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One of the worst things about homelessness is the shame

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Shame is a complex emotion. For most of my life it has prohibited me from revealing an experience that has shaped me in the most profound of ways. And today, shame is what is forcing me to finally reveal what that is, something even some of my closest friends don’t know.

Courtney Herron was found dead in Royal Park on Saturday.Credit:Facebook

You see, when I was 17, I became homeless for a period. As in, I lived in a friend’s garage, sneaking in when his parents had parked each night and getting up before they left each day. It meant me hiding my sleeping bag in bushes before heading off to school and relying on the kindness of others for food. It entailed overstaying my welcome at every opportunity, mocking sleep so as not to be moved off a warm couch or sneaking into their rooms when parents had gone to bed, for a safe place to sleep.

And it made me feel like shit, every humiliating second of every day. I felt I was white trash, despite my middle-class upbringing, unlovable and unworthy. And despite getting my life back on track and achieving success later in life, I will always be that scared young girl with knotted hair who brushed her teeth with her finger and bathed with a garden hose, among other indignities I don’t care to........

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