A police officer brought a woman into the warming center last night, and this one hurt my heart. He said he found her curled up in a ball on the sidewalk, trying to keep warm. She was wearing thin inappropriate clothes for the freezing weather, and she flinched and backed away when I approached her. The only thing she carried in her white cold hands was a broken coffee cup. No purse, no belongings, just the shards of something broken that she couldn’t let go of. Given that 100% of homeless women have been sexually assaulted in some way, I could only imagine what had broken this one. I made sure she had a safe, warm spot to rest for the rest of the night, and wished like hell I could do more.
After I finished my overnight shift at 6am, I slept for two hours, and then headed off to my two jobs for the day. It was rough but I made it until about 8pm when I hit the wall and just started crying and couldn’t stop. I know lack of sleep does that to me after long enough, but this is much deeper. It’s hard to have hope sometimes, and I often still feel like giving up, even though I’ve fought so hard to be here.
Seeing that heartbroken picture of humanity just triggered me hard, and I feel overwhelmed with grief for all of us. And I figure that the best way to make my miserable life meaningful at all is to maybe volunteer more with the Red Cross. I just got recruited for the DAT program- disaster action teams that respond to crises domestically and sometimes internationally. Maybe that will distract me from my own heartbreak and despair. There’s nothing like a sense of perspective to change your world view.