Monday, December 7, 2015

" Follow your bliss but be prepared to live your nightmare" - Mark Reay

Mark Reay and Thomas Wirthensohn

Many of us experience hard times, some more so than others. We decide how we are going to cope. Some of us make it, and cope relatively well, some don't. It is often a secret we keep from others, for a long as possible in order to keep up appearances, because poverty and homelessness in our society is cloaked in shame, guilt, and judgement.

It's easy to sit in judgment of others who don't match our preconceived notions of normal, and so I will say, if you haven't walked in their shoes, refrain from judgement. Truth is, there but for the Grace of God go I.

I thank God I have never been homeless, but many years back I was sleeping quite regularly in my vehicle because I worked two hours away from home, and couldn't afford the gas to travel at one point in time. Hitch hiking and food banks were a regular thing for me, when I returned to University at the age of 56 in 2009.

Mark Reay is a remarkable individual. He kept the secret of being five years homeless living in New York City, sleeping under a tarp, on a friends rooftop at night, and living an entirely different life by day, keeping up appearances, which to all appeared to be glamorous and successful.

Mark Reay is very obviously an individual with great tenacity, courage and resilience, and he doesn't match our notions of the stereo typical homeless person.

This documentary Homme Less is insightful, a revealing real life film by Thomas Wirthensohn about how Mark Reay lived in one of the most wonderful cities for artists, and simultaneously, one of the worst if you are homeless and poor.

 Mark was interviewed today on CBC Q with his long time friend Thomas Wirthensohn, who directed the documentary. I am certain this film will help to break down the stigma and misconceptions surrounding what it means to be homeless and poor, who should not be invisible, nor judged.

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