Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Still In Need, Still In Hope

Still in need but haven't lost hope.

"But how did this happen" you say? How can you an employed and respectable citizen one day be at home and be homeless in a creepy little motel the next?

It's easier than you might understand. Most Americans are only one month's distance from disaster, and disaster doesn't always take the  tragic form. Maybe a check bounced and threw your monthly budget off. Maybe you don't have too much family to fall back on. Maybe you got sick - which is what happened in my case combined with few family members. 

Ah but when is family NOT family. I called my very old dear grandmother for help two months ago and she delivered fast and on the money. But it was terrifyingly apparent that Mother and I were in trouble for the next month's rent. My mother is suffers from chronic depression, which is a cruel disease as you may know if you ever suffered from it: inside her complicated but brilliant brain is a library of knowledge so vast and deep...it's just that her brain chemistry betrays her in a awful and tortured manner even when all is alright.

So my Nana has gotten old and my Mom is disabled BUT at least that's a little bit of income from her. From me? Well I was two months in the bed from a pain flare caused by endometriosis and myofascial pelvic syndrome. Oh and my doctors advised me to take Ibuprofen. You'll get the joke if you're a woman. 

Two months sick and you've fallen behind in ways where it seems no one can help you and you're falling down and down and down....

So what about emergency housing? What about shelters in Indianapolis?

This is an excellent question but I can't really explain to you how few resources there are in Indianapolis. Yes there are maybe ten shelters. Of those ten five only take families with children. Many others only take women with children. Only one caters to single women. The others are just full.

So you'll just have to adjust! Roll with the punches! One of my dearest friends called me twice in a one week period of time to give me what she thought was a pep talk. In the talk she told me how strong I was, how clever and educated that I could ride out the storm. Also she said, You need to let Mom do her own thing; you come back here to NYC and Mom can find something to do. And my mother has been my friend, my nurse, my rock and my heart.

This is the worst piece of advice I ever received. No. I can't leave Mom to just "find something to do". And quite frankly perhaps many folks don't realize that fifteen years of endometriosis and myofascial pelvic disorder have left me a sort of strange cripple, a disabled person who looks healthy and toned on the outside but in exceedingly exquisite pain on the inside. The pain is everyday all day.

So Mom and I watched the countdown to eviction. I went to court last week and I had never ever been to court before. I walked a few blocks to the bus stop so I could get there on time. While I was waiting a man looking a bit scruffy approached to the same stop and I felt a moment of panic: I'm no punk and no silly girl either but there are often times when it's fearful to be a woman alone. Turns out this guy was an angel from God. 

"Can I bum a cigarette," I asked, seeing one perched behind his ear.

He grimaced, "My last one" So we began talking and Terry shared his cigarette with me. As I was puffing he pulled out half a smoked blunt and shared that as well. I will never, ever be able to explain how deep my gratitude is for Terry that morning at 8:30am.  Calmed and sweetened by that blunt I entered the court room with no fear and no worry. The judge called my name and read some things at me and twice I had to ask him to repeat himself twice because I was so blazed that I couldn't hear. 

That Monday of last week, court day, was the best day I have had all year: yes, I was officially legally evicted but also I had been nudged by the Universe that life hadn't ended, that I can be in the midst of danger, disaster and downtrodden circumstance and still FEEL happy, calm, composed and joyful. 

Now if you had tried to tell me such a thing was possible two weeks ago I might have given you a beat down motivated by anger, disbelief, stress and fear.

I'm in  a strange state: I've been advised to live one day at a time but that's not easy when you have ten days til the next paycheck which is going to be short anyway from your overdrawn checking account.

It's a nightmare to be out on your own in a world with no permanent place called home. It's terrifying. But I didn't know when I woke up yesterday and went down to wait for my landlord to show up in her office to ask for an extension, some mercy, just a little more time ("I can't help you. You can't stay here. You owe us a lot of money! You can't stay here and not pay rent!" I was behind one single month and still evicted -- Again Indiana doesn't have the protective elements that are typical in NYC and Chicago) I didn't know that friends would come through and make sure we weren't out in the cold.

I am honestly afraid of being out in the cold. Worse, there seems to be hardly any social services even for the elderly and disabled as my mother is.

Our original plan was to relocate to Chicago to stay with my old, old Nana. But a family fight broke out and we were informed that I was allowed to stay ("you're ours we have a responsibility to take care of you" from the cousin I have met one time -- at my father's funeral) but my mother would not be allowed to stay, in apparent retaliation for -- what?  We don't know. Don't care either, not really. Truly, I called my Chicago relatives for help because we were so desperate that we couldn't afford to be picky but the cousins who have drawn the Iron Curtain to separate me from my Nana (I think she's dying) are people I do not know, two of the three I've met  once.

So these people who profess their love of Jesus Christ, told me how loved I was yet denied us any houseroom. And why would I go and protect my own ass and leave my mother to starve. It's so embarrassing that I almost feel like I shouldn't reveal such a petty, cruelty as this. But the shame isn't mine, but theirs.

So for now relocation is....hazy. I've got to have some cash to work with or someone willing to take in wanderers. I'm hoping that maybe we can cut some of the red tape by just showing up to a shelter in wealthy New Trier County ....? But for now we're here in this motel where the desk clerk told me extra blankets don't come with our room package.

*sigh* BUT!! I'm in bed and warm. 

I need help, advice and prayers. Definitely. Do send those along especially the prayers.

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