I grew tired of pretending I lived like everyone else anyway. I knew they were going to go tell everyone they could. I didn’t really care anymore. They wouldn’t be lying when they called me the sewage of society. I burdened the government. Poor and dirty, I exemplified everything their parents warned them would happen to them if they didn’t stay in school. I agreed with everything they were going to say. How could I be angry with them if they spoke the truth? As they walked down the street full of homeless people, I could only hope they understood being a “bum” wasn’t my fault. I did not chose my birth. In their blessed world, they traveled together—beyond the homeless road in which I traversed alone. If I could, I would join them strolling in bliss. As they traveled beyond our ghostly realm, I could not follow. I was chained to my homelessness. The world of poverty rested on my shoulders as if I became the Greek Titan, Atlas. There was no bliss along my path.
–My Way Home: Growing Up Homeless in America by Michael Gaulden
From the preface:
This memoir covers the latter part of my homeless journey, ranging from age fourteen to seventeen, predominately my high school years. The horror of my homelessness is what I call it. Allow me to take you down my path and to walk in my footsteps along my own hellacious underground railroad. If you are reading this in the midst of your own overwhelmingly challenging journey, it is you for whom I write….It is you whom I urge not to quit. I know your pain and through my pain, I wish to give you strength. For everyone else reading this, please understand my story is only one of millions of other homeless people.