So a while back I failed to update this blog for the better part of a year. I wanted to write during that dark time but I could not. I was terrified that someone might discover it and thus me. This is the first time in my life I have been afraid to write, to document the happenings of my life.
So “What were you so freaked out about?” you wonder. It was a combination of strange things that led me to cease writing. It wasn’t that I stopped blogging I stopped writing all of the other things I should have been writing. I just couldn’t take it. I didn’t want to write about the darkness, the fear, the desperation that had engulfed my life for seemingly no reason, no doing of my own. I knew it would not last forever but every time I tried to solve my problems I was met with disappointment.
In a nutshell, here is how it went down:
I was living in an apartment in a seriously questionable neighborhood with my sweetie. If you have ever watched the show The Wire, that is the sort of place we were shacked up. I moved across the country to live with her, that is where she was. I’m comfortable in the ghetto so it didn’t bother me that much, but it was a lot even for me.
So we are living in this shithole and then one day in broad daylight a kid gets shot. I don’t mean a little kid but a 23 year old man. The shooting happened in broad daylight right in front of the room I was sleeping in, my sweetie was coming in from the supermarket with bags of food and she saw a gunman running with his arms stretched out and gun ready to fire. She says it looked just like it does in the movies.
I was napping. I didn’t notice that a shooting had taken place, the cops put up yellow tape, the news crews swarmed the place. I slept on. When I came out of my deep hibernation I became aware of the gravity of the situation. For a second I thought ‘we should move’ but then I thought ‘nah, its not likely to happen again any time soon, its the hood, whatever, I’m not gonna take all these books down the stairs. No moving.’
But then two days later my sweetie went out to get some writing done at a coffee house and I stayed in. Someone started banging on the back door like they were gonna break it down. I was not about to open it. I got a billyclub and waited. When they tried to climb in the bathroom window I jumped into the tub and jammed the window all the way closed (thank goodness it was a self locking sort) and had some screaming confrontation with a would be burglar. I then called 911.
When the cops came they tried to get me to open the door. I explained to them that I was not going to, that I had just had my home almost broken into, that I had no peep hole, didn’t know if they were really cops, and was going to decline to open the door. I was scared. They told me I had to open the door, that I must, then they started banging on it like they were goanna kick it in. “No warrant no entry” I told them “you are supposed to be here to protect me, not kick my door in, someone just tried to do that, go out back and look for them, do your job coppers.” They retorted with “were goanna get a warrant.” And that is when I realized that were gonna have to move.
Within hours there were friends there moving the precious things out, we got a storage unit and split. My sweetie went to stay with these friends but I went (with my old orange cat, Cat face McCoy Secret Agent RIP) to stay in a hotel near a strip club. I danced and looked for a place to live. I found nothing. People would not rent to me because I was from someplace else. Everything in my price range required things I could not produce like pay stubs, birth certificates, and social security cards. I just didn’t have the paperwork to rent in the slums, the other stuff was really expensive.
I kept looking and looking and looking and after three weeks I found a place in the mountains. It was really lovely little three bedroom with a claw foot tub, gas stove, hardwood floors, parking, and it was next to a really old cemetery. I loved it and I gave the old man a deposit. He said I could pick up the keys and move in on the first. We had a deal.
I went back to my hotel room and slept for the first time in weeks. I stopped looking for a place and started getting excited to live in the mountains. The night preceding the first of the month I got a phone call from the old man who told me that he goggled me and that he didn’t know I was queer. He said ‘you seemed like a normal person, I didn’t know you were a lesbian’ I kept talking to him like the conversation were having was legit. I eventually burst into tears and hung up. I sobbed and sobbed trying to wrap my head around the homophobic encounter I had just had with this landlord. After a few minutes I calmed down and realized that the only other person on the property up there in the hills was him. I would be out there in the mountains with this bigot as my landlord. I just couldn’t do it. I need to have a peaceful living situation. I called him and asked him to mail my deposit back to my po box. I went to the hotel lobby and extended my stay.
I spent the night looking at my options. I decided that there was no more time to look for a place. I was being shot down everywhere I went. I figured I would just move to NYC and get it over with. I want to live in NYC and I knew I would be able to find a place there. I might have to share it but I will be in new york. I’m going.
Seventy two hours later I was driving to NYC with my old orange cat. We found a room in New Jersey and I started making calls and sending messages. I found a place to live in Greenpoint. It had an awesome view. I was sharing it with someone who would only be there during the week. I looked like things were working out.
Then I tried to find work. That was problematic. I have been a freelance weirdo my entire adult life. I was not quite finished with my masters degree and my primary source of income had been stripping. I hit the titty bars all glammed up. I got hired at some of them, but most of them told me I was too old and too fat. It was really discouraging.
People have a huge misconception that New York is a great place to be a stripper. It is not. The clubs were dead, the competition is young and Russian. I didn’t stand a chance in there. But I didn’t know what to do. I was bleeding money looking for a gig in the city. I realized pretty fast that to live in New York I need to have my shit together in a way that I just do not. I packed up and headed back to new England where at least I could make money.
I went to my office and made it habitable. I rearranged things, put a mattress on the floor, a bookcase to block the view from the outside. I made a little hole for me and catface to live in. Living in the office, dancing at the club, showering at the YMCA. I thought I would be able to get a lot of work done living in the office, but it took me by surprise when I became really paranoid about anyone finding out I was living in there, so I spent all my energy looking like I was not there ALL the time.
The office is a cold place littered with furnishings from the 1970s. There was a very small micro fridge and a microwave. No one worked at night but me anyway so I slept during the day. I could hear the office workers clicking keyboards and answering phones. I could distinguish who was coming into the office by the sound of their keys. I could hear the elevator and know if the bing happened on the floor beneath me that I could breathe and that people were not about to invade my office. I waited for the lights in the main office to go out at night before I came out of my hole. Meanwhile, catface is pissed.
I know that some of the people who are in and around my office have read my blog and/or fronded me on facebook. I wanted to write about how scared I was, homeless and alone in my office all winter but I could not for fear of being found out. Then where would I go? This was really the end of the road for me. I had tried and tried and there was no place to live.
Things that compounded my little depressing spiral of loneliness included the fact that my sweetie was still living with these friends not looking for a place for ‘us’, that I have been very ill for a number of years with some sort of mystery thing, and the burden of my undone thesis. Every time I thought about updating my blog with a sexy story I thought about my thesis, how I should work on it, how I should document the strange time I was having to share with people later. But I was paralyzed by fear. Homelessness is a bitch.
So, now you know. I stopped writing because I was homeless, scared, cold and alone. My cat died a few weeks before my birthday last year. I stayed in my office for six more months before I decided that maybe just maybe this little village I found in southern new England might be a better place to find a home. Lucky for me, it was.
So I’m writing this out now knowing that there is a lot more to it, that this is not the last you have heard about my homeless year. I just wanted to tell you, that’s why I didn’t update. But things are looking up now and I’m writing everyday.