The Suburban Princess
She’s never seen a man digging through her trash before.
She’s never sheepishly said “hi” to him as she placed her bag ontop of the pile before.
She pedals a little faster,
when she rides past those who live under the bridge.
She never goes under that bridge after 5 p.m.
She turns her head away,
when they stand by the crosswalk.
She lowers her gaze,
as she passes them on the street.
She pulls out her phone–
when one asks for money, or food, or a job, or help.
Meanwhile, she’s safe in her locked, air conditioned car.
She wonders if they notice her discomfort.
She wonders if they resent her for dehumanizing their fate.
She wonders if they understand why she won’t look them in the eye.
She wonders if they care at all what a Suburban Princess thinks.
She wonders if they know that people make jokes about them when they’re not around.
If a friend has overly baggy and mismatched clothes, an unwashed face, and messy hair–they could be mocked and called one of “them.”
People are afraid of them.
They bar their doors and their hearts.
They refuse certain neighborhoods because of their presence.
They find little sympathy and think “they” should just figure it out on their own.
What does she think?
She wishes she could’ve fed that man at her dumpster.
She wishes she could invite them in.
Give them some food and have a conversation at the table.
She wishes she could point them to a safehouse–
one that isn’t unpleasant or full or underfunded.
She wishes she could wave her hands like a genie
and solve all their problems.
Their poverty, their unhappiness, their mental illness, their hunger.
She wishes this world hadn’t failed them.
That they could’ve had loving, healthy homes–
with all the opportunity and resources they deserve.
She wishes someone had stuck up for them, believed in them.
She wishes she wasn’t taught to look away from homelessness.
*All across America we see individuals and families struggling with homelessness. Homelessness can occur through a myriad of circumstances–dislodged from support systems or family, poverty, mental illness, addiction, etc. It’s easy to mark an individual as “homeless,” but we ought to mark them as “human”–and humans need to support our fellow humans. Though it may be difficult to do sometimes, the best way to fight homelessness is to support local nonprofits or agencies through donations, awareness, and volunteering. It’s not giving money to pan-handlers on the street. These organizations have the capacity and knowledge to best help the homeless poplation–and so getting involved with them means giving help to those in need. If you’re interested in learning more about how to fight homelessness in the U.S. follow the links below.