Gish's Journal

I'm 27 years old and have lived on the streets since I was 6 years old.

Three months ago I moved into Rebeccas Community 'Hospitality House.'

This website chronicles my life journey through foster care, homelessness, drug addiction, prison and my new life off drugs and off the streets.

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Is Violence the Answer (Fri 18th July 04)

As part of my life on the street violence has always played a significant role in my daily way of life, either through having to defend myself from other violent streeties or watching people have violence used against them for a variety of reasons.

Now I'm not saying that violence is right or wrong, but that it is and has played a large role in my life to date and now that I am on my journey into a better life I am encountering difficulties in putting my life into perspective for want of a better way of explaining things.

I have spent the last twenty years of life dealing with problems that arise in the course of my day a certain way, usually with fighting as a means of expression or problem solving and now I find that this skill is not really beneficial to the person that I want to be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I purposefully go looking for fights or I fight because I enjoy it, but on the street if you can't fight even to defend yourself a lot of streeties target you and make your life very hard to enjoy, also because most streeties use some form of drug or drink alcohol, and usually in large quantities there moods and emotions are often very volatile and they will fly of the handle at the merest slight, imagined or real, so violence becomes part of your every day life to a certain degree and you never know whether or not you are going to need to fight or if you can talk the other person down.

One thing is for sure, if you can't fight when you do get into a fight, because it is not a question of if but when, you are going to get seriously hurt maybe even killed.

Now I have never really been that big a fan of pain so I learnt from a very early age to defend myself and to date I think that I have done a fairly decent job of it but now I find myself in a totally different world with totally different rules when it comes to conflict resolution and I think the same way as I did ten years ago, that is that I would probably find it much easier to win an argument by bashing the guy to the ground then to discuss the issue like a grown up.

I am writing this to try and explain some of my fears to do with moving into society as someone who has never dealt with the kind of problem solving skills most people learn through their normal growing up, you are taught that violence is not the answer and that hurting people is wrong and there are other ways of dealing with the problem.

Where as I learnt it doesn't really matter what I think, if the person I am dealing with doesn't like my opinion or thinks for what ever reason that he or she is not going to win the "argument" then they can always just try and beat the hell out of you, they still may not be in the right but they sure will feel better then you would be lying on the ground bleeding or what not.

Now I am not saying that I would use violence to solve my problems before trying to find some other way or solution but it is always going to be in the back of my mind that it would be easier to get my point across to someone who is stubbornly refusing to see my side of the picture for what ever reason or then there is just using it to defend myself in instances where I may think I have been wronged and the person will not admit fault, most normal people would walk away and find another answer but I am the kind that finds it very hard to walk away.

In my old life you often can't walk away because the problem follows you and won't leave you alone, I know the likelihood of this happening is pretty slim in the future but I am still afraid of my response to it happening.

I guess what I am really trying to get across is how different life circumstances create different problem solving skills and when one changes those life circumstances you still have the same ways of coping with conflict and this can often lead to a lot of problems if you don't learn to recognize them, and the fact that it may be easier to change where you live then how you live.


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