Pride, Joy, and Regrets

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Bruce, 1980-

“Even when I’m dancing, I’m entertaining somebody, I’m putting a smile on their face. Or if I’m cooking, and they’re enjoying my cooking, I also put a smile on their face.”

What am I most proud of? In my past, homeless or not, it was just helping others. I don’t know, but for some reason, what makes me happy is if I put a smile on someone else’s face. If they’re happy, I’m happy. I don’t know why I feel that way. If I have to sacrifice certain things of my own, if I sacrifice my own wants and needs, I will do it, I think it’s worth the sacrifice. One of my dreams is to help others who are struggling. I think that is the meaning of life, it goes to waste if it is not lived happy.

Just the other day, I had some money leftover, cleaning somebody’s backyard, and I went to a Thai restaurant and ordered Pad Thai. I started eating and a homeless guy and girl, a couple, came up, and they said, ‘Hey, sorry to bother you during your meal, but can we have your leftovers when you’re done?’ And I thought to myself, ‘There’s not going to be any leftovers,’ he laughs. But I said, ‘You know guys, just give me a second’, and I took another bite and gave them the rest. They said in return, ‘We wish we could show you our gratitude’, but I thought, the fact that you’re smiling is enough gratitude for me. Even when I’m dancing, I’m entertaining somebody, I’m putting a smile on their face. Or if I’m cooking, and they’re enjoying my cooking, I also put a smile on their face.

My Biggest regret? That’s a hard one. If it was up to me and if I can turn back the hands of time, but still have my state of mind, I would do everything different. But if I changed the hands of time and I’d do everything different, but I’m a whole different person, then I have no regrets.



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Shelters

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Bruce, 1980-

“Each time I stayed at a shelter something negative happens. Either something was stolen from me, or somebody was offering drugs or alcohol, or there was violence. The main purpose of a shelter is to help you get back on your feet, a place to stay and feel secure. . .”

One of my friends was recently stubbed in a shelter. He happened to walk into an inmate, bumped into him by accident, says, ‘excuse me, sorry for bumping into you’, and that doesn’t matter because the prison inmate started fighting him. My friend was defending him life, he got stabbed several times. Just imagine if you have a family member or a friend that you dearly care for and is down on their luck, and that friend has to stay in a shelter. . .

My experience in the shelters, more than several different ones, is that I didn’t feel safe because of the violence. To my knowledge and experience, unfortunately, a lot of prison inmates are released to shelters. It makes sense, the public doesn’t want them to be released onto the streets, because they want safety for themselves and their children. I understand, but maybe if they could think of another solution because it backfires with the prison mentality, that state of mind that they are left with, and they happen to use that violence.

Each time I stayed at a shelter something negative happens. Either something was stolen from me, or somebody was offering drugs or alcohol, or there was violence. The main purpose of a shelter is to help you get back on your feet, a place to stay and feel secure, and slowly, but surely, find a way to get your life back on track. All that is being defeated because of violence, drugs, and alcohol. So, I told my social worker, I prefer to tough it out and sleep on a doorway on the streets, until you can find a shelter that I feel secure in.



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