Trudy H., or “Pinky” as she’s called, sells The Contributor at the Bank of America Plaza in downtown Nashville, and her writing is regularly published in the paper. “I don’t like sitting at home and being bored; I like to talk and this is the perfect job for me,” she says. Trudy uses her profits from paper sales to pay for staying with a friend, plus she is able to put some in savings.
Her road in life hasn’t been easy: She has experienced homelessness; she is diagnosed as bipolar; she struggles with sciatic nerve pain in her back and hip; and she lost two of her daughters in a tragic car accident. But despite her journey, Trudy maintains that she is “blessed compared to many people.”
Get to know her better in this week’s Vendor Spotlight.
It’s been two years since your last Vendor Spotlight. What has changed since then?
I like the perks of The Contributor – getting paid once for submissions, paid again for (selling) The Contributor. It’s been slow for all of us because there’s so many of us out there.
What do you love about writing?
Expressing about myself. It’s a coping skill because I’m bipolar. I mostly write poems.
Tell me about your childhood.
I grew up in Lebanon. I had a happy childhood. I was active in church and I loved going to school. I was an honor student and I got my bachelor’s in administration. The recession caused everybody to hurt. I get disability and this is the only work I can do. I have sciatic nerve pain in my back and hip.
What do you like about being a vendor?
(I) have pride in the work I do. I get poems in there and express myself. People keep paying us to see what we write in there. It’s fulfilling. It’s a good part-time job; I can make my own hours. I can take a day off, and get rested up then go out and sell again.
What would you say to your customers?
Thank you you very much for the past three years. People know I’m nice and friendly. People come up and give me a hug.
What have you learned in your life?
It pays off being myself. You don’t want to come across as putting up a front for anybody because people will think you’re fake. When I’m feeling sad or mad, I express it. People want you to get it out. It’s healthy to get it out.
What would you say to others experiencing homelessness?
I’ll pray for them. I’ll give them a dollar. Money is hard to come by, good jobs are hard to come by. I’m blessed compared to many people.
You told me that you lost two daughters in a car accident.
Three and a half years ago, my daughter had just graduated from high school. (It happened) in Nashville. Just the thought of it, the children going through that kind of pain, I thought about taking my own life to feel the same kind of pain they did. I thought 'what good am I without them?'
How did you overcome those feelings?
It just took time. For the first year, it was hard. It took about three years all together to adapt to that change. When it comes time for their birthdays or holidays, I do get depressed on those days. I try to keep busy on those days; I read the Bible, I get out and exercise.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I want to talk about my cat. My kitchen Patches, my friend brought him home to me. He was so hungry. He puts his his head on my shoulder and snuggles my neck.
Being homeless, that affected me having a pet. I didn’t want to be out there with a pet and the pet go hungry. So now I wanted to wait until I got into a nice place and having a pet helps with my mental illness.