It's just after 10 pm and I've been waiting for a shelter bed for four hours. I had to again change my sex in the computer system, now the third time. While filling out the paper work they called me "she" and then asked if I wanted a women's shelter when I asked them to send me somewhere safe for transpeople.
It's hard to know if staying in the shelter or on the streets is safer. Last night the was almost a knife fight when a regular was upset when someone new was in his turf. Though I wasn't in real physical danger, it's east to see how the end of the month has created a higher need for support and a squeeze for shelter and sidewalk space.
Today the uncomfortableness caught up with me. I found my childhood trauma was triggered and I was remembering and connected to the feelings of the time I was homeless when I was five. Though all the details are fuzzy, I can feel vividly those feelings I felt so long ago, when my mother, brother and I fled the abuse of my father.
I'm not sure what the resolution will be to these feelings. For now I just sit with it and feel what I have felt be for- though in a situation of much less control and much less awareness of what was happening around me. Today I saw children on the streets for the first time on this trip. There were two watching as there older brother was shooting up. Hopefully they are safe tonight. They came in about an hour ago to use the bathroom. Knowing where I have come and how I am able to serve others out of some of the healthy baggage I gained in my childhood, I can only pray that they will survive the swirling chaos that surrounds them.
I'm also aware that the 83 year old women was back waiting for shelter. After four hours she stopped waiting. I hope she found a safe place to go to wait out the night.
In many ways, the binding and packing makes me no different from any other of the more than 3000 that are sleeping in San francisco shelters and the countless thousands of others who are out in the streets. I trust that the God(dess) that knows the number of hairs on our heads and thinks of us more times then there as grains of sand is moving us along the arch of justice to a time when pain and suffering will cease. Until then we are left to do what we can to lighten the load. I hope that people like you will support the Welcome Ministry, so I can spend more time demanding justice, helping the hungry feed their bellies, and take a step closer to homes, community and a health sense of self- rather than fundraising. I feel convicted by the things that I have seen, and called to be a part of the re-humanizing of this city.
It's now 10:32, and I still have no shelter. They just handed out chips, I think it is my parting gift. Guess I better think about where I'm going to sleep after they kick me out of here in twenty minutes. Back to the streets...