How’s That Working Out For You?

I have a woman friend that doesn’t approve of me free-sleeping in my van.  One day, I was having a bad day and she said regarding my alternative lifestyle, “How’s that working out for you?”

I still like this friend because she and her husband have been very supportive of me BUT this thing she said to me was a programmed response and I didn’t like it at all.

For years, television, films, magazines, newspapers etc. have portrayed free-sleeping as a horrible, horrible thing.  They have portrayed being homeless (or being “poor”) as worse, even than pedophilia, I would say, otherwise, where are all the stories about sick pedos and their pathetic lives?

Most free-sleepers (Homeless, as they call them) are portrayed as either one or two things.  Chemically addicted to drugs and/or alcohol or mentally ill.  Sad music is played when portraying homeless people, usually so you will give money and also work your ass off (and pay lots of taxes) so that you will NEVER EVER find yourself homeless.

Well I happen to know of a number of free-sleepers though who do not use drugs or abuse alcohol and I don’t believe they are mentally ill either.  Who decides what is mentally ill anyway?  It is a running joke but truism that psychiatrists, psychologists an their families are the most neurotic people there are!  How are they qualified to pronounce judgement on the general population?  Many of them are even addicted to pharmaceutical drugs!

Anyway, the powers that be don’t want the middle class, the working class, or the working-a-LOT -for-very-little-class to know how freeing free-sleeping can be.  If people knew, I think they would choose it more often.  So they (The tax-collectors,  capitalists and other similar enterprises) have to make sure there is a stigma on free-sleeping so that no one want to do it unless forced to.

I feel the stigma every day, even though most people don’t even notice me.  I haven’t been a tv watcher for years but I still feel it.  I feel like I have a big sign on my head that reads, “Homeless”.

Lately, because it is winter,I feel it more than ever because it’s harder for me to blend in.  While the upper middle class (and even wealthy) women around me, just throw a scarf on when going outside…no jacket sometimes, even in the worst weather….I dress for a day outside.  I’m wearing a long wool coat, hat and gloves.  This morning, I even put a pair of stretchy pants on under my long skirt for extra warmth while riding my bike.  I rolled the legs up so no one would see.  At some point though one of the pant legs came down.  Ugh.  I hope no one noticed my “screaming homeless” asymmetrical outfit!

So how’s it working out for me?  I have bad days like anyone else.  Today isn’t one of them.  Even though I probably look homeless or at the very least poor or weird, I’m reasonably happy.  There’s something about braving the cold and getting to my destination in one piece on my bike, in the sunshine and fresh air and making a little money doing something I like without some shyster boss looking over my shoulder trying to make me work like a machine so he or she can get rich off MY LIFE that makes one feel a little victorious.  Yes it’s cold sometimes but I can get warm again.  I won’t die and the sun is still shining.  Screw everyone’s opinion.  Their good opinion won’t buy me a new van or even a cup of coffee.

I understand that my friend is programmed by the current powers to see my free-sleeping as a bad thing and she thinks maybe she can snap me out of it with her magic words…BUT I asked her how HER life is working out.  She works as a server (waitress) and she is the only White girl that works for the restaurant.  The Mexicans gang up on her, especially one of them and she is miserable about it.  Her husband HATES his job working for a large corporation too and abhors his commute in bumper to bumper traffic every day.  They have rent control (good) but their rent is still very high, considering their neighborhood has really gone down hill these last few years.  Her and her husband are less happy than me, even though they have a home, running vehicles and other niceties.  She knows it, and I know it.  She had nothing to say to my question.

This is a long post so if you are still reading, thanks.  Maybe when I am not free-sleeping anymore, if that day ever comes, I will “come out” like gay people do to bring more awareness to free-sleeping.  Gay people are told they are courageous and wonderful when they come out as having sex with their own sex (almost like having sex with yourself, come to think of it).  Will the powers that be give me a parade for being a brave free-sleeper and coming out of the closet as formerly homeless person?  Methinks not!  I hope my smart readers will ask themselves why this is.




About Maureen, Living in a Van

I'm a free-sleeper living in a van in the prettiest part of the world. I do this partly due to financial circumstances and partly because I love a good adventure.
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8 Responses to How’s That Working Out For You?

  1. Ryu says:

    Good article. It has worked out well for you. You’ve had to overcome many things, including the fear of being homeless.

    Many are headed for the streets. That more than anything will change people’s minds. The game is rigged in America.

  2. geezer says:

    You go girl !
    I spent several years as a service type person ( cleaner ) , one of the persons they never saw until they needed special services or someone to blame , and we were always classed as criminally inclined or mentally deficient , or incapable of doing anything BUT the clean up the of dirt they were too good to clean up for themselves.
    And they were often mean

  3. Patti says:

    I do not look down on homeless people at all. My husband was homeless when he was 16 and didn’t even have a car. I do feel great empathy for homeless people as it was a terrible time for my husband.
    I also have to admit that I do worry for you. I feel you are at a greater risk for all kinds of troubles. Even minor troubles can be scary.
    As an example, I was walking my dog in the park near my home and a random trio of young men went by on skateboards very fast. I always speak to everyone in the park and I am well known there. One of them hit me very hard on the bottom. I am 50, with an autoimmune disease and not great balance and I almost face planted on the concrete. Some men from the neighborhood were there and ran after the kids, but could not catch them.
    I was so thankful to be able to go home, get my young adult son to drive me around looking for the men, as I did not get a good look at them. I wanted to try to gauge if it was a stupid prank or a threat to the neighborhood females. We didn’t find them, so I was so glad to be able to go home, lock the door and know I could defend myself and my home if needed. This situation would be much scarier for you, I fear.
    Of course in my more “normal” life I guess I am at risk for troubles that don’t affect you so much. But I do hope you do your best to stay safe.
    Take Care.

    • Me says:

      Hi Patti, I have been thinking of you a lot lately because you are local. Do you ever see a woman riding down the street on her bike and wonder if it’s me. I hope we can run into each other sometime.

      I didn’t undertand your third to last sentence. Could you elaborate?

      • Patti says:

        I do think of you at times when I see a lady on a bike. lol
        I didn’t mean anything specific. I just know we have different problems, noone’s life is without problems or struggles. I would not want you to think I thought my life was better than yours or anyone else’s.

        • Me says:

          No no, I didn’t think that at all. I just want you to watch out for yourself. The police work for the federal government basically and FEDGOV is NOT on the side of good citizens. I’m going to post about it today.

  4. Emily says:

    I would blow off your friends comments like a duck does water. I think it is GREAT that you are living life on your terms and not hurting anyone in doing so. I mean your friend needs to “get a life”. She is not happy with hers and she is just speaking from her unhappiness. Forget everyone opinion of you…You be your own happy YOU!!! LOL

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