Skip to main content

Writing From a Homeless Heart

Kylyssa Shay was homeless for over a year in her youth; it lead her to become a homelessness activist. She thinks, feels, and has opinions.

Unemployed people sleeping outside at Queen's Park, Toronto

Unemployed people sleeping outside at Queen's Park, Toronto

Homelessness Has Colored My Writing

My experience living without a home just over twenty-five years ago changed the course of my life forever. It changed the possibilities open to me and my perceptions of the world both for good and for ill. Being homeless scarred my body and mind in ways that may never heal.

The time I spent living without a home of my own gave me an insight into the fragility of life, the strength of the will to survive, the bright potential for human love and kindness and the cold, warped pain of human hatred. As a writer, it is almost inevitable that such experiences would color my words.

I was only homeless for a brief amount of time, just about two years in total. Much of my writing inspired by that time deals with the after-effects of my experiences.

All of this work is very personal and comes from a more primitive place in my heart. It's steeped in pain, fear, and sometimes self-hatred. Some of it is fiction built upon deeper truths I'm not yet ready to face eye-to-eye. Some of it is poetry about being homeless. Some of it is just a rambling, factual revelation of things I learned living on the fringes of society.

The stories and poems inspired by my time being homeless are not full of flowers and sunshine. They are not inspirational in any religious sense.

They are what they are, a kind of catharsis, an attempt to find meaning in a horrible period of my life. As I can bear to, I'll put these fragments of my blood and body on this page.

Homelessness is Dust

Homelessness is dust,

sifting through the cracks.

Homelessness is dust,

invisible on gray streets.

Homelessness is dust,

a bitter thirst on the tongue.

Homelessness is dust,

fouling the well of dreams.

Homelessness is dust,

filling the human heart.

Homelessness is dust,

clogging straining lungs.

Scroll to Continue

Homelessness is dust,

easily swept under the rug.

Dumpsters side-by-side present a dangerous place for hurting monsters to hide

Dumpsters side-by-side present a dangerous place for hurting monsters to hide

The Monster

Far from Home, a Creature Tries to Survive in a Human City

The monster crouched behind the dumpster, blood dripping from its nostrils. It whimpered softly, shifting its limbs to achieve a more comfortable position as it waited for night to fall.

It had made the mistake of coming out in the daylight to seek food. Clutching the loaf of day-old bread to its chest it scampered towards the alley and cover. As it rounded the building two young men almost bumped into it. Face twisted in disgust, the shorter man struck out with his foot sending the creature sprawling to the pavement. Dropping the bread it covered its face with upraised forelimbs and hunkered in a defensive position. The man kicked it in the side.

"Oh, God, that's disgusting!" said the taller, brown-skinned human, tossing his longish dark hair out of his eyes. "Stop it!"

The smaller man seemed disinclined to take his companion's advice and the monster could see the muscles bunching in his thick, pale arms. The creature lurched to its feet and staggered away from the pair as swiftly as it could. The darker man put his hand on his friend's shoulder and he did not pursue the beast.

In its hiding place behind the dumpster the animal began to rock its body in reaction to the pain. As the day wore on the creature's haven became uncomfortably hot and the smell of decay made it feel sick. It moved its body awkwardly, trying to relieve the pain in its cracked ribs without success. Despite the pain, the hunger, and the heat the monster began to drift to sleep. Its sleep was broken and filled with haunting dreams. The thing dreamed of fresh, running water gurgling into a basin where it quenched its thirst. It dreamed of a time when it lived in peace and safety, its den amid fields of lush grasses bordering a deep, wild forest.

Its comfortable den was long gone, taken over by new tenants after the monster's dam and sire mysteriously disappeared. There was no going back. The creature, still a juvenile, wandered aimlessly, seeking food and shelter where it could. Its fur had been sleek and glossy, its muscles strong. Now it lay shivering in the heat of an alien city, its muscles wasted, its fur patchy and dull.

The thing woke up shortly after dusk, dehydrated and maddened by thirst. It uncurled its tortured body and stiffly crawled from behind the dumpster out into the parking lot. Looking around carefully for predators the monster limped towards the city park. It had seen a fountain there and imagined it could smell the water.

The creature arrived at the park, gasping from the effort, each breath bringing a new order of pain to its broken ribs. Cautiously it crept towards the lighted fountain. Thirst dissolved its caution and the monster plunged its face into the water sucking in great gulps of the cool liquid.

Suddenly, hands grasped the weakened monster's head, shoving it into the fountain. Terror gave the animal greater strength and it managed to throw off its attacker for a moment, allowing it to suck in air with far greater thirst than it had shown the water moments earlier.

The man grappled with it, shoving it down against the fountain. The creature's head cracked into the rim of the fountain. Snarling, it desperately lashed out at the man, its teeth bared.

Just after sunrise several police officers and a CSI unit were in the park, called by an early morning jogger. Approaching the twisted corpse near the fountain, one policeman asked, "Another runaway, you think?"

One of the Investigators said, "What a shame, she couldn't be more than 18."

A very close look at a monster like me

A very close look at a monster like me

Becoming a Monster

In the Eyes of Society Being Homeless Makes Us... Less

Perhaps the hardest part about being homeless was being de-humanized. Before I lost my home, I was a cherished daughter, a fine student, a sister, a niece, a grandchild. I was "that shy neighbor girl" and "that smart kid" - but homelessness changed it all.

Sometimes, just for fun, teenage boys would harass me - shove me around and kick me. Just to pass some time. People would look away or cross the street to avoid me though I never begged. Cops would wake me with a toe to my ribs or the back of my head, never asking if I was OK, just poking me like a stray dog or a bag of garbage. Somehow, these small, everyday assaults on my person and dignity hurt more than the vicious attacks that left me hospitalized. Perhaps because they were always so casual, so frequent that they completely buried whoever I had been. I became a thing rather than a person.

So once bad then horrible things started happening to me, I justified the casual cruelties and brutal wrongs in my own head, too. I became detached, depressed, I viewed myself as a sub-human thing, a vile creature it was allowable to abuse. Things that if done to someone else would have filled me with righteous anger became OK, because it was just me they were happening to. People could do things to me that I wouldn't stand by and allow them to do to an animal. All because I had become, in my mind and theirs, nothing more than a monster, a beast that didn't even deserve life.

I still struggle with these feelings and you can see them clearly in my writing.

Water is the Source of Life

Things seen in mirrors may be more real than what they reflect sometimes

Things seen in mirrors may be more real than what they reflect sometimes

The Inside Void and the Written Line

A Poem of Catharsis, Regaining Feelings of Humanity After Life on the Street

A gaping chasm

shaped exactly like me

clings closer than a shadow.

Too many touches,

too many sweaty fumblings

as I helplessly cried.

A sucking void exists

where a little girl should be.

I caught a glimpse

of something in the mirror

that I don't want to kill.

For an instant

a terrified child

stared out of my reflection.

Words pour from my fingers

like pus from a septic wound

as I press harder

against the ragged,

broken parts of my self.

I drain the infection

and vomit the poison

that took residence

in my mind,

transform it into art -

black and white marks

on a screen.

My own words

laid end to end

form a lifeline

I extend to the little girl

I thought I saw in the mirror.

photo by Rich T Anderson

photo by Rich T Anderson

Dreams Died First

If You Survive Homelessness Long Enough, Dreams May Die Before You Do

Harshly night pricked her with a thousand pins

each piercing sharper than the one before,

her flesh paying the cost of two men's sins.

Innocence lost with blood, she fought no more.

Darkness pressed in like smoke upon a flame

searing her skin like the cuts on her face.

Blood dried up like bark, burning like shame.

Lying in the dark, her hopes had no place.

They'd beaten in her head

and left her for dead -

Beaten out desire, beaten out her heart,

beaten out the fire, beaten out her art.

Curled up on the ground, head against a tree

her grief profound and no more tears to cry

behind a hedge windbreak where none could see

a girl felt heartache, felt all her dreams die

For the first time...

photo by Glenda Otero, SXC

photo by Glenda Otero, SXC

What Good Came of It?

Being homeless was an extremely dark time for me. But I would have to say that if I could change the past, I wouldn't. Every bit of terror, pain, and indignity shaped the person I am. Not only that, but the experience of dragging myself up from less than nothing - I guess I'm pretty proud of that.

I also saw uncompromising goodness during the bleakest points - people little better off than myself who helped and nurtured and saved lives including my own. I grew to see all of the good people as family.

Let me explain about that. When I say the good people I'm not talking about who society would call good people. I'm talking about people who, even when broken and discarded, beaten and abused, maintain a spark of love and decency in their spirits. I'm referring to the prostitute who "ordered too many burgers" all the time and sought me out to "get rid of the extra ones" on her way home. I'm referring to the crack head who stood up to the well-dressed young man who decided to knock me around a little. I'm referring to the discarded old man who bathed me like a child and pushed me in a shopping cart to the ER after I was raped and stabbed. I'm referring to everyone who is like them, or would be like them under the cruel pressures and birth pains they've suffered.

I wouldn't change my knowledge of their existence for anything in the world. Underneath it all, even in the worst of worst times human beings are good at heart.

You'd think having seen some of the most evil things a man can do to another, and seeing its imprint written on the faces of those I came to see as family - you'd think I'd have learned to see the evil in mankind more clearly than the good. But I do. I see evil more clearly than ever before. But I see where it comes from. I see how sometimes, the breaking of a man snuffs out that spark of love and decency in his heart. Sometimes, there's not even tinder left should someone decide to try re-lighting it. It's not something chosen, it's a spiritual injury.

Since I escaped the streets, I've done what I can to help others do the same. Mostly, it has been personal and direct - taking in discarded teens, teens who were too gay, too pagan, or just too much effort for their parents. When I was too poor to buy extra food, or was already pushing the limit on the number of occupants in my apartment I gave literacy and companionship. But I've also tried to wake people up to my understanding, to wake them up to the value of every human being. None of this is charity, none of this is "good works" - this is my family and it's my responsibility to care for them. It's yours, too, whether you know it or not.

photo by Tomas Oliva, SXC

photo by Tomas Oliva, SXC

You Won't

You Won't See Me Homeless

You won't find me

hiding in the landscaping

dreaming of the last beating.

No one will see me

crying with joy

finding apple peelings

sealed neatly in a Ziploc bag.

No cop will wake me

with his foot in my ribs

as I curl up beside the dumpster

at the gas station.

You won't notice me

washing in the ocean,

eating raw crabs again.

You just won't...

because I'll die first.

© 2009 Kylyssa Shay

Your Thoughts On Creative Writing Born Of Pain

Helen Russell on October 03, 2020:

I have never heard homelessness for a woman described so . It is very raw and difficult to read, but it is real. Thank you, I don't feel quite so alone right now

Deborah Minter from U.S, California on September 23, 2017:

I'm so sorry to hear that you were homeless. I am glad that you are not anymore... Thank you for sharing this article.

ivyowl on May 24, 2014:

I was never homeless but I was very badly bullied all my life due to learning disabilities. In fact I was bullied into mental illness. I was afraid of everyone because my life experience taught me that EVERYONE wanted to hurt me(i was a the very bottom of the school food chain). I almost did become homeless when I turned 18 because I was about to be kicked out of foster care and non-homelessness generally involves dealing with you know, human beings that just want to hurt you,because they get off on it, kind of people. i wasn't a "monster" my whole due to homelessness but due to things like acne, glasses, cheaper shoes, not brand name know, Which just proves human nature is just horrible generally. I am not the greatest writer in the world but I'd LOVE follow in your shoes, go though a thing..and really write about it so people will be enlightened. My thing would be on bullying though.

Eaglesarticle on March 04, 2014:

It has just help me how I looked into myself from the past until today. My heart is filling the emptiness for your homeless in your experiences. I think I should write where I can no doubtfully to be fill my passion for writing. I know that for my self that I should awake my self about this...Thanks for the lens you share about homelessness in your past.

tonyleather on January 05, 2014:

What a fantastic lens, filled with such moving and dramatic poetry. That period of your life must have been quite something, and I am full of admiration for the way you battled through it!

John Dyhouse from UK on May 17, 2013:

Wonderful poetry, very thought provoking. I have never been in this podition luckily but these words bring it to life for the reader

Matthew from Silicon Valley on March 05, 2013:

This is such an amazing story, thank you for sharing. Blessed

ChristyZ on February 23, 2013:

You're not only a strong person to survive despite everything you've been through, but you are an absolutely amazing writer. Your series of lenses on homelessness are phenomenal.

erin-arnold-94 on December 17, 2012:

I have never been more inspired in my life than when I was homeless. I found the true strength of my being, and all that comes with it.

DeboraR on October 24, 2012:

Your lens is heart touching. It brought tears to my eyes as I read it. I've wondered before how to help homeless people have a better life. I see from your writing how the hardships have made you a good writer. I hope to read more of your lens.

Tagarack on August 27, 2012:

I was extremely moved by your lens and your others on homelessness. I am very close to it myself since my parents died, but have managed to stay above board due to a loving family that I had not known at the time, but took me in, as well as help from friends. I suffer from a lot of different disorders such as social anxiety, panic attacks, depression and some physical ones as well, which makes it hard for me to get and keep a job, The whole thing of being homeless scares me something terribly as I feel too ill most of the time to be the survivor required, but I'm afraid someday it may be inevitable.This lens and your others are really something that everyone should read to have a better understanding of the problem and maybe with understanding can come solutions.

jgrish72 on August 03, 2012:

Hi there I came across your writings and began to cry, I've been there just recently and have been blessed with someone allowing me to stay with them. I pray I get some assistance with food, clothing and shelter soon. I can not thank you enough for your articles and if you can suggest anything, any places online that may contribute or places I may go I would be so thankful. God bless you!

Hanziejane on May 28, 2012:

I love all of your lenses!

Millionairemomma on May 18, 2012:

You really need to keep pouring your heart out like this. It really is so healing for us all. I mean you need to keep writing. Really, you are just 100% courage!

Spiderlily321 on May 15, 2012:

Wow what an amazing and touching lens. You are also such a great writer! You have been through a lot and are an inspiration to many people. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

stacy-cadence on April 20, 2012:

You are an inspiration.

writerkath on April 13, 2012:

You are a blessing to this world.

Harriet from Indiana on April 09, 2012:

I've been reading your lenses and find them thought provoking and enlightening.

JimDickens on March 13, 2012:

Very powerful and very thought provoking. I both pity and admire your experiences

Zut Moon on March 13, 2012:

Quite a powerful lens ... Blessed.

anonymous on February 01, 2012:

There are no words....I am at a loss...admiring who you are....

Aquavel on January 31, 2012:

Inspirational lens! So much has been taken from you and you continue to give all you can! Thanks for sharing your wonderful heart with all of us and inspiring us.

victoriahaneveer on January 31, 2012:

Fascinating and thought-provoking

niceman91 lm on November 16, 2011:

may you always be strong ;( you r such a great person!

sousababy on November 15, 2011:

Your writing is extremely powerful. I thoroughly agree with your analogy 'there's not even tinder left should someone decide to try re-lighting it. It's not something chosen, it's a spiritual injury.' That's an extraordinary amount of empathy and compassion you show towards humankind, despite being horribly abused. Nothing at all compared to you, but I had some very rough times in my life and I must admit, it made me stronger than I would have been otherwise. (And yes, the people who have helped me the most were poor or good samaritan types).Keep writing and thank you for sharing this with us,Rose

bosieboy on September 28, 2011:

Wow! You are an incredible, gifted person - I am off to read your other lenses rignt now.If I were a Squid-angel you would have my blessings, but unfortunately I am not. Apart from clicking on some of your buttons, all I have to offer is my thanks for this wonderful lens.Thankyou.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2011:

I really admire how you have brought this issue to us here in squidoo and how you have gotten out of the experience yourself and turned this into something positive.

Frischy from Kentucky, USA on July 31, 2011:

Thank you for bringing awareness to the issue of homelessness and sharing your vulnerability with the rest of us. There are many people with hidden vulnerabilities, and many who try to hide their vulnerabilities from themselves with their hostile blaming of the victim. I do not think I know anyone who, given particular circumstances, could not end up in this situation or a similar one. I hope good things will come to you.

anonymous on June 04, 2011:

I love your lenses. Thanks

anonymous on May 27, 2011:

Heart-ful & touching -May you get now all the happiness n success in life for surviving those tough need soft happy feelings of life to balance those rough one's in past...Cheers !!

Marcia from England on May 17, 2011:

I really admire you for the journey you have made and long may you continue your good work. Your writing is very moving and powerful, I could never imagine being homeless but thank goodness there are people like you to care for those that are. Well done!

DanMoriarity LM on February 23, 2011:

Great lenses on homelessness. You've done a good thing by bringing awareness to the problem and I wish you all the best.

javr from British Columbia, Canada on January 02, 2011:

I hope you have a Happy New Year. You deserve it!

Rachellewms on December 26, 2010:

You have had a tough journey, and you deserve nothing but good things in your future. You are an amazing writer, and I hope you have thought about the possibility of writing a book - fiction or non-fiction, I would be one of the first in line to buy it. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season, and I wish you nothing but the best in the new year!

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on December 24, 2010:

This is an amazing story and I appreciate you sharing it with us. I can't imagine the hardships of being homeless, but this definitely gives a good glimpse. We take so much for granted and we really ought to be thankful...thanks for the reminder. All the best for the holiday season and the coming New Year. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

ctavias0ffering1 on December 19, 2010:

I was homeless many years ago and managed to master the art of sleeping in a sitting position. This allowed me to sleep in public places during the daytime, although usually not for long enough at a time to get a decent sleep, but it helped and was much safer than some of the alternatives.Excellent lenses.

Ruth Coffee from Zionsville, Indiana on December 07, 2010:

Wow. You've been through a lot, and perservered. You're right about keeping your earnings, every penny of it. Your gift is to share such experiences, to educate, increase awareness, and to provide advice for others who find themselves homeless. Your story should make all of us learn the true meaning of living with gratitude and I hope it gets doubters to have more compassion.

zastar on November 23, 2010:

very inspiring lens

Cath1125 on November 18, 2010:

Really heartwrenching lense. You deserve good things to happen for you.

JoleneBelmain on October 29, 2010:

In today's rough economic times this terror is happening again. I think many people turn away because it is too close to their own doorstep for them to deal with.

lisychristom on October 29, 2010:

I Love You. I am still crying reading your lenses. I will pray for you. I have no more words to say.

Allison Whitehead on October 19, 2010:

Every now and then I come across a truly amazing lens. This is one of them. I'm humbled by the bravery and courage you've shown in sharing your experience. I'm sure it will be for the good.

lasertek lm on October 18, 2010:

This is really inspiring. I commend you for your courage and your passion for writing.

randomethoughts on October 14, 2010:

it happens; writing sparks the time when u felt like giving up and u turn to writing to express ur self; find identity.

Consensuslife on October 12, 2010:

I am deeply touched by your lens. Thanks for sharing, and the courage you have shown in dealing with the nightmare of homelessness. If you should need some type of temporary financial assistance you can apply @ They will help you out as long as you can be ID'd with a bank account, etc. You can get a bank account from Ally bank (online) if you don't have one-it's free to set up. My prayers go with you...that things will get better...and soon. Take care.

howtocurecancer on October 03, 2010:

I'll read all of your new lenses from now on. You are very brave and keep fighting with your life and illness. Good luck and keep it this way.

MSE on October 03, 2010:

I read your comment about your problem with your disability payments. Have you contacted a good disability lawyer? If they are successful, you may receive a backpayment. A good disability lawyer may be more successful in filing another appeal and many will work for a percentage of backpayment that you are owed by the government. No backpayment, then no payment to the lawyer.I don't know if I have made myself clear. But in any case, I think you should talk to a disability lawyer who offers a free consultation to see what they can offer to you. They are out there. If you are already consulting with one, try asking another disability lawyer for a second opinion.

myraggededge on September 17, 2010:

You are an amazing human being, Kylyssa. You have experienced things I hope never to experience and yet, without them, you would be a different person. I love your writing - it is deeply emotional and profound. At some moment or moments, you must have been touched by spirit/God/All-that-is... whatever you want to call it. Don't stop writing. Ever.

ZaneLane on September 08, 2010:

I empathize deeply with your situation.

theamazingwaysofays on May 21, 2010:

This lens is really touching. Society must understand we are all human beings and it is our duty to help each other. Sorry to get off topic but if someone who is not a Squidoo member sees this lens will money still go to you. I'd really like to know because either way I have a lot of people I know who should see this

Airinka on April 10, 2010:

Very impressive!

libertysteward on February 16, 2010:

Dear lady: I understand a lot of what you are going through. Something that has worked for me is a company called or which you can access on the web. They analyze your hormonal balance and compare your results to a well researched 30 year database. They have a network of subscribing doctors that they work with. I live in NM so I went to an Albuquerque alternative doctor referred to me by a friend who is a diabetic and very fearful of traditional allopathic hacks as I am. He accepted Medicare only (I'm fortunate to have at least that), but even if I had to pay him $250 bucks for the visit it would have been worth every penny. Some doctors will see you pro bono if you ask and the neat thing is that the company I mentioned above has their own financial assistance program for low income people. They approved me so I did not have to pay the cost of supplements. I had numerous blood tests at a local lab and was tested for everything including Vitamin D...and a complete hormonal workup with I discovered that two of my hormones out of four were almost nill so now I am taking the supplements to balance them out and the result is very positive. I can sleep much better and a lot of other things are starting to fall into place...I can feel the changes slowly taking place. The supplements are nutritional and herbal and not medication to cover up symptoms. I really believe you should try this and you may be able to identify the metabolic reasons for your fevers. You may also want to be tested for parasites and insidious infections of specific organs...these tests should reveal markers that will lead your doctor in the right direction. If you know why your body isn't in balance it can reveal what is not happening correctly as a result and make that explainable. Try the least intrusive tests first as things like biopsies can actually lead to worsening conditions. I say screw the hospitals and regular doctors - go to someone who has a fundamental understanding of the wholeness and integrity of the body when it is properly fed and cared for with correct nutrition and whole foods. I hope you will give this a try as I believe it will help you move in the right direction. The doctors who use this system can also qualify you for disability as they are also practicing MD's. It took me ten years of homelessness and physical difficulty before I was able to secure my benefits. Don't let these bums frustrate you out of what you rightfully deserve and in fact PAID FOR. If you did get benefits only to end up in the hands of the hack doctors you will probably get nowhere. Have faith in the fact that you are deserving and keep going back. They routinely turn down the average claim 3 to 6 times before they ever settle a claim...they are really a bunch of crooks who exist on a paycheck backed by worthless paper money based on spiraling debt for wars and scams you and I never created. We all own an equal share of NOTHING in reality when you subject the whole mess to a litmus of real truth. You deserve to be treated fairly and honestly...fight them with every ounce of your energy and faith - you will prevail.

WhiteOak50 on January 11, 2010:

When I come across lenses like this one, my very first thought is it belongs in the circle of healing. I say that because it is through our stories, and our words we are able to relate things to others who are searching for some way to heal themselves. I have sat with a very close friend and cried with her when she shared her stories of the days she was homeless. She has sat with me and cried when I shared my horror days with her. You see, I would never want to change the horror I have seen in my life either because I know it took going through every experience to bring me to who I am today. Each day is struggle, and each day I am thankful to be able to make some small difference-just as you are making a difference by writing and sharing the way you are. "Blessed by a SquidAngel"

VarietyWriter2 on December 06, 2009:

Very touching. I don't think people realize how fast one can become homeless. Rich one day, poor the next. Thank you for bringing attention to such an important cause.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on November 21, 2009:

@Stillwaters: Thanks for the comment and suggestion. I've researched local help extensively. Local medical assistance programs cover only pregnancy, birth control and STD testing and treatment. Clinics here are zip code specific or "family health", homeless, or Hispanic only. I'm working with a low cost clinic using a friend's zip code but progress is just as slow as when I had BCBS insurance if not slower, in part because clinics can refer a person to a specialist but there's no way to get it paid for. Still running in circles because there's no diagnosis for my fever disorder. Too bad Dr. House isn't a real person.

Stillwaters on November 20, 2009:

You mentioned you can't get medical assistance because you are not pregnant and don't have a child in the home. Here in Nevada, you would not qualify under the state welfare system for the same reason. HOWEVER, the county also has medicaid programs to assist adults who do not qualify for the state programs. You may want to check around with county and city agencies to see if any of them have medical assistance for you.

luvmyludwig lm on October 23, 2009:

This is a very touching lens, your writing in general is. You are a beautiful person.

jjj1 on September 26, 2009:

Your lenses have moved me and I've just donated to your tips jar - not much but I hope sincerely it helps keep you afloat. Good luck to you!!!!One thing - don't ever allow yourself to allow other people's false perceptions of you become your own perceptions of you; a different life story and different problems, but I've learnt the hard way that YOU have to recognise the good person that YOU are no matter what other people think or say. Don't internalise their cruel opinions. Their cruelty is a reflection of THEM not of YOU. Good luck to you.

norma-holt on July 25, 2009:

You should be writing books and publishing them, even as e-books on the Internet, to make some money. You story is eye opening and honest to the point of disgusting us all who are comfortable in our own skins and ignorant of how others live.God bless you 5 stars

Lotusland on July 25, 2009:

Interesting explanation, thanks for explaining why you don't donate to homelessness causes.

anonymous on June 22, 2009:


Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 15, 2009:

[in reply to JanTUB] You assume that I'm sane? I still suffer from PTSD which usually manifests as panic attacks.

Jan T Urquhart Baillie from Australia on June 15, 2009:

I was homeless for a very short while and found ways to get indoors at night: the Salvos, deep doorways, etcetera. It was just a few weeks, not more than a year like you. How are you still sane? I hope the pain dims after a while.

OliverW on June 06, 2009:

Your writing is honest, direct and engaging. You put a human face on a condition that many in our society view as a faceless, impersonal statistic. I applaud your courage to share your story and provide a glimpse into a world that may seem foreign to the majority who read it. I wish you the very best!

Dianne Loomos on June 05, 2009:

Thank you for baring your heart and soul to help us understand. I'm sure many of us have no idea of what you and other homeless people have gone through. Blessings to you and may things begin to look up for you.

nonprofitrealityshowDetroit on June 03, 2009:

This is the harsh reality for many people today, please remember with the changing economy the face of the homeless have also changed. Many people are closer than ever to not having somewhere to lay their head tonight. Thank you for sharing this lens with the world.

Achim Thiemermann from Austin, Texas on May 27, 2009:

Thank you for your powerful sharing. Blessed by a Squid Angel today. :-)

grammargoddess on May 26, 2009:

Touching, powerful, well-written. Thank you for sharing.

Mihaela Vrban from Croatia on May 15, 2009:

Thank you for a peek into your life and your thoughts. Blessed by an Angel!

Spook LM on May 15, 2009:

Soul searching, heartrending and beautifully written. I had a look at the postscript before commenting and can only say I have been up against the same thing myself, albeit for different reasons and nowhere near as just as yours. Fighters always win. All the best, normally I don't tell people what I do with a lens I like but in this case you are getting the full treatment from me.

Simeyc1 on May 13, 2009:

such a tough Lens to write I'm sure. When I was 19 I nearly became homeless due to my own stupidity in not being honest to my father - luckily for me I didn't - but for that one day before when I thought I would be homeless I was very scared. I can't imagine the feelings you must have gone through!Thanks for sharing 5*

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on May 10, 2009:

You have a lot of talent and I thank you for sharing it.

dannystaple on May 05, 2009:

Very dark, but amazingly written. You write very touching and thoughtful pieces on this subject - a window into a world that many of us only really see from the panhandlers or news reports, but never the rest. Thank you for commenting on my lens - and thank you for writing this. I am drawn to read more of your lenses.

TopStyleTravel on May 05, 2009:

Touching lens on the subject of homelessness. Perhaps those that view the homeless unfavorably may see that circumstances does not make any human less valuable. And be reminded that we should share what we have with those less fortunate. I wish you all the best. One Squidoo lens for giving to charity without cash:

Janusz LM on May 03, 2009:

Thanks for sharing, blessed by a Squid Angel :)

EpicFarms on May 02, 2009:

A heart wrenching lens; thank you for sharing your words (I cannot begin to imagine how it must have been...) 5* and a prayer for

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on April 30, 2009:

Straight from the heart - straight to the guts. Top work!

Vladimir from Australia on April 30, 2009:

This is very sad. Sad that such things can be - in a so-called civilised society. Even cats are treated better

Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on April 28, 2009:

Heartrending... I'm so sorry you had to suffer that much. 5* and an angel blessing.

ShadesofGay on April 28, 2009:

Thank you for sharing your experience. I lived right near a large homeless population when I lived in Venice Beach, and the way they were treated was atrocious.

GrowWear on April 28, 2009:

After reading your story, I feel sorrow. I feel impotent rage at the mysteries of a life that has to include suffering. Thank you so much for sharing.

Nochipra on April 27, 2009:

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. I'm just sorry you had to go through all that:(

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 27, 2009:

Thank you all for your kind words and blessings.

JanieceTobey on April 27, 2009:

Thank you for sharing your story with us. 5's

Karicor on April 27, 2009:

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, it must be tough. I cannot even begin to imagine what it's like to be homeless. SquidAngel blessings!

Dianne Loomos on April 27, 2009:

My son sometimes works with a homeless charity that sets up in a parking lot downtown. They have a buffet meal, hand out shoes, clothing, blankets, backpacks and then have a talk about Jesus. I'm sorry for your awful experience being homeless. I hope things are better for you now.

Bambi Watson on April 27, 2009:

Wonderful lens 5*

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on April 25, 2009:

Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is beautifully done. I met a man without a home on the Appalachian Trail and got to know him a bit, which definitely had an impact on me. I added your lens to my "A Man Called Screamer", which is a lens about that young man on the trail. In a way, that trail became his home for a while and other hikers a little like a family.

anonymous on April 25, 2009:

Which is why I always tell my kids :NEVER to take life for granted. NEVER to take one another for granted.

likeapenguin on April 24, 2009:

Thank you for the blessing of this lens. Your writing is soulful and beautiful.

shevans lm on April 24, 2009:

Thank you for sharing your soul in this lens. It saddens me so that people can be so cruel and indifferent to others. I send you thoughts of peace, love, and kindness.

kristensup on April 24, 2009:

What an amazing, heart-felt lens. Truly awe-inspiring. 5*I love your writing. It's evident that you've seen things in this world that many people never have the misfortune to see, and it's really quite beautiful that you have turned it into a positive thing - something that others can learn from and be inspired by.

Kay on April 24, 2009:

Gentle (((Hugs))) I've worked and been among the homeless in lesser developed countries. There is far more pain there than most people will even know.

Related Articles