Cheryl the Survivor
by Scott Walker
There is something to be said about routine. It is often a good thing because it equals sustainability. However, routine is more of a chore when it comes to the same dreadful morning after morning. Add mental illness into the mix and it makes life even harder to face each day.
Hear what Cheryl had to say below (1 MIN and 30 SEC):
Imagine being a woman and waking up each day in a tent. Imagine not having the ability to put on make-up or perhaps take that relaxing nightly shower to wind down. You can't do it.
The only way you will be taking a shower while camping is if you are inside a state park or staying in a fancy roadside KOA campground. Of course, both places have limits on how long you can stay and both are costly for someone with nothing.
For most homeless in Murfreesboro, a shower is taken weekly at The Journey Home on West Castle Street or perhaps the Pilot Truck Stop.
If you have ever seen homeless men or women at the Pilot Truck Stop or maybe The Flying J, they are not lingering in the parking lot to prostitute themselves, which is what many believe. While that may be the case in some areas, it is mostly a thing of the past as truck stop management attempt to self-police such behavior. So, there is not a reason to hurry the children back to the car.
The homeless are often at truck stops to receive the goodwill of truck drivers who are passing through cities. Many truck stops offer semi drivers a "FREE" shower token for every 1,000 gallons of fuel purchased. Those drivers often give those sower tokens to those in need, which helps in a major way.
Pictured is Cheryl who moved to Murfreesboro when she was about 2 or 3. Yes, like many in our area she is a transplant. Her parents moved her to teach, which both did. One parent taught at Middle Tennessee Christian School and the other at Riverdale. After the death of her mom and the aging of her father Cathy's mental state became more deteriorated which meant her elderly father was not able to properly control some of her behaviors, all according to Cheryl.
Cheryl has the same routine daily, but she is not close to a shower. So, she routinely gets up dirty and goes to bed dirty. It is not exactly adventurous and it is tough on a woman or a man for that matter.
As for fear, she worries about her safety the most. She worries about being killed more than being dirty. She told me that she has been raped about 6 times. She also talked about how she has been beat up while living on the street.
"The rewards of the wild and the rewards of the survivor go to those who can dig deep, and, ultimately, to the guy who can stay alive." - Bear Grylls