Good Girls Don't Say Things Like That...

... but I do.

Victoria Carlson

Victoria Carlson
Burbank/Toluca Lake, California, USA
June 09
L.A. native. Single mother. Writer. Dog whisperer. Gemini. Crossword geek. Recovering Catholic. Novice Buddhist. Multi-tasker. Jedi Master. Currently working on a collection of short stories based upon personal experiences. Recent contributor to the L.A. Times and featured on


Victoria Carlson's Links

FEBRUARY 25, 2012 4:57PM

Please Give

Rate: 8 Flag

There he is, every week, the elderly African-American gentleman sitting outside Trader Joe’s with his little wooden red lockbox, collecting money for homeless women and children. Every week, I hurry along, avoiding eye contact, and mumbling apologies on my way into the store, and more apologies on my way out.

And every week I feel red hot shame sting my cheeks and guilt well up inside me.

While I’m certainly better off than a lot of folks, I‘m most definitely struggling to make ends meet. As much as I would love to help homeless women and children, I simply cannot spare a dime right now. I’m telling you, sometimes, it’s by the sheer grace of God that I manage to put food on the table.

I’d like explain to this man collecting for the homeless that I’m a single mom who took an $800 a month cut in spousal and child support last fall and therefore, I’m barely eking it out month to month. I want to tell him that I give most of my money to my landlord, creditors, car loan and car insurance and the remainder is spent on food and gas. There is nothing left for the little extras I once enjoyed, like monthly pedicures, dining out, HBO and a home phone. I want this man to understand my taxes are a bit complicated this year, so I have to employ a CPA to help me file, only I’m not sure where the money will come from. I want him to hear the prayer I say everytime I get in my car—Please God, let my balding rear tire might hold up just a little bit longer. I want him to know I haven’t been to the dentist in three years, my divorce is in limbo because I don’t have the money to pay my attorney, and that when my divorce is finalized, I will be one of millions without health insurance. 

I want him to know that I really am concerned about the homeless and the hungry and the sick and the lonely and the state of our economy and our service men and women and global warming and the upcoming presidential election and the price of gas and domestic violence and that, as a woman, my right to choose is being chipped away a little more each day and the sexual deviants that seem to be plaguing our schools and animal abuse and children who die by the hands of their own parents and all of the rest of it.

I want this gentleman to know there was once a time in my life when I had it to give and I gave. God willing, there will again come a time when I will be able to give generously to others some of what I work so hard for. But for now, for now, these homeless women and children are going to have to settle for my humble and heartfelt prayers because that’s the only thing I have to offer.

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a thin line betwixt you and them.
they beg.
do you?
would you ever?
i hold no judgment on those who beg, but i never would.
i cannot even ask another for a spare cig
for i know how precious they are, cigs,
of all damn things...

earlier, you coulda given em hard cash.
now, not so much.
oh well.

collecting money for others. for homeless men & wimmin &
children too.
souls are realigned by true help fromAbove.
we aint above, gal.

i know u and your story so shut up.
you need every penny for you & yours.
there are Many who have much more and can help those others...
do not feel the flush of shame everytime u cannot help.
any one.
for any reason!
you must become Who you Are,
first, the face you had before
the world began.

bearing down the suffering road we go.
carrying our burdens to the
palace of the lord.

(check out van morrison, 'palace of the lord')
dylan & van together = me, ha. check this:
Heart and gut wrenchingly beautiful, Victoria. I hear your voice loud and clear and empathize with your circumstances as they echo my own. Wishing all of us a peaceable acceptance of "what is" and sending up energy to sustain the strength we all need to move forward during a harsh, harsh time.

Remember ~ circumstances don't make a man ~ they reveal him. Yours is an eloquent illustration of the brilliance of revelation.

This is beautiful, Victoria. As James said, you have nothing to be ashamed about. Hold your head high -- keeping a roof, food on the table, gas in the car, all for your son is as noble as it gets.
i am an odd amalgram of that agoraphobic irishman
and that damn elusive mumbly jew.
hope this helped yer journey to
we knoweth where..

tir na nog.

v.m got a song about that..........
No explanations necessary. You can't give what you don't have but your heart is in the right place. Someday you'll be able to be generous again and hopefully that man will be better off as well. Kind thoughts have a way of doing good too.
Don't sell yourself short Victoria, your heartfelt prayers mean more than you know, and more than ever there are people in need of them. Thanks for the very honest, heartfelt article. I hope things improve for you.
Brianna-- if I believe in anything, I believe things will definitely get better. This is were faith comes in. I'll manage. I always do. I have many blessings and I've found contentment and happiness in things that matter most: my daughter, my family and friends, and the unconditional love of my ill behaved dog.

Jim-- did you tell me to shut up? :P
yes vic, but only re.
the temporal interpretation of yer situation.

i did tell ye shush.

the spiritual realm of mind beckons to us.
the goodest best books
and the

this is upper hall activity. of the place where
no damn complaints are necessary for somehow we
achieve the supernatural
Life of
the Mind.

sorry. you should NEVER shuddup. : )
i mean, no complaints
in the Heaven of Intellect.
Very well told, V, I heard every word. I don't mean to be insensitive, but have noticed that we NEVER see these collection boxes in Beverly Hills, Malibu, or Pacific Palisades for example! Excellent post. R
god forbid the swanky thoth from being insensitive!'
haw! arg. in the rich enclaves they do their best.
their hearts =elsewhere.
on cnn?

to hear of up & down turns..
i wish i could make it all up. they say..a rising tide lifts all boats..?!
Ooops, sorry, your daughter.
Victoria ~ I have similar feelings...seeing someone sitting outside of a store asking people to give... and here I am, very rarely with anything in my pocket!! I stop and chat with them, ask them how its going. Ask what their experience with people has been around the parts they are...It removes my feelings of being a skin-flint. I don't ever have to get in a long conversation about how we are in charity work ourselves and I know what it's like not to have...etc., etc. Chances are, the guy will appreciate the conversation. xoxo J
I like that you care so much. Think about all the people who don't even see him...
Wishing you better times soon, Victoria. ~r
I love the way you wrote this piece and how you feel when you see this man. Next time stop, look him in the eye and thank him for what he is doing. You will help again when you can and in the meantime it doesn't cost anything to say "thank you".
Blessings to you.