This post is by our guest blogger and A Little Peace of Mind graduate, Amie Joof.
Here Amie shares her story of change – you can find all the posts in this series here: http://alittlepeaceofmind.co.uk/amie
There is a homeless man who sleeps in the high road of my local area. A very nice man, we always say hello when I’m off to work or he’s walking by with some things he’s usually found for the tent he sleeps in. Something told me to stop and speak to him properly today, so I did.
My thoughts about him were always “I feel so sorry for him, I wish there was more I could do, he must be awfully depressed living this way.” So usually, when I see him, I feel a little sad inside and even ashamed for walking past in clean clothes and a coat when he doesn’t have such.
I decided to get into a conversation with him, I asked him if he knew of the local homeless support charities we have in the area and I told him I’d look up the address for him on my phone and I’d be happy to call them for him and see if they’d help. I told him if he took the right steps perhaps the council could help him and maybe together we could figure something out. Not once did he interrupt me, he just listened and smiled.
Once I’d finished trying to list all of the solutions I could think of, he said to me “I have never been happier than I am now, and I truly mean that. I have my tent, I know a few people that I speak to daily, I have no worries about finances, I make it work, I have no worries about bills, I couldn’t think of anything worse than a home. All of that stress, the responsibility, in fact the council once helped me get a place and I gave it back, it made me miserable, I just wanted to be back in my tent, staying wherever I want to, stress free. I don’t have anything, but that’s when I’m at my happiest.”
I couldn’t believe it, I thought to myself, surely that can’t be true? That’s impossible, that doesn’t even make sense. Then I stopped myself before I opened my mouth and I thought, ah, of course, different thoughts. Different reality. I smiled at this man and without a drop of judgement like I’m sure he was expecting I told him, whatever makes you truly happy. From this day onwards, when I see him, I won’t feel sad, I’ll feel proud of an individual who has seen the “normal” ways of life and decided that, for him, he would stick to his own kind of normal. When I see him now, I see freedom. A man who is truly free.