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It Is Not Okay

In February I felt that maybe I'd be out of the shelter by the end of the month. (But that was false)I planned that I would spend March celebrating Christmas for myself and all the parts of me that never were able to before. I planned I'd spend April, my birthday month, doing one thing every day to celebrate that I am still alive after everything I've had to survive. But this morning I realized...


That April is almost halfway over.


I had such a mixture of feelings inside of me when I came to that realization. I tried to tell myself that it's okay. That I'm going to be okay. That I'll get out of this place eventually.


Telling myself it's okay is usually the first thing I can think to say to try to comfort the hurting parts inside of me that want attention. Most times it doesn't help and this morning is one of those times.


There's an anguished cry that rises up inside of me:


It's not okay that I'm still in the shelter.
It's not okay that I won't be out of here before my birthday.
It's not okay that I can't have privacy.
It's not okay that I can't have a clean kitchen to cook in.
It's not okay that I won't get to celebrate Christmas for myself.
It's not okay that I don't have the energy to work enough to support myself.
It's not okay that I can't open the windows for fresh air.
It's not okay that I don't feel safe enough to relax.
It's not okay that I can't work on projects because I'm afraid people will take my stuff.
It's not okay that I am in survival mode all the time.
It's not okay that I can't get enough sleep.
It's not okay that I have to listen to moms yelling at their kids all the time.
It's not okay that the only place I feel somewhat safe is in my car.
It's not okay that I can't have a garden.
It's not okay that my plants are dying because I don't have a good place to keep them.
It's not okay that I can't enjoy my own belongings because it's all in storage.
It's not okay that I am struggling just to survive.

It's not okay! keeps reverberating through my whole being. A part of me tries to shush the anguished part because it's dangerous to make a stir. It's dangerous to be seen and heard. That part of me shushing is trying to protect me from more pain. Trying to quiet the pain and make myself small so that I won't be seen and heard. So that I won't rock the boat. So I won't be blamed for still being in the shelter. She's only trying to protect...


But the anguish is still there. The disappointment. The hurt of the fake friend who caused me to end up in the shelter. The anger and rage at the unfairness of it all.


"It's not fair!"
"It's not okay!"
"I don't know how much longer I can live like this!"
"I'm so tired of trying to hang on to hope!"
"Will this go on forever?"

The anguished screams rise inside of me like a violent storm threatening to break loose at any moment.


But it's hidden from anyone else's eyes.


Any person coming into the room would see a tired person laying on their bed typing on their phone. No sign of distress. No tears. In another bed is a roommate, fast asleep.


Why? You may ask. I say, because I don't feel safe. Thus it is hidden from all but the most trained and discerning eyes. I learned to hide a long time ago. To hide the pain. To hide the turmoil. But especially to hide the rage. The anger. At all the injustices done to me.


What would happen if I didn't, you may wonder. Perhaps I might ask, what DID happen when I didn't hide those painful emotions in the past? Do you wanna know?


I got hurt. I was shut down. I was punished. I was silenced. I was raged at. I was not listened to. Those hurt parts of me were squashed down so I could survive. So that I didn't get hurt more. So I don't lose more friends.


I've often been told I'm a sweet, quiet person, who wouldn't want to be my friend? But they don't see all the parts of me. Especially the hurting parts. Because too often people try to help and comfort, but instead they cause more pain. They try to fix me. But that's not what I need.


They also don't see me for who I really am. They don't look below the surface with curiosity to see who I really am at my core being. Why? Because they cannot connect on the level that I desire to connect with. They aren't willing to deal with their own pain and go into their own hard places like I am doing. Therefore we are separated. There is a disconnect. I can only relate on their level but they cannot relate to me on my level because I am much deeper than they are.


"It's not okay!"
"It's not fair!"

The anguished cries rise from deep inside. They bleed through my fingers into words that you can read. The words are words. The emotion behind them is like a tsunami. Threatening. Overwhelming. Yet hidden from sight. Hidden from view. I mean, after all, who really is able to withstand the avalanche once it were to become tangible and visible?


The parts inside of me cry in anguish and yet if you were to actually see them it would look like this:


A little girl would be sitting on a windowsill leaning against a closed window. She would be looking forlornly out into a beautiful, warm spring day with flowers blooming and butterflies fluttering. The sun would be warmly shining on the flowering trees and the singing birds. The grass looks like a lovely green carpet to run through barefooted. There are worlds to explore but she's stuck inside with a window in between where she can only view the outside world and catch glimpses of beauty. But it's all just outside of her reach. No matter how hard she tries she just can't find a way to get around that window.


Oh, you might think, but you can leave the shelter. You can go to nature preserves. You can go out and enjoy the fresh air. You can go exploring. You can do so many things.


It might look that way, I may rejoin, and I do do those things. The problem is I can't seem to fully enjoy them because I always have to come back to the shelter. I always have to come back to this environment where I can't trust anyone. I always have to come back to a shared bedroom and lack of privacy. I always have to come back to a dirty kitchen and people who don't clean up after themselves. I always have to come back to the reality that I am unable to work enough to support myself. Those little bits of time when I can escape reality are like heaven but it doesn't help much when I always have to come back to a painful reality.


The cries of anguish rise inside the little girl sitting forlornly on the windowsill. But you can't see it. Or hear it. Hidden from your view is a rainbow colored teddy bear who's looking out the window with her. It gives a little bit of comfort to her.

I stand behind her. I know the anguish she feels. I want to comfort her but I don't know how. You see, I feel trapped just like she does. I want to care for her. Nourish her. Give her freedom to enjoy all the things she never could. To surround her with beauty and love and care. But especially freedom. Freedom to be herself.


I try.

I've tried so hard.

But whatever I am able to give to her is darkened by the reality of my situation. The anguished cries rise from both our souls. We both feel trapped. We both feel like we're suffocating in this environment. We both have been hanging on to hope for dear life even though our fingers are cramping in pain and we're terrified of what will happen if we can't hold on anymore.

I tried so hard to make a better life for myself and all my parts so that we can heal and be free from all the horrible things done to us. I tried so hard. I am so tired. Exhausted. The anguish rises. I can't shush it anymore. It's real. I can't hide it anymore.

I wonder how much longer I have to stay here in this place and if I will continue to fall through the cracks of programs that were originally designed to help people like me. People who have been treated so inhumanely that it's amazing they're still alive. People whom life has almost destroyed. Whom people's selfish choices have nearly broken them to pieces and dashed the hopes and dreams to pieces.


I don't know what will happen. Even if I find a place it will take several weeks to get everything taken care of so I could move out of the shelter. That means it will be past my birthday. Into May....


I'm told that good things are ahead. That blessings are coming my way.

I try to see.

To believe.

But all we see is the closed window.

We have tried so hard to open or get around it but nothing opens for us.

The room is bare.

There's nothing nourishing in it.

It is cold and bare and ugly.

It is a repulsive place to be but since we can't get out we're trying to somehow survive, hoping against hope that something will give way somewhere.


But the anguish still rises. Accompanied by fear and anxiety and anger. I can't shush it anymore. The disappointment is palpable. I struggle to figure out how to replan the months ahead so that I have something to look forward to. It's too far into spring for me to want to celebrate Christmas anymore. Gone is the desire to do something everyday to celebrate that I'm still alive...


In its place is just the desire for freedom and a garden where I can grow things. The desire for a safe place to live so I can get out of survival mode.

That's all.

Just a safe place and a garden and freedom.


I deserve a safe place to live.

I deserve freedom to enjoy life.

I deserve to have a place to grow things.


It's not too much to ask.

In fact, I could ask for a lot more and bigger things.

But right now, these are the things my heart desires.

When they will become reality, I don't know.

It could be months.

It could be years.

I don't know.

I just know I can't hold on much longer.

I don't know how I've been able to hang on as long as I have.

I never dreamed my life would go like this.

I mean, I could be living on the streets.

I'm glad I'm not.


But...

The anguish still rises.

Blurs my vision.

Claws desperately at hope.

But you can't see it.

It's just a little girl sitting on a windowsill, looking forlornly out into a springtime world, on the brink of giving up.

Feeling like this where she has to spend the rest of her days.

I want to help her.

I want to care for her.

But I haven't been able to.

It looks like we're doomed to this bare ugly room.

I hate it for her.

I hate it for me.

Still the anguish remains...


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