The last time I had to apply myself to learning something both difficult and vital was when I was on the streets. I learned that there are things that happen in this world that strictly stay with who was there, I had to learn to interact with various groups of people with completely different beliefs. I got a lot better at reading people and learning to ditch out when things didn’t feel right. It’s kind of like these skills developed before I was intellectually aware of them, and made me a little weird/jumpy for a while, but it kept me alive.
Now that I’ve been transitioning back into the normal world over the past year, I’ve noticed that the skills I learned when I was homeless taught me a lot. I’ve developed better skills at reading and handling people, and letting things roll off my back. It also really gave me more of a drive to protect/defend myself and gave me better motivation to succeed.
Honestly, we’re a year out from all of this, and I’m still slowly piecing things together. I got kind of socially, morally, and emotionally schizophrenic from that…To this day, If I’m around certain people, I’ll switch from “straight” talk to “stoner” talk, to “Just got out of San Quentin” talk, and sometimes I’ll do a weird combo of all three. I don’t like it! I feel like I accidentally turned into three different women, and now I’m trying to take bits and pieces of them and make them into one awesome woman, lol.
Without going into way too much detail, I learned that my heart generally tries to screw me over, my brain overprocesses everything, but my gut is dead on with people.
I wouldn’t say that being homeless in the area that I was in is in itself innately risky, but I threw myself into risky groups, and as far as I can tell, I was the right kind of endearing, underinformed and honest that can make a pretty aggressive type of guy feel like playing the role of a mentor. Like, seriously, if I have angels in my life, they’ve all been in prison. Wow. That’s…something.
I threw myself into the world of hard drugs for a while, before that I was at most an alcohol and weed person…I was never a baller, and I wouldn’t even jokingly call myself “da plug”, but I did some nickel and diming type hustling for a while, and the fact that I’m female and survived my own stupidity is a complete miracle.
It’s kind of like I’ve already BEEN to Hell, and I don’t want to go back.