Taking A Breath

Dr. Ni By Dr. Ni, 6th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Quality of Life

Coming out of homelessness also includes choosing where one will reside and consciously making a choice to live in a certain surrounding. This is the story of making that choice.

Where I Did Not Want To Be

TAKING A BREATH
Niama Leslie J. Williams, Ph.D.
Copyright August 2013
863 words


I was running down the street, sweating, out of breath, trying desperately to locate an apartment manager whom I was probably already 15 if not 20 minutes late for at somewhere close to 5 o’clock. The building looked not well kept; old fans tired of blowing air graced up- and downstairs windows. I thought, this is no better than where I already am.

It was another neighborhood I didn’t want to live in; another part of town I didn’t want to grace. The situation, the people walking by, all of it put me back in my wingback chair talking to my social worker about how I was trying to make the decision whether to move or stay put.

The owner of the building where I live is not perfect. He eagerly gave me the keys several days early, unbeknownst to me because then those days would be pro-rated. The bathroom fixtures and tub were not as clean as they could have been after the remodel. No one sweeps the front area on our side of the gate, and there is trash and old cigarettes clouding what could be a nice gardenlike entryway.

As the owner of this building I stood before, a building that clearly suffered both love and neglect, as this owner told me that old no, the apartment had been rented, the guy had already given him the deposit, something deep inside of me said, “No.” “No more.” I became a permanent tenant of my herethoto temporary apartment right then. I walked home from the #46 stop at Junipero and Anaheim and for the first time felt I was walking home.

Choosing Home

This afternoon, as I sweated in front of a building in which I did not want to reside, I made a commitment to the Section 8 apartment I loved, the one I chose, and, quite honestly, the one that stole my heart. I walked home from Anaheim Street faster than I ever had, and this time, I was claiming my neighborhood as my own. The ruffians skateboarding; the high schoolers walking late from classes; the Latino families in little clusters who were my neighbors. I used the key at my bar door and then my front door and this time entered my apartment and sighed the deep sigh of she claiming her residence.

I would have to clean one room at a time, I might have to wait a week or two to be able to afford cleaning products, but I would clean slowly and well because it was mine. For the first time I wanted to clean and sweep and mop all on my own though I know IHSS will help because arthritis still causes chronic pain and my bones and joints will protest if pushed too far. Yet I will do what I can this month before services start, and I will do things piecemeal and slowly, making sure the rent is paid and the critical bills covered.

I am launching a company, and I want to do that right, having staked my claim on a home first, and then moving into the job arena. Tonight I made my first calls about volunteering, something my Indiegogo campaign co-director suggested to add vim and vitality to my campaign launch. As I called organizations and crisis lines seeking a volunteer position, I realized how much I wanted to dive in and get my hands dirty helping those formerly myself: homeless, lost, and alone.

Giving Back, Giving Hope

I want to give guidance, give succor, help those past the point of giving up. I want to give people a reason to live, to get back up and keep fighting when their spirits have been besieged for so long they can see no logic in continuing the battle.

I want to give hope.

I see hope in staking my claim on this little piece of rental property. Where can you find 1,000 square feet of hardwood flooring, laminate, but still, and the rest of it stone-like tile? In staking my claim I see the rightness of my social worker’s advice months ago when I had desperately sought a job. “Home first,” he’d said, “stabilize your housing first, and then look for a job.”

He is so right. I feel a particular quality of grounding knowing where I am going to live, preparing to do my little bit of housekeeping, keeping my little part of the planet safe, warm, clean, and dry. I am planning to get a special broom for the entryway, so that if my owner does not sweep, and he doesn’t, not his nature, I can get out there every morning and sweep, just to have a clean spot after the night’s revelry by my neighbors, a reminder that we can all do our part to make our lives beautiful.

No one will see, but I will, and that will be enough. For this is to be my home, my hardwood floor-like laminate residence, all 1,000 square feet of it, containing my glorious furniture.

I am home, and now that I am home, I can work.

Love and blessings,

Dr. Ni

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Tags

Choices In Life, Choosing A Home, Choosing An Abode, Comfort, Comfortable Accommodation, Comforts And Luxuries, Homelessness

Meet the author

author avatar Dr. Ni
Dr. Niama Williams is an intuitive counselor, poet, memoirist, and essayist whose work focuses on recovery from trauma and the emotional work of recovery.

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