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My Eyes Feel They Need to Cry

Stories from the Formerly Homeless

Martha Aladjem Bloomfield

Publication Year: 2013

As intimate as they are inspiring, these stories of transformation, drawn from the oral histories of formerly homeless adults, testify to the determination of the human spirit and the healing power of sharing one’s journey. This gripping collection gives voice to the traditionally voiceless, inviting men and women from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds to share their experiences of what it was like to live on the streets, in cars, under bridges, and of how they discovered the inner motivation to change the course of their lives in a positive direction. An important contribution to understanding how destructive patterns can be broken, this book examines some key questions: How do those who have suffered from homelessness and the hardships that accompany it find the inspiration and courage to break the seemingly endless cycle, transform their lives, and become self-sufficient? What emotional price do they pay? When do they realize that enough is enough? How do they learn to trust new people when so many have disappointed them? Homeless people can and do find a way off the streets, as these men and women reveal through their stories, paintings, and poetry.

Published by: Michigan State University Press


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-xi

Every one of us wants a place to call home. Finding, sharing, and keeping a home can be manageable or overwhelming. For some, home means the old family homestead, full of tradition and memories that span generations. For others it means a place chosen outside of family tradition, shaped to...

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pp. xiii-xviii

I wish to thank all the many, many people who supported the creation and implementation of “Your Story and Mine: A Community of Hope” that gave birth to this book, a reflection of this project. It continues to be a “never-ending story.” First, I am grateful to all the participants in the project who willingly,...

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pp. xix-xxxvii

What intrigues me about adults who have lived in poverty and/or were homeless and at risk and somehow found the inner motivation to change the course of their lives in a positive direction and find their way off the streets? When and how do those who have suffered from homelessness;...

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Chapter One. A Canvas of Homelessness

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pp. 1-28

Homelessness does not discriminate against color, race, size, class, ethnicity, sex, religion, or political affiliation. It affects the young and old—children, parents, and grandparents. Homeless people live all over the world—in rural, urban, and suburban areas, in both heavily populated and isolated areas. As economic resources diminish,...

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Chapter Two. Their Stories through Words

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pp. 29-72

Everyone has a story. That is unique to all human beings. Regardless of our life experiences, we all carry our stories and memories deep within us. Our stories are not right or wrong. We may temporarily forget or censor them, and others may also try to censor them—but they remain within our memory and souls. No one can take our stories...

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Chapter Three. A Change in Direction [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 73-109

Not everyone who has lived on the streets remains there. Some find a way to leave this way of life—perhaps it is even a response to their lifelong feelings of abandonment. They are now in charge of redirecting their lives. How and why do some find the courage, strength, motivation, and inspiration to change and move their lives forward? How...

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Chapter Four. Their Stories through Paintings and Poems

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pp. 111-138

Just as people have been telling their stories and those of others through words—oral and written—for years, they have also been drawing and painting their stories. Sometimes they write poetry—another avenue of sharing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Tens of thousands of years ago, people drew their stories on the walls of the caves...

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Chapter Five. Resilience from Memory, Hopes, and Dreams

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pp. 139-154

Those who have been homeless struggle with layers of problems and traumas as children, teenagers, and adults, and the painful memories of these experiences—some remembered, some repressed. But these people also strive, as we all do, to create and realize their dreams—some concrete, some abstract. They have been primarily familiar...


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pp. 155-160

E-ISBN-13: 9781609173838
E-ISBN-10: 160917383X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860917
Print-ISBN-10: 1611860911

Page Count: 198
Illustrations: 10
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1st