Activism · Addiction · Homelessness · Homelessness · Lifestyle

Don’t worry, if you read this, you wont catch ‘Poor’.

Tent City in Victoria BC. Photo by CBC News Victoria. Tent City is no more, but most are still homeless.

Some of you may have experienced homelessness in your life but probably most of you have not. I have found that people who haven’t experienced losing everything or going without the basic life necessities, are much less sympathetic or empathetic to the situation. I’m not generalizing ALL people, but it is the majority. I don’t blame you for it, either. But, I feel like it’s time that people educate themselves about the homeless and low income population – because right now we are in a crisis and people are closer than ever to losing it all.

It’s unbelievable how many people that I know who were solid and made good money who are now just one pay check away from being homeless. This is a big problem. The cost of living goes up every year, but the wages are not going up enough to compete with it. Rents are sky high and single people are no longer able to rent an apartment on their own – nevermind owning. The small percent of people who are “rich” and can afford any cost are very few and far between.

A Person sleeps with their belongings in Victoria BC – photo by Peninsula News Review. This is a common sight in downtown Victoria.

There is a stigma amongst the homeless and low income population, that they are lazy, alcoholics or drug addicts, they should ‘just get a job’. While this is true for some, it is not all. Many have mental health issues and other disabilities preventing them from working. Many have debilitating depression and anxiety. Many have chronic pain from traumas of the past. But one thing that every single one has in common is that they have been made to feel worthless. Less than human. Did you know that if you don’t have a home address, you are not allowed to get government issued photo ID? This hinders any progress they could make because you need ID to do just about anything.

I can vouch for this treatment, as I have experienced it first hand. People have grabbed there kids and told them to ‘walk faster’. Some people will move their bodies in such a way that they make it really obvious they are trying not to touch you. Some people will literally cross the street to get away from you. Instead of asking people for money we collect cans. Sometimes people laugh at us. Sometimes people say “gross” or make other disrespectful comments. Without even trying to collect them – just picking them up along the route I’m walking everyday – we will make between $50 and $80 per week. That is taking NO time out of my day to do it because we are already walking somewhere to begin with. To me that is a lot of money and totally worth picking up some cans and have some rude people make some comments here and there. This even still happens now sometimes and I just say “You can’t catch poor!”

Our Place Society – Victoria BC – Photo by OakBayNews. Our Place is a place where homeless, and low-income all over the city can come get together with others get resource help and eat for free – ALL DAY! There are also low income apartments above it, which is great, but hard to get in to.

Last week – October 13 – 19th 2019 – was Homelessness Action Week. That is what has made me write about this. It’s taken me about a week to figure out what I wanted to say in this post because I’m hoping that people who are reading this are people who maybe could learn from it.

If you have ever been one of those people who have made rude comments or disrespected a homeless or low-income person – it’s okay. You can always change that thought. Not all homeless people are stupid. Not all homeless people are homeless because of their own actions. Not all homeless people are on drugs or alcoholics – although a lot are and that is not because they just want to do drugs, but because they are trying to forget something awful in their life. We have all had traumas in our lives. We’ve all hit rock bottom. We have all thought about suicide. And think about it next time someone wants to be rude or disrespectful to a homeless or low-income person. They could be so close to the edge that it just takes that ONE comment to have them jump off. Instead send a smile their way or say hello! Believe me, it makes all the difference in the world to have SOMEONE be nice to you. Even if it’s just a smile.

Cool Aid society in Victoria has many low – income supported housing buildings and they also have resources for just about anything you need. Including Doctor’s office, Pharmacy and Dental clinic.

We are all human and we all deserve to be treated respectfully – regardless of our situations. See what kind of programs and resources your city has for these people. Some cities don’t have anything. Maybe you can be someone who can help!

Thank you for reading. It means a lot to me.

Be Brave. Be Kind. Be True. Be you. and Stay Safe.

Carly Leigh

Addiction · Beading · Recovery

What Is The Meaning Of This ‘Beads to Recovery’ Nonsense?

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Some of you may be wondering “Why ‘Beads TO Recovery’?” or “What Does That Even Mean Anyway?” So I figured I would get this out of the way as soon as possible. Maybe it will make a future FAQ list? Now I’m getting ahead of myself. Back it up.

So, I decided to call my store and my jewelry that I’m making “Beads to Recovery” for a few reasons. The main reason is the most obvious, at least I think so anyway. When I was in the hospital with Endocarditis earlier this year, I was told I had a life or death decision to make. Either work on getting clean and sober, or die. So from that point on I have been in recovery from being addicted to drugs – mainly heroin.

While talking with doctors, counselors, social workers, friends and family about my recovery I was given a piece of advice that has changed my life for the better. I was told that I needed to get a hobby or something to replace the void that was left in my life without drugs. I didn’t quite see the importance of this advice until later. But, when I finally got out of the hospital I was trying to think of what I could do to pass the time. Something that I enjoyed or could be proud of doing. Something somewhat productive, but I had fun doing. Well, that turned out to be fooling around with beads and a loom. I never really had a desire to work with beads before, but for some reason it just jumped out at me right at this point in my life. So by me beading and working on my website, which I also enjoy doing, it is helping me in my recovery.

So that is why I called it ‘Beads to Recovery’. It’s ‘TO Recovery’ because I’m still in the process and the beads are basically saving my life. I was ashamed and embarrassed about my addiction and I kept it very well hidden for many years from the people closest to me. But when I was in the hospital – the truth came out and the flood of support that I got was so unbelievably great and completely unexpected to me. I guess that the support I received from my family, friends and even strangers made it easier for me to be honest about it here and to talk about my problems without holding back.

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I’ve still got a long battle ahead, and I may fall down. I may fall down repeatedly. But I’m not going to be hard on myself over it, because it’s hard enough already! As long as I don’t stop trying – I know that I will make a full recovery one day. You know when people tell you to take things one day at a time? Well this is definitely one of those situations. My life is forever ‘TODAY’. Yesterday is gone and I can’t worry about tomorrow. All I can do is live right now. And if ‘Today’ goes right? When tomorrow comes, do the same thing all over again. With my new found love of beads and my support circle – I know that I will one day be a recovered addict.

Thank you so very much for taking time out of your life to visit my little corner and read about little ol’ me. I really do appreciate it more than you can imagine. If you felt anything while reading this or you just want to help support my endeavor, please take a minute to share this post by clicking the social media links below. If you haven’t already followed my blog – please do so below this post! And if you have any available time after that while your checking out your social media sites – why not check out mine and maybe give me a follow or share. I will have the rest of the supplies I need to finish up my first items for the shop in a couple of weeks so hopefully it wont be too much longer till I get it opened up.

Jetpack

If you’d like to be notified when new items are posted, or a new blog is posted – please sign up for my mailing list below this post.

Have a lovely rest of your week. It’s almost Friday the 13th! BOO! Watch lots of scary movies for me.

Be yourself. Love who you are & Don’t apologize for it.

Carly Leigh


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