Please help me welcome Stephanie Musarra to #BeReal as she shares with us her experience with homelessness. It is easy to make assumptions about someone who is homeless because let’s face it… many of us have never been there. We tend to believe this is a problem we will never be faced with. But I am learning it can happen to anyone.
In this case a woman had the option of staying with an abusive partner or fleeing. And as common sense as it seems to leave an abusive situation many don’t because at least they have a place to stay.
Here is Stephanie’s Story.
My Time In Hell
You don’t know where you’re going to sleep, or how you’re going to wash yourself. You don’t know where, or when you’re going to get your next meal. You are exhausted. Life is a waking nightmare. There is no scarier feeling than facing the night on the street.
I knew it was time to leave my boyfriend. We had been living together for seven years. He started to snap after he discovered that his father’s emphysema had gotten worse. He would take all my money, and ration my food. Some nights he would lock me out, and force me to sleep in the parking lot.
I left early one morning after a rather violent argument. I hid at the bus stop until it was time to leave. I ended up at the emergency room. I called the emergency hotline, and ended up at the battered women’s shelter.
The single women stayed in a dorm-like room in the attic. We were each assigned a bed.
It was a rough place to be. There was only one bathroom for about twenty women. If the bathroom was occupied, you had to walk down three flights of stairs to the basement. A majority of the women at this shelter refused to go down the basement at night, because it scared the hell out of them. We were not allowed to discuss the basement. I seriously think that place is haunted.
You have to provide your own food at the battered women’s shelter, or find a church that serves meals. There was a lady at the shelter that did not like me for some reason. She got me so upset, that I tried to fight her. She’d gotten me written up several times, and I was asked to leave.
I was scared out of my mind. I had nowhere to go. I walked for several miles until I found a motel. I was forced to drain my savings, so I could keep a roof over my head. I knew I only had enough money for a few weeks.
I ate at churches during the week. Most weekends I didn’t eat, because I couldn’t afford it. I forced myself to go to sleep when I became extremely hungry. I walked around, and wrote stories to pass the time.
I ran out of money on Christmas Eve. I had to vacate the room if I couldn’t pay, so I threw all my belongings in the dumpster. I had given up all hope at this point. I tried to jump off a bridge. A passerby had seen me, and called 911. The paramedics caught up with me, and took me to the hospital.
I’m sharing my story to clear up the common misconception that all homeless people are junkies, conmen, and lost mental patients. The next time you see a homeless person, don’t judge them. Think about what that person is going through.
My name is Stephanie Musarra. I am a college student majoring in web design. I like to write short stories, and poetry in my spare time.