Treasuring The Still

Dr. Ni By Dr. Ni, 26th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Quality of Life

Oprah's article about not feeling comfortable in her Santa Barbara home caused me to reflect on the many creature comforts in my new apartment after 2 1/2 years of homelessness.

Oprah, Me, & the Need for Creature Comforts

Niama Leslie J. Williams, Ph.D.
Copyright July 2013
1,179 words

for oprah
for those to be housed this year
for grace, mercy, hope

Earlier this year, Oprah wrote in O about her home and the critique that incensed her by a well-known and well-heeled decorator of much expertise: Her home lacked any sense of Oprah herself within it. The talk show and television diva tried to pretend as though the comment gave no rise to her senses, but when friend Maria Shriver verified the decorator’s opinion, Ms. O decided to become a client.

I read of this little story and smiled to myself. Ms. O is yet and still, Ms. O: flawed, human, honest to a fault. I considered her predicament and mine, and smiled yet again. Today, I was the richer.

For I have risen out of homelessness, two and a half years of homelessness, to be surrounded not just by things, but things of my own choosing, things I love and treasure, comfortable, proud to show them off, comfortable to sit upon things. I wait for my cousin’s departure so that I may sit on my sofa without fear of having to rise for his eleven o’clock bedtime and turning off of the television.

Treasure: The Still

I sat this afternoon and reveled in the quiet. The still, the peace, not even a rush of traffic from the somewhat busy Junipero Avenue here in not quite the right side of Tenth Street Long Beach, California. It was so easy to sit in my wingback chair, a chair more comfortable even than the sofa for hours of tv watching, sweating slightly, though the apartment is cool most afternoons in spite of Southern California July. I sat and thought of calling my upstairs neighbor to congratulate her children on keeping the noise, music, and fighting down for two weeks now.

I am a writer, and my solitude is my joy.

I left this morning to go to a not quite rewarding food bank, and was delighted to return with not one, but two containers of milk. I had envisioned eating, finally, the many packets of oatmeal that had been in storage for months—last November until just two weeks ago—but hunger took precedence and I ripped instead into the what I had not realized were Hawaiian dinner rolls, heating them in 45 second segments in the microwave and wolfing them down with ice cold milk.

The Police, The Past, & Homelessness

There is nothing like such delight when one has spent days in one’s own home, after sharing many nights with the denizens of the Public Safety Building, police officers doing their duty to protect and serve through the night hours, allowing me a safe haven on occasion when the bus stop at Pacific and Broadway did not provide a writing desk which suited my pen and notebook.

I toy with calling Officer Ayala, manager of a beautiful apartment I viewed several weeks ago when initially searching for a Section 8 one-bedroom. I decided on another which my social worker rejected, reminding me that I can’t do stairs on a regular basis. I had laughed at my social worker’s taking charge of the situation and reflected again with real joy on the memory of he and the team from my social service agency moving me into the current apartment from my nursing home and storage unit.

I want those officers who stood by me and not their boss, a boss who forbid homeless people in the Public Safety Building, but I was quiet, I was no trouble, I was clean, and I was respectful.

I want those officers to understand, to know, to feel my joy. To know that there are happy endings. For I came to love police officers and paramedics and firemen as much as I loved medical folk: they knew how to be there for you when you had no one.

The Key: God Blesses

I sat this afternoon in the quiet and looked at my full to capacity living room and my tv ensconced in its entertainment center and I thanked God. It is He from whom all good flows. Without him I would never have made it through homelessness, and I was blessed to do so with my faith intact. I was blessed to do so with heavy as hell formerly lead crystal, with a matching love seat and sofa, with a coffee table and two side tables, with a possibly antique china cabinet no less.

God has furnished me with all that I need, and done so with flair. I have beautiful, serviceable things that are comfortable and comforting. I am listening to CDs about manifesting that which I desire and it takes me a moment to realize that through all those months of sweating, well, not really sweating, to pay my storage bill, my things were really there and my social service agency team moved them for me with only three casualties: my china cabinet lost a piece of one foot, one crystal plate broken in two places, and one large mixing bowl broken beyond repair.

I am blessed.

I have feared many things, but homelessness taught me much. I shopped when my social security back payment arrived, and I learned through careful choice that I had taste. I would scout the aisles at the Salvation Army Thrift or the FEED Store or the AIDS Assistance Thrift and purchase one or two or three and then go home to look certain items up on the internet. I would be bedazzled by the prices and descriptions I found.

I am blessed. I am blessed because God protected all of these items for me while I endured the last few moments of trial, and now I am able to enjoy them, peacefully, in my first apartment home. I strongly suspect Mr. Ayala will lead me to my second home, for this first abode has long-standing trouble ill-attended-to by the owner and God says moving is a necessity.

Oprah & The Open Invitation

I for one am back to loving the wee hours of the night. I sit and sweat quietly in the afternoons; I sleep late as I want and pray that Demand Media Studios hires me to write 300-500 words on my area of specialty, Family & Relationships; and in the interim I bring my musings here, to Wikinut, oddly enough the home-by-relation of the free encyclopaedia I forbid my students to use as reference for undergraduate papers.

My peace is eternal and my joy regularly creeps across my face. Oh, Oprah; it is not a decorator that you need to help you make your house a home; it is a sense, a deep feeling of peace, a stepping away from the hither and dither to breathe and think and settle in. Then you can choose furniture that feeds your soul and grasps your backside so that you and your friends can curl up and gossip all night long.

All I wait for is the time and money to throw dinner parties, for I love to entertain. You and I in 2014, yes, my successful friend? :-)



Comfort, Comfort At Home, Comforts And Luxuries, Decorating, Feeling At Home, Feeling Good, Quality Of Life, Spirituality

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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author avatar Stephan polfliet
27th Jul 2013 (#)

I thank you Dr Ni for a beautiful insight,I know you have been through much and applaud how you have pulled your self up you deserve all the blessings you get . .

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author avatar Dr. Ni
30th Jul 2013 (#)

Thank you, Stephan; you have been a good friend during tough times. How are you faring up north??? Able to get around suffientiently??? Started writing yet??? She says, hint, hint!!! (You are so brilliant on so many subjects ....)

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