My father chased me out of his house when I was 20. I was smoking a shit ton of weed and drinking and basically doing whatever the fuck I wanted. He had remarried a woman that at the time was not someone I wanted anything to do with. I was lost in myself. I had my car to take me to people who would get me fucked up. I had a duffel bag of clothes in that car. I was promiscuous and did drugs and didn’t give any of the fucks. I don’t even remember the names of all the men I slept with. It was a time of terrible decision making and living (literally) dangerously. It wasn’t good. I was trying to escape. I wanted distractions. I wanted to be numbed out and to forget how I really felt. Which was broken, and sad, and lost.
The time I spent homeless, was a stream of crashing here, and there, and wherever. I made it a year. I don’t remember this time clearly, because I wasn’t sober enough of it to remember. I had sex for fun, learned to clean so I could stay on someones sofa, did random drugs at random houses with random people, and ended up staying at this guy’s apartment in the end… and I only remember the apartment because it was where I was staying when I found out my grandfather had died.
I wasn’t super close to him, but my sister came and told me and let me know we were gonna fly home to Ohio for the funeral… and it flipped a switch. I remember dying a little when I realized how I was wasting time. I had 20 years of life under my belt and had accomplish nothing. I don’t know how long after that trip and that funeral I ended up in the hospital but it couldn’t have been long. I wasn’t taking medication, and my body and mind and everything was so off the charts broken it was inevitable. I checked into the psych hospital and shortly after, there was a blizzard. It snowed HARD. It snowed hard enough for the poor nurses that were working the night it happened to be trapped in with us. For at least three days. I think those nurses learned what it felt like to be locked in a hospital during those days, and I hope they were better for it.
Being told I can’t leave somewhere, being monitored, the crap food, sharing a room with someone probably crazier than I am, boring activities, getting fed medication… the whole thing blew hard. But I stayed because I was broken and I knew I had nowhere else to go. The doctor was kind enough not to discharge me. They let me stay there a month and a half. Then they found be an in-system halfway house. It was mostly for people in recovery, but I guess I was too in a way so I lived there while I was given help getting my own place. I got my first apartment shortly after I turned 21.
I still smoked weed, which I continued to do until just a few years ago when I realized that was me self-medicating and it was keeping my actual medication from working. I was just stoned all the time. I still wanted to be numbed out. Life was fucking awful. I went to bars with friends and was cute enough to get free drinks and get wasted and play pool… on the surface it looked fun. But I was still so broken. I had this boyfriend, a REALLY cute guy who was way more put together than me, who I believe has a pretty decent life as far as I can tell on facebook. He and I ended up breaking up because I was a mess and couldn’t not wake up and smoke a bowl, and he didn’t like it. He didn’t care if I smoked weed alone, but I couldn’t even stay sober while we were together. It was pathetic and was the reason I finally stopped dating.
I was such a mess, I realized it was stupid to try and include anyone else in that. Him breaking up with me helped me. Funny how that works, people leaving me being helpful. My dad kicking me out was a catalyst for me being homeless but then getting my own place. That guy breaking up with me was the kick off of me being single for about 10 years until I could be present in a relationship. Starting to wonder what amazing thing I’ll get out of my most recent breakup…
Anyway. In about 2007 I quit smoking. Everything. I gave up cigarettes and marijuana. I went through fucking withdrawals and it was terrible. The fog I had hidden in was gone, and lights were too bright, sounds were too loud, and everything was scary. That’s probably when my anxiety first picked up again hard. Reality is much scarier when you are sober. I decided to learn to cook a little. Eat better. Learn to get off my ass and get into the “healthy range” of weight for someone my age and height. I have been trying ever since to be the kind of person I don’t look back at and regret. And I don’t. All that crazy shit I did, and bad choices I made that could have certainly got me killed or raped or who knows what, led me here. I know they were bad choices, and I wouldn’t do them again, but I can’t ignore they brought me to here so I don’t regret them. They say you can’t have light without darkness, and I learned a lot from all of those years.
I do miss being high. I miss the fog. I miss being able to numb out the pain. I’m still broken, but the difference is now I’m dealing with it. Or trying. I’m trying to make better choices and surround myself with better people. I don’t have random sex with random people and I don’t do any drugs except my prescriptions and I take them as directed. I am trying. I am try so hard and its not easy yet. I don’t know that it ever will be. But I’m not homeless, and I’m not wasted. I’m here, and I’m present for my pain. I think there’s a lot of people who can’t say that.
I turn 33 this year, and every time I have a birthday I think to myself “I can’t believe I’m still fucking alive.” Because it’s a miracle I somehow haven’t killed myself or gotten myself killed or something. I never thought I’d make it to 21. I never thought I’d make it to 25. I never thought I’d make it to 30. Every year is a surprise. Some things, every year, so really good. A lot of things, really still suck. But I guess that’s just how life is. At least it’s making for an interesting story.

But what do you do when you turn and there’s nobody there?
Sometimes all I want and need is someone to hug. Someone that will let me cry as long as I need and won’t mind the tears on her shoulders. Someone that will tell me that everything will be ok.
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