This weekend is Memorial Day in the US. This weekend is often time for cookouts, parades, and gatherings with friends. Memorial Day weekend has an entirely different meaning for me. It is about remembering, but it is also about celebrating. This is the weekend a major milestone was achieved.
This weekend is the one year anniversary of moving in with my boyfriend. The struggle of being homeless was officially over.
Finding a place to live for me meant everything. It meant freedom. It meant autonomy. It also meant feeling like a human being after what may easily be the hardest struggle of my life. Being homeless dehumanizes you. It makes you hard edged and cynical. You learn not to trust anyone since every person you meet in the streets is up to something. Since you have to find ways and means to survive, you find yourself doing things you never would, like panhandling. Having nothing teaches you how to survive. It also shows you how to appreciate what you have.
When you live in a homeless shelter, getting out seems like a pipe dream. As the date to sign the lease drew closer, i began to dream about it. Was I really moving into an apartment? The whole experience was surreal.
Moving into an apartment meant leaving the world of begging, shelters, and not knowing who to trust behind for good. It represented a new start in my life with a person I can see myself growing old with. We realized that we would be able to create a nice home for ourselves and that is what we have done. Our apartment even has two spoiled cats who are like our kids.
We have talks of purchasing a house together. Due to my medical conditions, I am a homemaker now. I have taken to my new role and enjoy it. Life has gone back to normal for the most part. I remember all too well the days living on Long Island in an unfinished basement sleeping next to an oil tank. Those days are a far off memory. They taught me how to survive something I thought was impossible. Those days showed me that I can have a good life.
This year went by so fast. Time flies when you are having fun.