When I was nineteen I was homeless. I couch surfed, slept in cars and there was even a week in which I lived with my pastor. Ultimately I ended up in a homeless shelter specifically designed for youth under the age of twenty that had rules more like a halfway house than anything else.
My mom had passed away when I was seventeen years old, I have four other siblings who wanted nothing to do with me. My oldest brother and I had fallen out three months after my mother passed, it was over money. My oldest sister was and still is an alcoholic, who was couch surfing herself with her own kids being taken care of by their older siblings. My middle sibling and I were into it over money as well (mix in a little identity theft… long story.) and my youngest brother was in and out of town fighting court cases by his two baby mothers. Ultimately I was by myself.
So, here I was nineteen, fighting depression and homeless taking classes at Mott Community College cause “College is the way out” at least that’s what they use to tell me, (teachers, counselors, therapists etc.) wishing that my mom had left me inheritance money to disappear away from the world.
I was leaning on my two friends (no exaggeration. I had two friends.) heavy at this time and I remember one of them encouraging me to reach out to one of my many aunts & uncles, to swallow my pride and humble myself, cause “there’s more people out there that want to help you than you think.” So I bought into it telling myself that I’d call my aunt and I’d apologize for shutting myself off from my family and alienating myself, that I would put my pride to the side and beg her to help me out this one time and that I’d forever be indebted. Life had other plans for me.
I tried calling her phone for a week and ended up getting sent straight to voicemail. Being young and naive I kept telling myself it was because she didn’t know the phone number but I did know where she worked at, and this is where it gets fun. To run into her I scheduled a doctor’s appointment at her job. When I get there, she sees me, it’s almost like a shock on her face. I’m given an immediate apology, “I’ve been busy, I was gonna call you back.” She even cries and tells me how much I look just like my mother and how she misses her dearly. At this point I’m crying too and I tell her about my situation. She looks me right in my eyes and says “At least when you get it, you’ll feel better knowing you did it with no help.”
I instantly stopped crying cause I immediately got it, She wasn’t ignoring my calls because she was too busy, she was ignoring my calls because she wanted nothing to do with me. There was a lesson in all of this that she wanted me to get. A lesson that admittedly, I still have not learned.
When I walked out of the clinic, I got into my friend’s car and I just cried my eyes out, to this day one of the worst cries I’ve ever had in my life. I just could not understand why all of this stuff was happening to me. I became extremely closed off to people after that. I still am to this day because it works. I have no desire to be close to people anymore because I always end up feeling like when I need them most they never show up and getting older I now understand that they are not entitled to, and neither am I.
When you’re young you’re told to treat people how you’d like to be treated, be the friend you’d want somebody to be to you. Spoiler Alert: You’ll go crazy. If you want to do something nice for someone do it with the expectation of the favor never being returned and wait for the universe to repay you karmically. That’s something I’m learning as I currently type this.
The hard lessons I’ve learned as an adult are;
1. Family are the people you are related to by blood and that’s it, your entitled to nothing more from them, no matter how many people come up to you at your mother’s funeral promising to be there whenever you need them.
2. Strangers will come out of the blue and support you stronger than someone that has known you you’re whole life. Find a way to appreciate that and pay it forward.
3. Every now and then be selfish. No matter how many weird looks or underhanded statements you receive for this, do it anyway.
and 4. The only people entitled to help you are your parents and when they’re gone, you’re on your own kid.
I really don’t know how I am suppose to end this but I really just wanted to get it out, whether it’s seen by 1 person or 1 million, and hopefully for people that know me it helps them understand a small piece of my personality.
To Be Continued..