i moved to the lakeview neighborhood in chicago in 1974. it became a learning experience that changed my world during the 12 years i was there. walking up and down clark, broadway, and halsted between addison and fullerton became a regular activity. it was easy to check out the in and out flow of boutique shops in the neighborhoods, take a look at the fashions of the moment, and to see how some other parts of the populations lived, breathed, and survived. that’s where i first encountered her- the “goddamn” lady. she was a caucasian woman in her 50’s who lived on the street (assumption) and would wander the streets mumbling to herself with the occasionally “GODDAMN” shared at full decibel. it startled me initially. i was in my late teens and had no first hand experience with homelessness or severe mental health. i had never even heard of tourette’s syndrome. quickly however, the goddamn lady became a part of my vernacular, my scenery and my neighborhood- especially once i realized she probably would most likely not harm me. i was 17 years old then. leaving home, living a bohemian lifestyle in the urban setting of northside chicago, graced me with propensity for acceptance and diversity that continues to pay dividends in my life.
now if i could only start to find more compassion and understanding when i see or hear from the likes of sarah palin, ted cruz, or the teaparty crew- after all- there are significant visible evidence of mental health issues demonstrated.