Home is where the Heart is……..


Long time no talk hey?

It feels strange but exciting to be back.  I have no idea if anyone is still listening after all these months but I think I’ll just chat myself into a corner if you don’t mind the noise.

So six months of silence, six long months of not having the (excuse the pun) heart to write.  Or rather write anything bloggish and you know what, I haven’t even tried. Not once. Not one itty bitty teensy weeny ounce of trying to get anything written about what had been happening to me.

So what did happen?

I’ve been homeless.  Even as I type the word I still can’t quite comprehend what has happened to me over the last six months from November til May.

I won’t go into all the detail, it was nobodies fault, it was just a set of extraordinary circumstances that happened at once and the end result was that I was left with nowhere to live.  Now being the resourceful person I am I didn’t think I would be homeless for long.  3 weeks tops I told myself and everyone else.  I’ll just need to kip here for a short time.  Bloody hell I bet my friends didn’t know what hit them.

There’s a housing crisis brewing in Bristol and it’s not funny.  I work part-time for an accountant, I have savings, I am also training to be a psychotherapist.  I would go to flat view after flat view.  I turned up on time, was friendly, looked professional, but when I said the words I work part-time – shutters would come down, faces glazed over and false pleasantries were exchanged.  Even when I turned up with a guarantor no one would take me on and ALL of them never bothered to enquire actually how much I earned.  For all they know I could earn quite a lot of money in my part-time job.  Funny how three words ‘Part. Time. Worker.’ gives rise to a massive judgement that you won’t be able to pay your way. in the end it was this judgement that would drive me crazy.

I changed tack, I looked for house shares privately rented.  I had such an understanding landlady in my last home, who never flinched when I said I was being made redundant and that I was starting to train in my chosen new career I’m sure I could find another.  I still paid rent on time, I kept up with bills and surprised myself how little I could actually live on.

So I found the place I live now. Even then after being chosen (they chose me!!) I found out that it was agency managed and the hoops I had to jump through to secure my place.  Even though I was bringing double of what the rent actually costs a month they still didn’t think I could afford the place as I was working part-time…. What discrimination is that?? What the fuck is going on there?? Where do we go? What if I was in real trouble, what if I didn’t have 3 amazing sentinels who opened their homes to me? I was one step away from sleeping in the car, one step away from losing everything. This, I now understand, is how easy it is to become homeless….

Never again will I judge a homeless person, it could really not be their ‘fault’ yes, that now makes me a soft touch to beggars on the street but I don’t care, I give my spare change to someone asking for money to get into a homeless shelter for the night, I know how easy it is to fall that far.

So there it was, if you work part-time, if you are trying to make something of yourself, if you find yourself wanting, don’t ever become homeless, the £180 agency fee for what I can see to send 3 emails equals to £60 an email, easy cash.

Now I’m in my new home.  I live with people I’m still trying to get to know.  The place is peaceful, the people kind, there is a healing feel to the space.  Its crafty and bakey and arty and I am beginning to relax.  Though the first 4 weeks I completely fell apart.  I couldn’t stop crying, I threw more stuff away, I had an allergic reaction to my ‘things’ that I hadn’t seen for so long.  I hated ALL the clothes I owned – whose clothes were in the closet? Not mine, mine are in the suitcase I’ve been living out of for the last 6 months. But slowly, slowly I’m beginning to feel more ‘me’. I’ve stopped saving boxes for packing though I still when anybody asks, say “at the moment I’m living in…… ” which has only just been pointed out to me.  I’m hoping that will cease soon.

Looking back over the last six months I’m staggered at how completely and utterly mad that situation was, and now the self-criticism is kicking in.  What the fuck was I thinking?  Why did I allow that to go on so long? Why didn’t I defer my course and go get a full-time job and save? Why didn’t I just give up the idea of my training to be a therapist and just get on with a nice office job? But in my defence I was too deeply in it to see the sense, it was always next week I’ll get that flat and so on.

There are three people who fed into my innate sense of keeping going, three people I will never ever be able to thank enough.  Three people who when I felt abandoned by others stood by me.  It is interesting that I started to feel taboo, Yep this is kinda my stuff, but I did feel a kind of social pariah when I was homeless. I felt I wasn’t able to talk about how it felt, because I’d brought it on myself. Ever tried to be invisible in somebody elses home? It’s not easy however welcome you are made to feel I always felt that I was outstaying my welcome. I felt I wasn’t suitable person to have around, I was now a flakey person and yes I became flakey, ( I was incredibly stressed trying to carry on with my course, ever tried writing your own psychobiography when you’re homeless – it’s a mammoth emotional task even when you have stability around you and when you are in a place of feeling real fear, fear that you’re going to piss off the person you are staying with that they kick you out, it’s down right nearly impossible…) and all that made me sad. I miss the contact.  But understand that everyone’s life is busy and full.

So three people who watched out for me, who believed in me, that has not happened for a long time, having people believe in ME. That has been such an amazing thing when my own self belief was thrashing around in a sea of fear, these three people said, “we will help you, come and live in our spare rooms, because we believe that what you are doing is important.” For that I am eternally grateful, thankful and yes, ashamed, ashamed and grateful that I had to rely on those people.  I’m usually the self-sufficient one, the one who can provide its been a massive learning curve.

So now hopefully I can be a little less flakey, a bit more organised and though the next year is going to be financially tougher (the belt is being pulled tighter still) I’ll get to have some fun times again.

That’s where I’ve been and what’s all this to do with CHD?  Nothing, nothing at all.  I’ve always said I’m more than my heart condition, but I think this was a  bloody stupid way of proving that…. 😉