I’m back! Again. After about one month of blog silence, I’m back. I didn’t have brain freeze, nor was it due to lack of content, but homeslessness. Yes, you read that right. I’ve been struggling with accepting it and sharing it with others other than those involved and my mother. It was tough, but now I’m ready and able to share.
In the last 3 months I’ve moved at total of four times. Yes, you read right, four. Not really by choice if you will, but more so for a purpose. In my hiatus, I stressed about not being employed for a spell, not being about to contribute to household bills let alone clear my credit cards and more. And in the same breath I began working on myself inside and out. I completed a gratitude challenge with 21ninety, I kicked out cash (my last at the time that was gifted to me for a new camera) that I really didn’t have for a 6-week gym challenge and membership. Aside from caring for myself, I would also be caring for my six-year-old niece part-time. It didn’t seem like a lot. The bigger picture was always in mind.
Almost 2 maybe 2.5 years ago, I made a pact with my older sister. I’d previously wanted to attend GSU for grad school, but they didn’t accept me (but it’s all good y’all!). I still wanted to move to Atlanta as I enjoyed my time there during my visits. My sister had moved there to help out a relative and give a place other than L.A. a try. She wanted to go to medical school but felt weighed-down with being an adult (bills and maintaining a home and preparing to purchase a home) and being a mother to an active 6-year-old only child. She would feel guilty for sending my niece to stay with others or continuously placing her in extra-curricular activities that she wouldn’t get to enjoy with her due to trying to reach her goals. So, like most single parents who prioritize their children’s needs and well-being she put medical school on hold. While discussing our goals and what we wanted in life I told her I’d moved to Georgia after graduate school to help with my niece and she’d be able to attend medical school and not feel like she was ignoring her child, or her child was left alone. Two years and a master’s degree later here we are, all in Georgia. I held up my end and so had my sister, just in a different order. Instead of medical school first, she decided to go for the house.
During the process we’ve moved a total of three times. Stressful for all of us! I felt helpless when I was supposed to be coming here to help. My sister felt bad for moving both her daughter and sister to and fro and my niece, just wanted to know where home would be, if she’d have to move schools and obviously get a routine and be with happy (not stressed) adults again. But, homeownership, especially for a first-time buyer is a process that you cannot dictate the length.
The first month was good. We lived in her apartment and all seemed well, until it wasn’t. The complex was under … “big corporate” management if you will. It’s a business I get it, but they weren’t willing to address tenants concerns or issues. We needed to move. The perfect opportunity seemed to present itself. That relative that my sister previously moved for needed someone to house-sit and agreed on a price for us living there. Perfect! Except, life doesn’t operate like that. Another relative whom the first relative had been living with wanted to increase the “rent” after finding out I’d moved out here. It’s always about money. We’d stayed in that home for maybe 2 weeks and needed to be out, yet again, after we’d cleaned this place up from top-to-bottom.
Crunched for time, we sought out apartments in areas nearby. With no lock for immediate availability we moved into a motel. One bedroom, or room in general and one bathroom with a small kitchenette. 2 grown women and 1 child. In a small space, but we had to do what we had to do. For a month. Our budget now exceeded what bills previously had been as we had to pay weekly rates and factor in food, gas and anything else that may be needed.
During this time, I had many thoughts of regret. I moved from L.A. from working two jobs to now accepting a job offer that paid less than the lowest paying job I had back home. I had interviews lined up and had no idea what to say when they asked how far I lived, what area. I just dropped a few hundred on a gym membership and specific groceries to meet a fitness challenge. And I had no place to be alone with my thoughts. I went crazy. My sister did as well. She stressed about the process of buying a home as she’d been super patient and done everything the program had asked. She not only had herself to worry about, but a 6-year-old whom she is responsible for and now her baby sister who had packed up and driven across states to support her in her life goals. Lastly a 6-year-old who couldn’t understand what was going on, why her mom and aunt were “leaving her out of convos” and what house we’d live in next. It sucked!
It took a toll on me mentally, because I felt I had no one other than my sister and mom to talk to about this. I mean, I have two solid friends that I could have spoken to this about, but I can’t stand feeling like a burden and one friend recently got into a graduate program, needed to move and was dealing with a family death. I felt others would judge us. “Two grown women with degrees, one not working and nowhere to live.” Like many other things I kept it to myself and just clung to faith. Prior to the motel move my friend headed to grad school had delivered a message to me that actually bought me to tears. I held on to that because of my faith, my optimism and my belief. That along with knowing my sister had me if I didn’t have myself kept me and bought me throw.
I understand others may have gone through similar things as well. I understand that many people deal with homelessness on another level. I’ve said it to folks I’ve spoken to about being homeless and now I realize that it isn’t always something to be ashamed of depending on context I guess. There are always setbacks in life, but those setbacks are setups for moving on to the next level. You have to appreciate the process as it will definitely cause you to appreciate the end results.
I think the biggest takeaways from this experience were I feel this has definitely strengthened the bond between my sister and I. I’ve found peace knowing that I can go to my sister for anything and she will have my back, there’s a difference between saying it and seeing it. You can plan and plan and plan, but the Universe will always throw you curve balls so be ready. We, as a family, are all stronger than any of us knows and we definitely needed that compact-together-time in today’s technologically driven world. And I definitely now know what to expect when I finally dive in and buy property!
– Viola Constance