My Own Worst Enemy

People do not become homeless because they did everything perfectly.   And an argument can be made to the effect that it is people’s imperfection that leads them to homelessness.    I don’t say that to imply that people create their own homelessness, there is certainly more going on in the world than “personal choices.”  There are limits to people’s abilities, and sometimes circumstances can push people into situations that are beyond their ability to deal with effectively.

The bible quote, “god never gives us more than we can handle” is so often misused.  Mostly because the word, “handle” in the above quote is subjective to the point of it lacks any true meaning.

We cannot prevent bad things from happening to us, and depending on the context of an event, we may, or may not, be able to prevent that thing from having a negative affect on us.  Even farther down the line,  we may not be able to prevent things from having a negative affect on us, and we may or may not have the ability to stop these things from destroying our lives.

Do we “handle” things well by preventing things from having a negative affect on our lives, or do we “handle” things well by preventing these them from destroying our lives.  Or, do we handle things well, not because we could stop them from destroying our lives, but because we are able to pick our selves up and begin life again, starting from scratch?   How do we handle, “handle”?

I am a screw up.  I excel at screwing up.  Screwing up wasn’t the main cause of my becoming homeless, but I cannot rule it out as being involved in my becoming homeless.

As you can imagine, being homeless creates it’s own obstacles to regaining a “normal” life.  But when you consider a person’s own ability to create there own obstacles, you can see how a homeless person’s troubles multiply.    If homelessness is 5 and my own inability to be perfect is also a 5, the equation is not 5 + 5, but 5 X 5, so the craziness of my life and the difficulties I face multiplies exponentially.

The voices of my parents echo in my head every time I screw up something.   As a child, any imperfection on my part was met with harsh criticism by my parents.  All the guilt and condemnation comes back to me every time I make a mistake.   My parents mistakenly believed that punishment was the cure to everything, and if initial punishments didn’t create the desired results, they doubled up on the punishments, thinking that eventually the right amount of punishment would gain them the results they desired from me.    At some point, they realized that punishment wasn’t working, yet instead of trying a different approach to my issues, they instead decided to give up – their minds unable to think of alternative ways of dealing with me.

The bigger problem being that I was, (and still am) suffering from a condition called Asperger’s Syndrome – a condition of the brain that few people knew about and fewer people understood at the time I was growing up.  It is a condition that causes people to behave in ways often considered incorrect by others.

As I continue to screw things up, I have to apply a great deal of energy overcoming all the negativeness that echos in my head, all the things my parents, especially my father said to me, when I was a kid.   These things used to destroy me.   Messing something up would send me hurling into a state of depression that kept me prisoner for a long period of time, and during that time, many aspects of my life would fall apart.  Sometimes the accumulation of screw ups on my part would cause me to become homeless, not because of the screw ups, but because of all the residual baggage that I carried in my head, in regard to my screw ups.

The other day, my wallet was stolen.   All my important documentation was in that wallet.   (talk about a big screw up)  The next day I started the process of getting all those documents replaced.  And with the help of some good friends, the negative affects of this screw up were minimized.    One friend went to the trouble of contacting the metro bus system here, so to get me a replacement bus pass.    The new bus pass was mailed to her, and she brought it to me yesterday.   Well, in true Kevin fashion, some time between yesterday and this morning, I’d misplaced the bus pass again.

As I bemoaned my situation of always screwing things up, my friend said, “You can be taught”.  To this I replied, “People have been saying that about me since I was 5.”  She then replied, “They just give up too fast.”  She is helping me to get yet another bus pass.



About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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