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Seeing Beyond the Dope

Seeing Beyond the Dope

Sydney's picture

After reading this post, I immediately thought of my topic. I hope that the similarity is seen by others as well.


      Downtown, it’s not an unusual occurrence to see people whose teeth are near or fully rotted. Their eyes ringed red or glazed over. They struggle to walk in a straight line. These people dress in whatever they have, which often appears to be severely tattered second, third, or even fourth-handed clothing. When I made eye contact with one of these people, a young male, our eyes stayed locked, creating an unsettling feeling within me. I studied his face and saw his pain. He observed mine and cut through me to see my embarrassment. He knows that I spent years judging him although I didn’t know him. I realized that we were eerily similar, both of us living in the same small town, being unaware of our past crossings. The man kept shuffling past me and cautiously returned my slowly forming smile. We didn’t understand each other entirely, but the encounter changed me. I stopped judging individuals who looked like that man, knowing that their eyes would reflect the similar pain that no person should experience.

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I too, like Sydney, encounter many homeless people and drug addicts where I live. There isn't a day where you can walk down the street and not see someone begging for money or strung out on drugs. But, there was this one guy who I would never forget. You could tell he was full of rage and very high by the way he staggered in the street and shouted obscenities that no one could make out because he didn't have any teeth. I was kind of frightened because while he was having his fit, he looked at me with anger and a sense of sadness that I couldn't just shake off.