I wake up and walk to a quiet oasis, sit down, load a bowl, and light a cigarette. This is my morning routine, it is the only medicine that calms my anxiety enough to work, and calms my stomach enough to eat. I’ll be putting in a few hours of work from my laptop after a high-protein breakfast. Then I’ll be walking down to the store or an appointment, and spending time with my partner in the afternoon.
It sounds normal and even desirable, but this is day 45 of homelessness for me. My partner and I thankfully have access to food, shelter, and friends. Friends are a luxury – I hadn’t visited with any in person in nearly a year. I walk most days or get rides, take a bus, or order a lyft, because we don’t have a car. I smoke because I haven’t seen a doctor in months, and it helps with the pain, the anxiety, and the depression. I’m out of meds until I get my paperwork together and work my way up a wait list. I paid for the protein drink and fruit with my carefully budgeted food stamps. The laptop was a gift, sent with no strings attached, six months after my last one was stolen. I don’t know where I’d be without this trusty laptop – I’ve never saved enough to spare funds for a laptop in the 18 months I’ve had it. The worry and guilt and wondering if we’ll possibly have enough to feel stable is familiar now.
My partner and I worked the anxiety out by vigorously cleaning the apartment. A kind supporter of my blog had sent us a big enough donation to get tickets out of the desert we’d felt trapped in for the past ten months.
We turned in our keys, barely nursed the car to be disposed before we carried everything we own onto what is known as hell on wheels, or a Greyhound. Over three days of travel, there are no stops long enough for sleep, or places to sleep, for that matter. My boyfriend keeps a watchful eye and watches the luggage while I smoke a quick cigarette. We check that the bus is still being prepared, and he takes his turn. By the time we arrive in the Pacific Northwest, I’m in a haze of exhausted mirth that there’s rain and tall, green trees in my rainforest home.
For the first week, I was in shock. This isn’t my first time being homeless, but my first experience of it was something I never want to face again. I slept on a friend’s couch for many hours, and switched between violent sobbing and stone-faced repulsion for life itself.
I thought I would die, surely I would die, if I had to face that horror again.
Of course, my not-at-all-white boyfriend called me out on my privilege, seeing as I so feared homelessness that it felt worse than death and made me fantasize obsessively about suicide. He’s been homeless many times, and he was gentle and caring as I spiraled, helping me to endure until the instability had become normalized.
It took several days of adjustment, but I realized I was not dead. I also realized I was not alone.
Realizing that life goes on, even when we feel like we’re going to fall too hard to survive, made me more determined than ever to discipline myself and pursue writing.
Or maybe I’m just off my meds? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
All year I’ve been trying to get to a blog relaunch, and my boyfriend has encouraged me to just say what’s really going on. But as with everything I’ve written about that strips away a new layer of my internet visage, I’m afraid.
I’m scared to reveal this to you, my blog readers, while also job searching and trying to put on a professional face for my professional success. But I’m tired of the pretense. Being brutally honest about my own insecurities has never failed to bring a sense of welcome to this little corner of the web.