Sunday, April 11, 2010


i have mixed feelings about the homeless. i see how it can be a vicious cycle and hard to escape and easy to enter but i firmly believe when there is a will there is a way.  being here in montreal im realizing although not all of the reasons why there is so many homeless people is because of laziness, an overwhelming majority of it is. they get paid a good amount of money to maintain a minimal lifestyle and receive free healthcare as well as occasionally housing. i just feel its a bit unfair for all the people here who work so hard and get taxed an extreme amount of money just so it can be handed off to somebody who hangs out in metros stations during the day and then going home to their apartments at night with the bare necessities met by their government and fellow citizens. it sad how comfortable people get with the bare minimum. although living in a constant competition like we do in the US may not be healthy, i genuinely feel like its better than being satisfied with making zero effort to improve yourself and the world around you. this mentality will never bring you to your full potential. i have always found that i am in a constant need for more. more, better, best, is the mentality i grew up with and although its not necessary to have all gizmos and gadgets i have i feel like now its a good thing to always strive for improvement in everything you do.

although this is slightly off topic, i feel as though it relates. im constantly recognized for having a strong personality and im not sure if its nature or nurture but i do know that it has its pros and cons. the reason why i bring this up is because i feel my personality is what has made me into who i am today. my strong persona is due to my firm and earth shattering belief in the strength of family. my family has always meant the world to me. i often define myself by my placement in my immediate and extended family. family also is loosely defined as the people i share my blood with and the people i have chosen to surround myself with in life. i am the middle child of my immediate family, older sister to my younger sisters, young sister to my brother, daughter to my mother and father, confidant and best friend to my mother, clone to my father, hope for the future to my grandparents, close friend to my aunts, cousin-sister-mother-voice of occasional reason to my cousins, loyal friend to my best friends, alternative view of the universe for some people but most of all i feel as though i have been a carrier. carrier of feelings, opinions, weaknesses, strengths, emotions. the definition of carrier from is:

to take or support from one place to another; convey; transport: He carried her for a mile in his arms. This elevator cannot carry more than ten people.
to wear, hold, or have around one: He carries his knife in his pocket. He carries a cane.
to contain or be capable of containing; hold: The suitcase will carry enough clothes for a week.
to serve as an agency or medium for the transmission of:The wind carried the sound. He carried the message to me.

with all of these duties and positions to fill i have never found time or energy to give up. i have my occasional let downs that recently have become more and more frequent but with out a doubt i have the most amazing family/friends a person could ask for. sometimes i get down and negative thoughts spiral and become more than just a passing thought. they turn into bitterness. ever since i was a child my mom has told me that bitterness and grudges create serious problems in your life and are terrible to harbor because they tend to infest. she followed this with, "life is too short to be bitter. live happy and be thankful for all that you have" although this advice seems so basic and ancient that i cant even give this inspirational quote an author, i love being reminded every once in a while how much i have to be thankful for. 

when encountering the homeless or even worse, a somebody with such little faith in family i remind myself that my family is great because of what we have made it. we have worked to become as close as we are. everyone individually feels like the black sheep but in essence we are all our own person and have extremely different personalities, views on life, and aspirations for the future. one thing we all share in common is our view upon family. my grandfather left us with such strong foundations that even after his death we have gone through so much but really we are closer. we are not the superficial family on the street, living our lives in constant rainbows and happiness. we have real problems that we find real solutions for. this is what keeps me going. keeps me from being homeless. homeless to me means without a foundation and my core foundation is my family. i thank u all individually for all you have done for me and aunty ivonne one day ill find the answer to your question of, "whats the solution?" today, these are just my thoughts. 

a friend of mine did a project on the homeless for one of our assignments at brooks. he photographed the homeless and asked them to write what their idea of home was. this was my favorite example. 

©mattia balsamini

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