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Dangerous Situation

***** This post might be triggering *****

Something really scary happened last evening. I was standing outside with a friend (who is also homeless and we usually stay in the same place). We’re talking and this dude walks by and insults him. He just starts going off on the dude and making a huge deal out of what wasn’t such a huge thing. The guy was going to just walk off but my friend wouldn’t drop it. He kept on and kept on getting more and more angry and aggressive all the time. It was like the more angry he got the more it fueled his anger or something.

The guy had walked around the corner but my friend kept yelling after him, so he came back. My friend asked me if I was scared and I said ya. He said I could leave, but I had no place to go. My car was right by that guy so I was afraid to go there. I was afraid if I walked away the guy would follow me. And I didn’t want to just leave my friend because I was afraid he would get himself killed.

It kept getting worse and the guy sounded like he said something about a bullet. I was totally freaked. Finally, the guy says to get out of there and he stands around the corner and starts counting “one one thousand…two one thousand…” That was the most terrifying countdown and reminded me too much of past abuse.

I didn’t know anything to do but go get in my car. I felt horrible leaving my friend but decided he was being really stupid and it made no sense for me to stay around and get killed too. So I started towards my car, but that was the same direction as the guy was in. He started saying stuff to me and started towards my car. I was checked out and didn’t even know what I was doing but I just stayed quiet, didn’t look at him, and kept going. I got in my car and thankfully my brain switched on long enough to remind me to quick lock my doors.

The dude leaned across my car and I was so afraid if I drove off he’d shoot or something. But I started the car and gave a few moments so he’d know I was going, and then slowly pulled away. Thankfully, he just got off my car and let me go. I kept looking in the rearview mirror because I was so afraid for my friend, but he also got in his car and left. The guy reached in his jacket at some point and I thought sure he would shoot us, but he didn’t. I think angels were protecting us.

Anyway, it was absolutely terrifying. I totally froze, but I kept thinking of my friend’s safety and that’s what makes me really mad…he totally put my life in danger and didn’t think of my safety while I was thinking of his the whole time!

I honestly feel super super angry at my friend for that. He needs to learn to think about others. If he wants to fight people and act dumb, he needs to do it when he’s alone and not be endangering other people’s lives. It’s just not worth it. I told him when it started, “it’s not worth it” but he said “to me it is!” So it’s worth it to him to get me killed too I suppose. I just can’t be around him anymore. I’m so afraid and I’m really triggered by him as well. Anger is super triggering to me and I have bad PTSD and I just can’t deal with that kind of crap.

I was so terrified when I left, I didn’t realize till I got to a nearby park and stopped that I hadn’t even gotten my door shut. I was shaking like crazy. I called multiple crisis hotlines because I just needed to talk about it over and over and kept crying and crying. But I knew if I didn’t do that I’d just totally dissociate and then it would be a lot worse later. I finally got (amazingly!) where I could sleep and I prayed a lot and was able to sleep ok. I was so afraid I’d have nightmares but I didn’t. But then this morning, I was again feeling really triggered and afraid. I’ve been at the library writing about it and also talked to my best friend about it. That all helped, but this was just a really sucky situation and I’m so glad it’s over but definitely scared from it still.

I’m also just super angry at my friend for that and I don’t want to see him. I’m afraid to go where we usually hang out and I really wish I had a different place to spend the nights but I don’t so I just hope he doesn’t start stuff where we sleep.

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Homophobia

I met a really awesome girl the other day who I’d been talking to online. She’s actually lived in her car a lot too and has just been very much of a gypsy. I thought that was really cool. I’m always happy to meet people who are cool with the fact that I live in my car and who understand that kind of living.

So we were walking and I saw this dude. I immediately felt afraid and thought he would follow us and sure enough, he began following. There was no one else around. I was freaked! He started saying “You gay or what? You girlfriends or what?” I had no idea what to do. I just kind of shut down inside and it felt like a dream to me. Thankfully she was able to just calmly talk to him. Finally, after she said we were friends, he asked if she had a boyfriend. She lied and said yes. As soon as she said that, his tone changed, he became respectful, shook her hand and asked her name, then left. It was crazy!

I can’t understand why people are the way they are. What is so threatening about two queers walking down a trail? But I guess I have to deal with that that’s the world we live in for now. It really scared me. I don’t want to lie about who I am to protect myself.

It made a lot of things come up in my mind. One is, did he sense my fear and is that why he followed us? That frightens me because I do tend to wonder if predators sense that I am prey. I also felt badly because I instinctively stepped back behind her. When I realized it, I stepped up more beside her again because I don’t want to be someone who protects myself and lets someone else get hurt. But someone who I told pointed out that maybe it was because I could sense that she knew better how to handle the situation that I did. I don’t know. It was all such a fog and I just couldn’t think real well. I remember it kind of floating on the edge of my consciousness that I had pepper spray with me, but it was like I was so disconnected from my brain that I didn’t get it in my hand or anything. I couldn’t act on it. Very disconcerting.

I still enjoyed the rest of the time hanging out with her, but once she left I started shaking and realized it had affected me way more than I realized. I just hid it while she was still there. Thankfully I had a good crisis line to call as well as a friend and then I felt a lot better.

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PTSD and Staying with People

Today I was up earlier than usual, so I decided to go somewhere. While at the “somewhere” where I decided to go, I met a super awesome man. I noticed him because he is very masculine looking, but was wearing a short flowery skirt. We talked for a long time. While talking it came up that I live in my car. He said he lived out of town and his brother was in his guest house or he would offer that I come stay with him and then he was trying to think of other people I could possibly stay with. I explained that I tend to have trouble living with people and that I really am ok in my car, but that I really appreciated it.

There have been quite a few people who have offered places to stay and I so appreciate it, or they’ve suggested homeless shelters and other things. I find that it’s very hard for me to live with people though, especially people I don’t know. I think it’d be impossible. I get very triggered very easily by a lot of things. I couldn’t even live with my ex girlfriend very long because of it though I really loved her.

So this makes it kind of hard when I think of looking for housing. I also have heard from several people that, being transgender and gender non-conforming, shelters would not be a good option for me. There is one women’s shelter that sounds nice, but I’d have to tell them a different name and make sure I didn’t slip up or else I’d be out. That sucks.

I also think of housing if and when I get the money (I’m applying for disability so I may have money at some point hopefully soon). It’d be hard to find a place that would feel safe. When I lived with my ex, I was more afraid in her house than I am in my car because of the part of town and the things I would hear. And I’m guessing any low income housing I could find would likely be a similar situation.

Good thing I’m feeling pretty positive about living in my car right now because I think this may be pretty long term! At least in my car I can move from place to place if I need to. And hey, I get to enjoy the beauty that I would probably never get out to enjoy were I in a house. The other night I watched the full moon rise and it was so gorgeous! I wouldn’t do that if I were in a home because I’m too much of a home body. There are definitely positives about my car 🙂

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Comfy Bed

Today I’m feeling a lot more positive than yesterday thankfully. The weather is beautiful and that always helps. I went to the park and it was actually warm enough to sit out in the sun! Lovely!

Last night for the first time I think since I’ve been homeless I actually woke up in the night and thought how comfy my bed was. I was all snuggled in my sleeping bags in the back of the car and I was actually warm enough because the weather has warmed up and I felt really good. That was nice 🙂

It’s interesting figuring out the best way to sleep in a car. I put down my back seats so I can sleep half in the trunk and half on the back of the seats. I’m pretty tall so I have to sleep bent so that the big hump where the seats fold down hits at my waist since that’s the most comfortable. When I first started sleeping in my car, the seats where quite high up so it was more like sleeping in a recliner, not very comfortable after a while. Finally, I figured out that if I moved things around in my car, I can move the bottom cushion from the back seat forward which allows the seat backs to lay down lower allowing me to lay flatter. It’s a lot nicer this way!

If anyone else reads this blog who is also car camping, please let me know if you have ideas for comfy car sleeping!

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The Mountains

I know I’ve spoken before of my love of nature, but right now, I needed to talk about something positive to help me feel less depressed so I’m going to talk about it again!

Today is a gorgeous day! I was thinking this morning as I drove to the grocery store that no matter what I lose and no matter how hard life is, I can look around at the mountains, and they’ll always be there. They’re beautiful! It really makes me happy to know they’ll be there because it’s like one constant in my life. One thing I can count on is those beautiful mountains getting lit up by the sun, or covered by the clouds, or topped with snow. They’re strong, they’re constant, they won’t leave me. That makes me happy.

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Winter

Winter has officially come and it’s cold! Now I’m depressed. It’s really hard for me to stay positive and cheerful about life when I’m freezing. The cold has this weird way of getting to me and making me become super emotional and super down.

Moisture is condensing in the car and all my stuff is getting wet too. I never thought of that happening. My blankets and clothes are getting wet and I’m afraid stuff will mold since I’m not sure how to get it to dry out well enough.

I’m thinking of the next couple months and trying to remind myself winter won’t last forever. If I can just get through this next couple months then it’ll start warming up again. I heard this is supposed to be a real cold and wet winter, but that was a couple months ago. Maybe things have changed. I hope.

At least on sunny days my car warms up nicely so I’m not too cold, and some days I’m even quite warm, sitting in my car.

Sometimes I lay in bed (in the car) and think of the people who are out on the street (with no car) and I wonder how they’re surviving. It makes me really sad. I’ve wished I could fit someone else in my car with me, but there’s no way that would work. I just wish there was some way to make it warmer for all of us who don’t have warm houses to be in and I wish the people with the warm houses would think of those who don’t have that…

I called a couple places that I was told may be able to help me get housing. They weren’t very nice to me. After talking to them I felt like I’d rather just stay in my car and at least maintain my dignity and not be treated that way. It’s so hard to ask for help, but I just can’t do it if the person isn’t even going to show me respect as a human being. I’m trying so hard already to maintain respect for myself.

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What is Homelessness for Me

I said in the last post that the hardest thing for me isn’t sleeping in my car, it’s the knowledge that I have no place. I’ve thought about this recently because I realized that, I really think it’s awesome to live in one’s car by choice – to travel, save money, have a truly mobile home, etc. And so I wondered why I was struggling so much living in my car. I guess it’s because I feel so out of place.

For me, homelessness – what makes me feel truly homeless – is having no family. It’s having no safe place to park. It’s knowing that I could get in trouble any time just because I am trying to have a good nights sleep. It’s never knowing when I’ll have to find a new parking place. It’s knowing that people look down on us who are homeless. It’s being exhausted and not having a bed I can go lay down on and just escape the world for a bit. Those are the things that make me feel homeless. Not living in my car.

Actually, when I think of my long term plans, I don’t really plan on getting a house for quite a while. I plan to get a larger vehicle so I can live in it and travel when I have the money. But I want to do it for the fun and adventure, not because I feel I have to.