I’ve been homeless off and on since 2004 here in San Francisco. And through it all I continued to go through my struggle and tribulations, but in 2010 I came back out here with this guy, and to my dismay he truly turned me out in a way I never knew. See, he taught me a lot out here in the streets, and all the while he was hurting and destroying me in the process. Since being homeless I’ve been stabbed, hurt, belittled, made fun of, had my name dragged in the dirt, my safety compromised, and my well-being put at risk. I have also been to jail as well out here in San Francisco. I’ve sold drugs, I’ve also jacked some people I’m not proud of. At the end of the day I’m not proud of it. I slept at bus stops and different hotels around the city; stuff I never thought I would do in a million years I’ve done. And please, don’t think for one second that I’m OK with that, because I’m not.
As a woman out here being homeless, I’ve suffered a lot more trauma than men do. Since being homeless, my life has been put in jeopardy in more ways than one. I’ve had my tent burned down with me inside asleep. I’ve been raped while asleep in my tent. And I’ve had my fair share of fights out here as well. Even though I’m at the Navigation Center now and I’m inside, it doesn’t mean that I’m not homeless at all, because at any point in time I could be back on the streets like I was. And here in the city I’m still classified as homeless, because it’s not permanent housing — it’s temporary housing that I’m in. The struggles are still happening even though I’m inside.
Since being homeless I’ve achieved a lot of things. I’ve gained my self-respect, my self-confidence, my self love. My higher power (whom I choose to call God) has allowed me to receive my associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies. I volunteer at the Coalition on Homelessness and the Street Sheet. I’m currently in school for my bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. I also been blessed with a new addition to my family, a daughter. So through my struggles and tribulations I’ve been blessed with many things. Also, I’m taking up some self-help groups to build my self-esteem back up. So just know that in the end, for women out here who are homeless, it’s harder to maintain our sanity and our self-respect even without having people put us down, belittle us, and disrespect us as human beings.
So in closing what I’m saying is this: I’ve been beaten on, stabbed, shot at, raped, etc. I’ve also been jumped and ridiculed for being who I am as an individual. I’m still human, with human emotions and feelings. I am who I am, and God made me who I am, and if no one likes me, that’s fine, but to kiss ass for someone to like me or respect me for me? I’m not going to let that happen.