I remember there was a time when I was a child playing at a playground and my hands slipped when I was on the monkey bars. I fell onto the bars below me, on my diaphragm, which knocked the air out of me so hard, there was an initial high-pitched whistle and silence, but I remember I was still trying to scream out in pain. It was like I was hit so hard by the fall that it knocked a very long and extended pause out of me. By the time I could breathe in and scream again, my eyes saw white haze. I remember this because life has just hit me that hard and I am stunned because I would consider myself adept at being able to roll with the punches.
In my family, I am the black sheep. I color outside of the lines and seek to live my life to the beat of my own drum. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. Even being the black sheep, I am also the only one in my family that has put myself through school. I am not talking about graduating with a certificate or an associate degree, I hold an MS from a school that is private and selective. I did this while fighting custody disputes over my children and have always found the fortitude to rely on that strength from within because I knew I was alone. It has been apparent that my family seeks to keep me in a position of conforming with their religious beliefs, as a means to indoctrinate me to become a doormat for them to walk upon, so we no longer have a relationship. With that said, while I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth and life came at me with a knockout combo, I have no one to call.
Pre-pandemic, I was employed in the oil and gas industry and worked as a landman. As we all know that industry has changed since. I then began seeking a deeper understanding within my spirituality, which is a source of serious contention with some of my family. Being a very logical and analytical person, I had never afforded myself the opportunity to explore any artistic side, but I did so and I do love the ways in which I feel a sense of peace and fulfillment. Slowly over the last year, I now know the humility of being what is called, “a starving artist.” While waiting for my newly created art business to take root, I began Doordashing to make ends meet. Then life would seek to come along and throw some wrenches into the cogs of life and I had a slew of car repairs to make over the summer.
Due to a lack of funds, I began making the repairs to my vehicle on paydays, spending my free time turning wrenches and this went on for three months. My job at the time was hybrid, with me needing to be in the office two days a week. An Uber one way was $37, which I couldn’t spare because I needed the money for the car repairs. I experienced my first termination from employment in August. Mid September, my car was back on track and I began hitting the streets with my dog, Oskar, and we were back to Doordashing and feeding homeless people with orders that were cancelled. Even though it isn’t as glamourous as working in an office reading contracts all day, I love being able to find someone who thinks they are all alone in the world and sharing in a sense of compassion.
It was around November 11th that I left home to Doordash in a city around two and a half hours away for a few days. I was behind on my rent and had heard from some other Dashers that it was a profitable trip for them, when they had worked there previously, so Oskar and I packed up, fed the cat and made sure she would be comfortable for a few days while we were gone. It was nice to get out of our area and see what else was going on in the world. I was driving an order to a customer, when my engine made a popping noise and flames were shooting out from under the hood. Smoke started filling the cabin of the car and Oskar started coughing. I quickly pulled into a parking lot and was mortified that my engine was on fire. Luckily, the fire department came out and was able to put the flames out, but I no longer had a car, or a way to make money, plus I was two and a half hours away from my home. I have mainly worked remotely since 2016, so when I moved to this state in 2018, I haven’t been able to meet very many people I can call friends.
Oskar and I lived in the shell of the car for around three weeks, in a church parking lot. It wasn’t until the end of the second week that one lady from the church came to check on us, but I was thankful that they left us in peace while I tried to figure out what to do. This was over the Thanksgiving holiday as well. I haven’t spoken to my father since Father’s day, but he called me the day after Thanksgiving and I told him about my car catching on fire and that I was homeless. His response was, “oh wow. Ok kid, well, it was nice talking to ya.” I knew that would be the response from anyone that I should be able to rely upon. I then received the emails that I was being evicted from my apartment. Trying not to think of all of my things that I wouldn’t see again, the pictures of my life that hold the good times were gone, but I was also certain my cat died and I didn’t know if I should just look for a job and try to pick up and start again or not.
In an effort to get through, I have to put my emotions on the back burner because you have to get to it to get through it. I had reached out to a lady that I had met that seemed friendly and helpful to see if she could find the time to talk with me and to see if she could help me figure out how to get a shower because I hadn’t had one in over two weeks by that point. I was treated like I was pariah and she mentioned that she didn’t want her daughter to catch a disease because her daughter had a weak immune system. Sometimes, when I am able to talk to someone, I can figure out the answers I need, when they just listen. It seems most people are only concerned with themselves or seek to interrupt this process by telling me how I should feel or telling me how I should act or react. This is probably why I am quite and keep to myself. Live and let live they say and I agree, which is why I have a dog to talk to I guess.
I was finally able to find someone that I had known around three years back. Even though we hadn’t spoken in years, they came to get me and took me to a friend’s house where I am now a resident on the couch. Being homeless is a very humbling experience. Instead of hating and being filled with disdain at how ugly humans can be, I have chosen to love them harder because forgiveness is for me, so I can move past it and it isn’t for them. Forgiveness is something they need to do for themselves. I think about all the times I was hard hearted and I am thankful for the experience to instill in me a greater sense of compassion and a new found appreciation for hot water and a couch cushion. I also have a greater understanding of who I am and that love, compassion and gratitude truly are the strongest of all emotions that can see a person through anything life throws.
Now, that it has been a month since I left my house and I have lost everything that I own, I can finally let the emotions go a bit. Knowing that my cat is gone is the worst. Knowing that I wasn’t there to comfort her for all the times she had been there for me will probably tear me up for a long time to come. That has been devastating, which is the only word I can think to use to even come close to describing how horrific it feels. I also know I cannot finance a vehicle, because my credit has also tanked since 2020, right along with my income and upon calling some dealerships, they don’t finance Doordashers. After spending countless hours over the last week, the only people seeking to hire me are ones that want contract labor for 100% commission, which isn’t assisting me with being able to attempt to get my belongings back from the company that owns the apartments I have been evicted from, nor obtaining a vehicle, so I can pay my phone bill. Plus, it is going to be damn near impossible to rent again in this state with an eviction tied to my name, so it looks like I need to find a different state to call home.
I haven’t found it within myself to panhandle yet, as I do believe that one should be of service. However, it also feels that this is panhandling with technology and I don’t know what I can do to be of service to you for any monetary compassion you may extend toward my debacle, but I can only hope that I could be of service in one method or another. With that, I think I will bring this to a close. Thank you for reading this portion of my healing process, but it has been very painful to share, but letting it out does help a bit. Thank you again.