone would catch me) and was able to transition to a cheap motel and ultimately an apartment.

    Until you have been it a car dwelling situation you don’t realize that short of heading off into the woods (where you need a permit, equipment and a way to get there), there is virtually nowhere in a modern American city where you can just park and snooze without exposing yourself to predation. Pretty soon, you are exhausted (no real sleep, only cat naps during the day and especially at night), smelly and uncomfortable (turns out gas station bathrooms are not equipped with shower facilities, and even if they were, you would have to pay), and paranoid from constantly being on the look out for police, not because you have done anything wrong but because you know they can make your life miserable or send you to jail overnight just to fuck with you (and of course if you spend the night in jail, your car will be impounded and your world crashes and burns). Add to all this that while you are homeless, making enough money to ameliorate your situation becomes a herculean task that becomes more difficult every day, literally. Pretty soon your entire world focus is if you are going to be hassled by the police, dimed out by a ‘normal’ home or business owner (back to police), become the victim of a crime (more police) or suffer a catastrophic calamity (car breaks down and you loose your ‘home’).

    For those of you who have never been in so desperate a situation, I can assure you it does not build character, it only grinds you down until you can only focus on surviving the next hour.

    As mentioned in this post, I first read her story on Reddit, followed the link to this blog and followed the story from the first post to the most recent. Reading her story brought back long forgotten memories, none happy, funny or cute and I found that I had to do SOMETHING, so when I found a PayPal link I sent a modest contribution to at least buy a tank of gas, a burger and a bag of cat food. I am sorry to say that I am not in a position to make a really meaningful contribution that will allow her to make the big jump back to where you and I are as we read this, a normal dwelling.

    If this blog, story or on-going drama has touched you at all…….just this once send your ‘philanthropy’ dollars to a real person, not an organization, and make an immediate impact on an actual person and a cat. Your other charities or good causes will still be there tomorrow, but they will not be sleeping in a car tonight.

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