Category Archives: I Am The Change

Random Acts of Kindness – Reaching Out to the Homeless

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. Thank you for spending your moments here with me.

The homeless. A big subject. And I feel there is a definite stigma to this whole thing. Similar to the stigma that follows Mental Illness. The stigma usually lives within the ignorant. The ones who sit and judge things that they haven’t taken the time to get beyond the lack of knowledge about. Without knowledge comes lack of empathy. Without empathy follows judgement. I don’t know a single person who chooses, or enjoys being mentally ill. It is a daily struggle, feeling alone, no answers to match the thousands of daily doubts and fears that come with.

Being homeless is no different. Who would want to live homeless? Sleeping on street corners and park benches. Being looked down upon, and being so hungry you hold up a cardboard sign on a street corner. I have heard statements such as:

They should work like the rest of us.

I won’t give them money, they will just use it on drugs.

They are just lazy.

People walk by, judging, elevating themselves as “better”. Better than what? Most of us are a paycheck or two or three away from being homeless ourselves. Add mental illness to the equation and you have many unmedicated, unsupported, poor, hungry, people literally living on the street. On the STREET. No where to shower, use a restroom, just rest their bodies. Rest their souls.

Nobody should live like that.

Now, none of us can save the world.. Fix the homeless catastrophe. Many believe if they can’t do something big, worthy, notable, well then……they just do nothing. I have always believed it takes many to do a little, as opposed to a few doing it all.

My mantra: Do what you can. With what you have. Where you are. So I have adopted this ideology into my daily life. No matter what town I’m in, what I’m doing, not being dependent on how much extra money I may or may not have. I can always do SOMETHING.

So here’s what I have started to do. My little contribution. May not make a difference to the masses But I know it has made a difference to the few. I collect things on sale and save it in a box. I get quart sized ziplock bags and fill them with some randomness, a few necessities, and a love note. Letting them know that someone cares. With a positive quote or whatever strikes me at the time.

Here’s an example of things I put in my bags I hand out to strangers. And I have to admit, some have become friends. I have learned more from the homeless people I have hung out with than I could ever impart. It has been a life habit I am thankful I have adopted. It’s just my little contribution.

I have bought a loaf of bread, sandwich meat and cheese, turned it into sandwiches, fruit and small bags of chips and hung out at a homeless park. The pureness of heart and the absolute gratitude by sharing simple sandwiches is overwhelming. To hear the stories, of how they got to where they are, their hopes and dreams are not too different than mine. To be accepted, loved, and to feel safe. And I have never done this where I wasn’t offered to share what little they had. One time I got a rock. A rock! But it was a “lucky rock” that a man had carried in his pocket for over a year. I still have it. Precious to me.

I lived up in Ukiah California, which is about an hour and a half north of San Francisco in a hotel. As I walked to my car, I noticed a man with a bike, rummaging through the trash. Heartbreaking. I went to a restaurant across the road and bought two breakfasts to go and two coffees. I went back to the parking lot, and he was still at it. I walked over to him and said hello. He immediately looked at me, with shame, and guilt hidden behind his eyes. I introduced myself and shook his hand. I asked him what he was looking for. He just said two words. “I’m hungry”. I invited him to come sit on this small wall with me that was in this parking lot. I offered him breakfast and we sat there for over an hour. We ate, we shared stories, we laughed, we cried as well.

I’m nothing special. I struggle just like we all do. I have a busy job, and I’m alone most of the time. But I do what I can. With what I have. Where I am. And I’m telling you, it makes a difference. He probably gave me more than I gave to him that day.
His name was Elias. And he is my friend.

I am hoping that if your eyes have reached this far, that you can collect a pearl to take away with you. Perhaps something to think about.

Until next time……..be kind……always,

Polley93

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Suicide – Chester Bennington – And Linkin Park

Greetings and thank you for stopping by.

This is a tough one for me to write, and for many reasons. Suicide. One of those subjects that is not easy to face, accept, talk about, or understand. But it is. And it’s everywhere. It’s final. And leaves those of us left behind filled with questions, pain and a hole never to be filled. No closure. None.

Suicide is everywhere at epidemic proportions. It does not discriminate. The recent overwhelming press in Hollywood has been horrible, for sure. But it does bring something that is all too often silent, or taboo to talk about, on the forefront of conversation. Sometimes blessings come out of dark times. With Robin Williams, Anthony Bordein, Kate Spade, Chris Cornell, and my beloved Chester all being gone, suicide is in our faces  They all chose the method of hanging, which to me is very disturbing. Each of them was in the best part of their lives according to those around them. To anyone onlookers, each of them appeared to have a perfect life. But each had demons hidden within that overtook everything. Mental Illness in varying forms. They seemingly just got tired. Tired of the fight. Tired of the struggle. My heart physically hurts thinking about all of this. Thinking that there are tens and hundreds and thousands and millions of souls out there that struggle. That don’t have that Hollywood life and financial security. That feel they don’t have that voice. It’s overwhelming. But the change has to start somewhere. There just has to be a way. I won’t take no for an answer. I believe in the kindness of people. And I believe we can make a change. Make a dent in the madness.

Chester Bennington. The goofy looking frontman of the band Linkin Park with far too many tattoos and one of the. most recognizable voices in music history. You read any interview, comment or publication about him and it was always positive. He did much philanthropic work, as did the band, and was described as the “nicest guy” ever met. He loved his fans, fittingly called the Linkin Park family, made time for them, reached out to them. He was married, had six children and was adored by his family. He was open and honest, ALL the time, Especially with the tough subjects. He drew no lines. He talked about it all. You can research any of the thousands and thousands of public interviews he did, and he spoke of his struggle with Mental Illness with candor, honesty and grit. He wrote about it, sang about it, talked about it.

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Linkin Park. Broke records and had an International following that few bands have ever reached. I think I was such a fan because of the subject matter they continually wrote about and sang about. If you listen, a large majority of the band’s music is all about the struggle of Mental Illness. They somehow put words to what millions and millions felt every minute of every day. That, in itself, is remarkable. I believe this is the only band in my music junkie’s life, that I owned everything they put out. They gathered a worldwide following of misunderstood souls. Because, by listening to the lyrics of the majority of their music, they were connected. Someone understood. Someone “got it”.  Profound.

Chester suffered with diagnosed and severe depressive disorder and anxiety. He openly admitted his music and the brotherhood with his band was his therapy at times and a rock solid support system.Over the years he sought professional therapy and was medicated. He struggled off and on, mostly off, with alcohol, which is very common as it dulls the pain. At the time of his death, his life was at an all time high. He was appropriately medicated and in control. The band had just released a new album and was one week away from starting an international tour. His interviews were positive.  Disturbing  is that two days before he ended his life, he was on vacation with his family. He returned early to do an interview, and took his life when the family was away.

This is what Depression looks like. Then 48 hours later? He was gone.

img_1730What is the answer? I’m not sure the actual act of suicide can be actually prevented. AT that deciding moment. After the journey has gotten that far. The actual physical act. I think it comes way before that. It sounds too simple, I’m sure, but it comes with having a voice. To using your voice. To quit being silent. To know the signs. To educate ourselves. To cross the line of being politically correct and bring it up! Ask! Support! Be Present! Get active with an organization! As bloggers, invite someone to guest on your blog. Provide a platform, give someone a bigger voice. Share their story. Learn.

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Don’t be part of the problem, by scrolling past, by keeping quiet, by conveniently ignoring so you can pretend everything is ok. Remember, that love is a verb. It’s an action. Reach out. Send that text message. Write that letter. Ask that question. Keep inviting. Be present. BE THE CHANGE.

Chester Bennington. We never stood on the same carpet. But July 20, 2017 changed my life. I heard. I froze. I was one of those who took for granted he would keep making music and be around until hall of fame days. I could press play and hear his one of a kind voice and sing along to every word. And now he was gone. Forever. Just gone. I’m not sure I will ever truly get over this. As it makes no sense to my brain. He was just so…..Chester. Never to be replaced. I watched one of the last concerts he ever performed, it was in Germany, just a few weeks before he was gone, every night on my ipad for six months. No joke. I cannot even explain now why I did that. If you ask me, I couldn’t honestly answer.

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I’m not sure that I have done this whole post justice as I sit here with warm tears dripping down my cheeks. But I can tell you this. Because of this, and many like him, I have become a better person. I have stopped being silent. I have found my voice. And I am committed. I am the change. And you should be too.

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This is a journey. For all of us. Suicide is at an all time high. For all age groups, genders, races. One in four. One in FOUR. We all know four people. It is with my sincerest of heart that anyone that is reading this, will keep that number tattoo’d on your brain. FOUR. One in FOUR. We all know more than four people. BE THE CHANGE.

One of Linkin Park’s final songs both written and performed, kind of sums it up for me:

If they say who cares if one more light goes out?

In a sky of a million stars – it flickers, flickers

Who cares when someone’s time runs out?

If a moment is all we are, we’re quicker….quicker.

Who cares if one more light goes out?

Well……I do.

It is with a heavy heart that I sign off on this one. And from my heart to yours, thank you so much if  your eyes have read this far. I appreciate you.

I really need some comments on this one folks, please share.

FOUR.

Until next time…….be kind……always,

Polley93