Posts Tagged ‘homeless’

Get Yourself Some Perspective

March 8, 2013

I had a dish of it served up at noon today.

Nothing says filling like a plate of perspective,  with a side of humility gravy and a glass of cold water to wash it all down with.

Not quite like my grandfathers sweet corn, but not as bad as the liver and onions my mom used to try to get me to choke down.

Or the cow’s heart.

Sorry, mom, I know you said it was steak, but you can’t sneak that shit past a twelve-year-old.

Perspective.

Yes.

I was listening to someone share about being homeless eleven years ago.

I was there, I was homeless.

I was a street kid.

I was camping.

I wasn’t homeless.

What do you mean?

I was in a tent, it was camping.

Ha.

I remember when this was pointed out to me so succinctly, camping my ass, lady, I call your bullshit and up you a homeless as fuck card.

I was.

I was homeless.

I need to remember this when I get worried about current circumstances.

Worry all you want, worry you’re little heart right the hell out, it won’t help any.  Sit down and worry as hard as you can for five minutes and see what it gets you.

Or.

Sit and listen to someone else’s experience and get a little perspective on your life, darlin’, your life in Paris.  I was that person in line at the food pantry.  I was that girl filling out the application for food stamps.  I was that woman dining and dashing in Country Kitchen. I was that girl walking the side of the road with her thumb stuck out and a rucksack on her back.

I was the girl, in a tent, not even my tent, who would get up in the morning to the burn of the sun pushing through green canvas to scavenge for plywood, chemically treated most of the time, to heat up a can of Campbell’s Chunky Soup.

Eats like a meal, it does.

Now, I am here, in Paris.

I am sitting in front of a laptop that has my Iphone attached to it charging.

I have a cup of my favorite tea steeping in front of me.

Thank you Mama Grace, I am still loving on my care package.

I have stacks of books.

Boxes of pens.

Notebooks galore.

I like to say “galore” in my mind like Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride.

“Humiliations galore.”

I got to write today in Paris.

I did a little better than yesterday, and had it gently pointed out that there is nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed, and it will happen and be nice to yourself when it happens.

Four months into a new language, country, culture, just four months, a little slack would be a good thing, a little perspective ladybug, could help.

Passing on my experience to another, talking on the phone, relating to another’s experience in the back of a coffee shop, or a cafe, a serving of perspective and a good helping of gratitude.

I came home from my out and about’s and as I was walking down the hill past the Banque Postale my mind whispered to me of the horrors that would unduly happen should I withdraw the last few Euro’s in my account.

Certain death.

Homelessness.

Terror.

Shaddup.

I have been there.

I have paid my dues.

I am going home and I am going grocery shopping.

I went to the bank and I took out 60 Euro.

This leaves me with 81 American in my account.

The fear tried to do a tap dance of terror and I hooked it of the stage.  Fuck off, you have had your encore and I am sick of you schtick.  I took the Euro, tucked them in my wallet and headed to the market.

I made a good dinner.

I thought of where I am.

I thought of where I come from, small town, Wisconsin girl.

I thought again of where I am.

I smiled.

I breathed deep and the shadows crept back into the corners and the story came out at me with a sashay, with a pink pulse of glitter and glow, with a surrendering swoon that I could not ignore.

I washed the dinner dishes and set my alarm, the alarm I use on my phone to write, I book myself the time and I set an alarm.  It helps.  If I tell myself to sit down and write indescriminately I cannot always summon up the strength to do it.  If I set an alarm and tell myself to just sit there for the time, to just show up, that is where the magic happens.

I pulled out the short story I had started to write two days ago and I finished it, the rough draft at least.  The story has been following me all around town and I realized today as I sat on the Metro heading back to the neighborhood that the damn thing was not going to leave me alone until I wrote it–it was sitting in a corner of my head petulant–poking me, needling me until it was birthed like Athena from Zeus’s brain pan.

I sat down, opened the notebook.

Write it, I did.

I also realized that I was going to be haunted with the other story too, the novel, until I continued to work on it, I keep seeing two scenes in my brain and I need them out, partially to make room for the rest of the story that is clinging to some nook up in the brain stem.  I am going to alternate between writing the novel and working on the shorts as they come.  I have two notebooks of material.

Three if you count my morning pages, which I don’t but I should acknowledge.

Four if you count my laptop, its own kind of notebook.  One upon which I write this blog and send out queries to more agents.

Five if you count the little journal that I write down notes about the work I am working with the occasional poem thrown in–I also wrote a sonnet today.

I got another rejection as well.

That’s alright, another out of the queue toward the agent that is going to represent me.

I know you are out there.

I know you are.

I was not brought all this way to be dropped on my ass.

And I may fail, I may fail stunningly and I won’t care, I have had my daily dose of perspective and I can say to myself, you are brave, you are doing it, you are trying something new and terrifying and you are walking your path, your journey.

When I was homeless I could no more imagine living in Paris then I could imagine living in a place that had running water.

Yet here I am.

Against all odds.

Graced.

In Paris.


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