Saturday, May 21, 2011

REBUILD: A Disparity In Perspectives

I'm a blogger. I have been blogging since 2003. My style is more of an emotional release and I write much better when I am emotional. I have so much to say so allow me to spit it out.

Organizing the job fair is going well so far. I really need an assistant to take care of the administrative tasks while I go out and find more businesses but the entire task is up to me while I still try to go out vending for the homeless voice newspaper to make money to keep this project going. Yesterday I made $55 and that will last me a while after bus passes and random stuff I need during the day as I'm out walking the streets looking for jobs for women.

Men do not understand this project. Most think I am silly for trying to help others BEFORE I help myself. It annoys me to try to explain to them that I believe BY helping other women, I AM helping myself. I get the most awesome satisfaction from helping others to achieve their goals. This feels better than my work as a life coach. Instead of talking to women, I get to actually make a MOVE for them.

My biggest concern while I'm out looking for jobs is the fact that many of the women I meet who are homeless or in distress, also have criminal records. This eliminates them from many job opportunities. Their only options are to remain homeless or in distress or to return to the criminal lifestyle. How can I help change this policy? Where are the jobs for women who are reformed and want a chance to prove they are?

Today I wrote to Emily's List, a website that says it connects women with policymakers to incite positive change. I hope something happens from this action.

On a personal note, I saw my little sister yesterday. I called her when I was out collecting donations and she came to see me with my niece. It felt so good for an hour or so to walk through Walmart shopping like a regular lady touching things and talking about the project and some of my frustrations. She even gave me a hug and it made me cry to receive a human touch.

While I am organizing this project and living in a homeless shelter I find that one of my main concerns isn't safety or food, it's mostly, well, I need some affection so badly. And I'm using the term affection loosely. Am I not a woman? Am I not human? Am I not supposed to even have these thoughts while I spend my days brainstorming and trying to make positive changes in the community?

Well if I'm wrong then let me be wrong because this is really how I feel. I have met two men that I found attractive since beginning this project and after finding out that I am homeless (even though they both KNEW I am doing it for a project) neither of them ever called me back. When I told one of them that I really needed a hug, he looked at me like I was crazy.

I'm homeless AND I'm disgusting to most people because I live in this lifestyle. I'm not used to this. It's not exactly hurting my feelings but without the privacy to relieve my OWN sexual tension I find myself about to cry sometimes at night as I curl up on my mat and try to go to sleep.

Last night I drifted off and my eyes fluttered open to a touch. It's a guy who lives here that I like to flirt with. He's really young and I admire his work ethic but most of all I like his aggressive personality. He has all the signs of a dominant man although he's very silly and we have absolutely nothing in common and there will never be anything serious. I think that's why I like him; I know he's too young to want anything real. Flirting with him is safe because I know he'll never 'like' me for real.

I'm afraid of real. From what I've seen from watching my friends in relationships since I've been single for 9 years, "real" is a bunch of drama and tears. I don't feel like I'm missing anything good.

When I opened my eyes he was leaning over me. "Are you feeling better?" he asked as I recognized his face. I nodded, still half asleep.

"Good," he said. "Good."

He hugged me twice and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

That made me so happy. It made me feel human. I really appreciate that act of kindness.

I'm a leper on the outside world. I watch couples in the shelter fall in love, flirt and have all kinds of fun. There's no one I can connect with on an intellectual level but there are many men that I admire for their kind hearts.

The women that I meet are the same, generally kind and sweet. We have a disconnect as well. There has been one question that has been plaguing me for a week or so now.

Well, this man here came up to me and said, "You have nice breasts." I took it as an insult and cursed him out. He came back to me saying that I was the only woman he ever met who would think that was an insult.

I was a bit perplexed by this statement because I figured there could be an element of truth in it. I am easily offended by men because I believe they are mostly out to try to offend me. I have this chip on my shoulder due to my past relationships with men and I am comfortable this way so don't try to talk me out of it. I'd rather be defensive than allow someone to bring drama into my life. I'm done with trying to help men; they never appreciate it.

Anyway, I asked 4 women in the shelter, "If a random man tells you that you have nice breasts, is it a compliment?"

ALL four women said YES!

I was astonished. Simply amazed.

I posted this same question on my facebook page and all but ONE woman was disgusted by the statement.

When I told my Mama she said, "Tee, most women aren't used to getting compliments so anything a man says to them that pays them attention, they consider to be a compliment."

I don't think ANY man that I am not allowing to touch me should ever comment on any part of my body, good or bad. It's not a compliment to me, I feel like it objectifies me. I am much more than an ass or a pair of breasts.

I actually got into a heated debate with a woman yesterday about this topic. She believes I am CRAZY to think that, "You have a nice ass!" isn't a compliment. She said I must have low self esteem if I don't think that was a compliment.

Ugh! That's a disrespectful insult.

It made me think about the disparity between my mentality and the mentality of the people here. I'm not trying to judge one over the other, I am simply taking note that there is a huge difference. I didn't think there would be since I am definitely from the 'hood' but there seems to be a large margin in perspectives on life.

I am trying to reach an understanding of how they think so that I can speak for them to ask for help but some become frustrated with me for asking questions. Thank goodness most aren't like that. One woman patiently explained to me about heroin addiction and methadone and how it helped her kick her addiction. I was grateful because I had no clue. That was one of my biggest frustrations when I was interning as a substance abuse counselor. I didn't understand how people would even try a drug called crack. It's CRACK. Haven't you heard or seen the effects it has on people? Look at the result. Do you want to end up there? Why would you even try it?

I don't get it.

I don't think I'm better than them, but I do know that we see the world and life's opportunities differently.

I'm trying to help. Honestly, I am.

I don't know if I can.

Let me get back to these administrative tasks.

Still pushing.


i also find it insulting if someone, especially some RANDOM guy, comes up to me to tell me i have a nice ass or rack. that is incredibly rude!

Tee - I, too, would find it insulting. Maybe it's because I live in New England and it's just not something you take as a compliment up here.


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