London can be a strange place.
Working with the homeless, I can see bits and pieces of the worst part of the city. But I also see some of the best parts of the city when I go out and explore.
I spent most of my day today at work (of course). I see people that have been rough sleeping, questioning whether or not they should spend 50p on a good, hot, breakfast, people who need their next fix, people unable to find jobs because of language barriers, people that OD, and other, more frightening things that I won’t go into detail about (in case my mother decides to read these…). Some people would say that I’m crazy, feeling so comfortable working in such an environment. Honestly, it doesn’t really phase me. And I don’t mean that in a way that means I don’t care about them. I hope for the best for every single client we have. But I can’t let any of the incidents that goes on around me affect my sole purpose of being here. Yes, this place is definitely not for everyone, but I get along just fine with my responsibilities, regardless of certain happenings around me.
But today, I actually did something different. Meaning, I didn’t go home and watch netflix, ha. Instead, I went out with an old friend I haven’t seen in a few years. Laura, from West High. We met up at The Connaught Hotel for some afternoon tea. And it was interesting to move from a place like the Providence Row to something much more high-end, and posh.
I felt so spoiled sitting in that fine restaurant, sipping away at my Paris Tea, chowing down on the various desserts presented to us, and stuffing my face with delicious scones and jams. I’ve been in nice hotels before, so I know that bathrooms have maids sitting in them, fresh towels to clean your hands on, perfumes, lotions, and all that good stuff sitting on a counter at anyone’s disposal. But it felt almost alien being in there, after using the grimy, simple toilets at work.
That’s what most people think of, though, when they hear “London.” The rich, the posh, the extravagance. At least, when I was younger, that’s what I thought. This may sound selfish, but I really am so grateful to be in the position I am in, grateful that I, myself, am not living on the streets, doing drugs, selling my body. I’m grateful to be able to experience some of the nicer things this world has to offer. I take so many things for granted.
Like my bed, for example. So many of our clients are rough sleeping. They don’t have beds. I at least have a bed here in London. No matter how uncomfortable it may be, it’s still available to me. And I took advantage of my bed back in Utah. I never really remarked on how wonderfully soft, warm, and heavenly it was, until I got stuck with a box full of springs covered with a thin layer of fabric that sounds like plastic bags every time you move.
I was supposed to work at Providence Row. If not for the others, then definitely for myself. I was selfish and ungrateful. I should be cherishing everything that I have, not wasting energy complaining about things that I didn’t have. And I really hope that anybody reading this takes that to heart. Start being grateful for everything.
Someone once asked me: “Imagine you woke up one morning, and you only had the things that you acknowledged gratitude for. Would you be able to survive?”
Would you? Are you truly grateful for food, water, clothing, shoes, and everything that entails the idea of basic needs for living? Just think about it.
Also…I had salmon today. First time I’ve purposefully eaten seafood in 13 years. I may still be allergic to it…if you call hurling over the toilet all night an allergic reaction. (It’s really not).