Cecelia "We Are Who We Are"

Photography by    Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon

I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana, but left twenty years ago. I have been in Springfield ever since. I was here two years before my son was born, which he turned eighteen last month. I met his dad two years prior to his birth.

I have been homeless off and on since 2004. I raised my boys in the same house until 2004 and since then we’ve been homeless, me and my boys. We pretty much stayed in the same house. We lived in the same house with - I call him my adopted grandpa - for eight years.

My kids have been by to see me in the new house. Me and my boys are very close. Actually my middle boy was taken from me when he was eleven by the state. I still today don’t know what happened - why they took him. I had never been involved with the state, besides for food stamps. I never really figured out why they took him. I jumped over ropes, I did everything they wanted me to do, and they still took him. But I hung on to the other two boys. My youngest boy will turn sixteen this month. And I have one that is twenty-two.

Lessons that I’ve learned and advice I’d give to other people would be to try not to judge other people because they’re homeless. There’s reasons why they’re homeless. There’s reasons like - we are who we are. People come to it in different ways. My homelessness is different from somebody else's homelessness. I’m bipolar. I guess that’s all I know. That’s one reason why I was homeless. I couldn't keep a job. So there are reasons why people are homeless. Some people just don’t want to work maybe. Some people are schizophrenic - they can’t help that. Some people just can’t find jobs. Judging is very big when it comes to homelessness and it shouldn’t be.

My dreams for the future are to be married again. I dream of having a home again. I dream of having family again. I dream of a man who would love me for who I am. Not for what I was during my homelessness or what happened to me during my homelessness. My dream is to be happy again and as of right now I am happy. I have an awesome boyfriend and we struggle everyday to find better for each other.

(Story chronicled in 2016)