Chelsea and Jared are very good friends of mine. We met when we were all homeless in Hollywood. We lived in the same cheap, awful motels. We ate the same scarce food. And we all got out, moved into real homes and started families. And it is hard to express what an incredible success “normal (and still poor)” is unless you’ve made that journey yourself. It is a life that is self-perpetuating, and when you are on the very bottom – on the street without enough money to even renew your ID, not qualifying for any kind of social support. that’s right Republicans – when you’re actually on-the-street homeless? You often DO NOT QUALIFY FOR GOVERNMENT AID. No food stamps, no welfare, nothing. You also cannot “get a job” when you have no address. Especially when you also can’t afford clean, professional clothing. Or soap to wash with. You are on your own, except for each other.
I haven’t been able to really post about the experience of being homeless itself yet. Honestly, it’s because it’s very hard to remember that part. The cops raiding the meth lab in the next room. Listening to violence upstairs. Scrambling to make enough for another night in the motel. Sleeping in the van. It’s actually harder to face up to that than to the crazy cult stuff, because that was pretty much all in my head. The realities of homelessness (and joblessness) are still very frightening and for all my bravado I am not ready to dip deeply into that life enough to share it with the world. I will; I always do eventually. But not today.
Getting out is another challenge that is so much harder than you would think. Not only do you have to get over whatever the reason you became homeless in the first place (if you even can). Then you have to move past all the shitty stuff that hangs on to you – in fact, John Cheese wrote an excellent article over at Cracked just this week about The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor, which also covers several aftereffects of being homeless. Bottom line is that crawling out of the cesspool at the bottom of society is an almost impossible task, and I truly applaud those who have managed it. And Chelsea and Jared did it.
Now they have three beautiful children and a home. But they are still struggling, so today I ask my nerdier readers to take a moment and check out Jared’s eBay store, Forgotten Treasures. It is full of awesome rare action figures, mostly from the Marvel Universe, but also plenty of Star Wars and some other awesome things (like remote keys for old cars!). It’s worth checking out, and it’s also worth it to help people who truly deserve it – people who worked their ass off to make a better life and still struggle every day. Isn’t that the “American Dream?” Take a moment. Click the link. Buy something if you like it. It only takes a minute, and it could make a big difference.