Lorena

Lorena - photo (2) (399x600)I am Latina, I am homeless, and I am transgender. Any one of these things is a lot for a person to handle. I am all three. I have been homeless for almost five years. The most difficult thing I experience is loneliness.

Growing up, I never considered living in the United States, but ten years ago, with support from my brother, I made the long, dangerous journey from Mexico to the United States. I was looking for safety and an opportunity to work on my gender identity issue. I have not seen or talked to my brother in a long time, in part because of my gender identity, and most of my family still lives in Mexico.

I remember a specific night when I woke up on the street and it was raining hard. I realized that people were just walking by me and over me. No one stopped to check on me. This realization made me cry. As I gathered up my soaking wet blankets I found myself wondering what I had done to deserve this. I could have been dead and it seemed that no one cared.

I feel that I am not a part of society and that I don’t belong to anything. I feel like I am losing the ability to communicate with people. My social network is the social workers, therapists, and doctors that I see, but they are not my friends. While they care about me, the point of their interaction with me is to move me along in the system.

I was afraid to come to Miriam’s Kitchen at first, but after being asked three times I decided to give it a try. I didn’t know anything about Miriam’s Kitchen or the people who came here. What I found is a safe, welcoming environment with good food.

What I enjoy most at Miriam’s Kitchen is the art group. Art provides big, big therapy and a way to forget my problems for an hour. I also appreciate that the case managers are there to talk to people and when I ask for something they immediately try to help. I come to Miriam’s Kitchen every morning for breakfast and stay to work on my art during studio.

Three years ago I started the process of becoming who I feel I am but I had to stop the process in order to remain at the men’s shelter where I currently sleep. I am tired of being homeless. I am also tired of not being able to be who I am. I want to find work as a medical assistant or go back to school. Most of all I want to live a healthy life again, being true to who I am and how I feel.

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