This morning I went to the doctor for a checkup. I just expected that I'd get myself checked out and perhaps get some help to get some food stamps or something. I certainly did not expect what would happen.
The doctor came in and asked some questions and the story of my situation came tumbling out. After a few more questions and checking me out she told me I came to the right place. Then I was handed over to a patient advocate. I wasn't sure of her at first but she was kind and understanding. I told her how I called the last place and they told me to come when I'm homeless. That seemed to upset and she said she's going to make a phone call to them.
When she came back she said we're going to do a conference call and that my situation is being treated as domestic violence. Before the phone call was over I was told that I was going to be taken to a safe house and I wept. Why? I'm not quite sure. I think just the relief and knowing I was getting help after I had tried everything I knew. And had given up and accepted that I would need to face my second to worst fear of being homeless. I am now technically considered homeless but it's such a relief that I didn't have to wait another 3 weeks.
We tried to do a call to work out the food and medical assistance but after sitting on the phone for over an hour we gave up and I signed papers for her to be my advocate in the matter. By this time I was exhausted and hungry.
Next we went to the house where I would be staying and I was handed over to another individual who gave me a little tour and then we did a bunch more paperwork and I answered so many questions. By the time we finished and I was given things to help me settle in it was after 2pm. I had been at the doctor's office at 8:45 am. I was extremely exhausted and could hardly function anymore. Usually I don't do much more than sit up an hour after breakfast before lying back down for most of the day so this was a huge stretch for me...
I found some oatmeal in the pantry and made something to eat. Everything else took to much energy to prepare and other things weren't marked so it made it hard for me because I didn't want to use anyone else's stuff. Then I went and laid down to rest for about an hour. I need to share a room with 2 other ladies so I'm a bit concerned that I won't have enough space to decompress or feel safe. I have no curtain or anything to give me a feeling of being separate and secluded. I had been kinda expecting my own space so it was a bit of a disappointment. But I guess I'll give it a try.
After I had a bit of rest I felt a little better and wanted to run to the post office that I didn't get done because my day went differently than expected. I also decided that I would run home to get some clothes, my camera and paint supplies, and some food. I didn't know what I'd face when I got home. I just hoped I won't have to face her.
She was home but I got in the front door and upstairs without having to face her. I heard her moving around but when I was part way through gathering my stuff together she left and I was so pleased because I wondered how I'm going to going to get my stuff out of the house without her catching on that something is up even though I'm sure she will think about it tonight when I'm not there. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to tell her and how much.
I feel better now knowing I dont have to spend another night at that house. I've got a full stomach. And maybe now that some of the stress and unknowns are lifted it might not be so hard here after all. Everyone has been friendly so far. There are some friendly children running around too.
Another thing that I'm realizing is that because of the way she has treated me, if she's not careful, it could get her in hot water at some point. If she shows up at all at the place where I'm at or the organization, the way I understand it, she would immediately be taken to jail. Now, while I don't wish it on her, I hope that somehow she will be "brought to her senses" and be made to understand the implications of portraying herself as a safe person and advocate and then flipping out when the person she's trying to help no longer fulfills her way of using them to give her a sense of worth because they set boundaries. Now that the dust is settled in my situation I can see it for what it is and if she isn't careful it could get her in some mighty hot water.
Also now that I'm here and getting used to the sights and sounds, I am reminded of the group homes that I've been in in the past. For example, right now I'm in the living room lying on the sofa. I hear people in the kitchen and now and then I hear childish voices and little feet pattering on the hard floor. I wasn't sure if it's ok to lay on the sofa. But nothing was said about it so I decided to stretch out a bit. I remember all the rule etiquette that had to be followed down to wearing knee high socks because it was considered modest. Now I find all those things come flooding back making me unsure what is allowed and what isn't. But...there were no rules about dress given. It's a new thing to experience to not have it dictated what can or can't be worn. This is definitely going to be a different experience.
I found myself also noticing that old feeling of pride? or self righteousness? niggling at me in the background because now I'm surrounded by the very people that used to be made fun of, mocked, etc in the culture I grew up in. The hopeless. The smokers. The people who look like slobs so to speak. I dont know their stories. I am not better than them. I am equal. We are all homeless. We all come from painful situations. Instead compassion is needed. Giving them space. Listening to their stories. I am one of them. I am not better than them. I am different, yes. I grew up in a different culture. There is so much I don't know that could make me look ignorant. But we are on the same level. We may have similar situations but there's no room for pride or self righteousness. Just compassion. And love. And care. And safety.
I am glad to be here now and I'm looking forward to being equal and perhaps making friends as I rest...