The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hidden Gems

What are the first things you think about when someone says homelessness? I used to think about solitude, unfortunate circumstances, and starvation. This past Monday I was reminded that there is more to homelessness than meets the eyes. I work at the Downtown Women’s Center and with that being said I feel as though my take on homelessness has drastically changed. I have began to view homelessness through the lens of the women that I meet weekly. Each week I go to the center with an open mind to learn something new from the women. It was this Monday that I realized that we all too often forget to look past these individuals’ circumstances and learn about who they are as people and where they came from.
These women have made a substantial impact on my life. They remind of how precious life is and also how things can change in an instant. In conversation, a woman name Rose told me that she was the black sheep of her family. Her father worked in the White House with President Regan and all of her siblings were well off. She described to me events that she used to attend and unfortunately that all changed because of decisions that she made that landed her on the street. She also told me that many of her good friends are still extremely influential in the Los Angeles area. I was left baffled because I began to think how could a person come from so much and be left with so little. I grappled with this but I remembered what she said to me. I remembered she identified that it was her decisions that led her to this point. It seems that Rose has fallen so far from where she used to be and with that you would think that she would be unhappy, however, she isn’t. She is one of the most thoughtful and happy woman I have ever met. Little things that my roommate and I tell her she remembers and makes a point to ask about them the next week we see her. It is with this thoughtfulness and happiness that I think that people miss out on many great things that these individuals have to offer.
Another woman that sparked my interest is named Sophia. It turns out that before she was homeless she had written two novels, a book of poetry, and also a book on Islam. Sophia is extremely interesting because she is an older woman of small stature who is a bit rough around the edges to say the least. She is a bit anti social and at times rude. The Center has a newsletter that they put out monthly and in it Sophia had written seven pieces. Her writing was incredible and I never would have realized how accomplished that she was if it was not for this newsletter. When I read her name in the paper I began to ask her about the writing to see if this would possibly spark a connection. Unfortunately, it did not.
Both of these women are prime examples of the gems hidden throughout this group of individuals that are thought to have nothing to offer. Until people get past this idea, they will continue to miss out on all things that these individuals have to offer.
By: Alyssa Silva


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