I was sitting by a man at McDonalds the other day. He tells me that he lost his job, went to live with his mother and when there was too much drama in the house, he left. So he doesn’t know where he is going to sleep tonight.
I was shocked. This is a white man who has grown children. He sounded like me at 17. I thought this was a Native problem for teenagers. I didn’t know that people in their 40’s did this.
We talked a little and he did not have a clue as to what his next steps are. He was not thinking about it. He was just waiting around for something or somebody to do something.
I told him where the shelters were. He didn’t write anything down. He said goodbye and left.
So on my birthday today I think of the major changes in my life since I was like him, just waiting around for something to happen. I was lucky. I was in a youth group that talked about being a part of society, not on the fringes. I had friends who like me, wanted something more than drama and were willing to change.
So now, I have a job, a girlfriend, a truck, friends, a home, a college and a church family. People look at me with respect when I say I am going to work or going to school. I belong and I have opinions on how our society should work.
It happened when I asked to be baptized. I was told by our youth missioner to hold on to two things: I am a child of God, cherished for who I am and I can change as many times as I want so I am never stuck.
“I belong,” and “I’m not stuck” are my mantras whenever I feel down. I have a support system that involves my Native and my Christian tradition.
I am so glad that I am on this path.
Thank you all who support me and trusted me to be a man.