Being homeless made me who I am today

Throughout+this+whole+experience%2C+I+never+lost+faith+or+even+doubted+for+a+second+that+my+family+would+find+happiness+again.
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Being homeless made me who I am today

Throughout this whole experience, I never lost faith or even doubted for a second that my family would find happiness again.

Throughout this whole experience, I never lost faith or even doubted for a second that my family would find happiness again.

Marjorie Lichner

Throughout this whole experience, I never lost faith or even doubted for a second that my family would find happiness again.

Marjorie Lichner

Marjorie Lichner

Throughout this whole experience, I never lost faith or even doubted for a second that my family would find happiness again.

Jorie Alexander, Freelance Writer

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It all started with the eviction notice, a screaming hot pink piece of paper in a brown hallway, a brown door, brown stairs and a brown floor.

My family was unable to keep paying rent where we were living, and eventually we were in our car, locked outside of the apartment, staring at all our belongings in a dumpster.

Apparently, both my sister and I started panicking, but I never remember feeling even the least bit sorry for myself. I was glad to be out of that place. It was like a cubicle and brought the depression and sluggishness out of all of us.

We stayed in hotels after that.

I remember extending our stay in two regular hotels for a few weeks until we actually moved to a real extended stay hotel for about six weeks.

The extended stay hotel had a whole kitchen along with the normal things like beds, desks and a bathroom. Every time we moved from one hotel to another, we packed weeks worth of belongings into the van. It filled the trunk and spilled over into the backseats and piled up in our laps, like a warm heavy duvet.

My parents never once tried to make us understand how serious and potentially dangerous our situation was or expressed how they were feeling. All we saw was them working to provide for us– day after day– and trying to make our life seem as normal as possible.

One night I got a glimpse into what was going on when my mom used the “h-word” with me: homeless. I told her we weren’t homeless; we were living here (in our room). I didn’t understand just how low her faith had sunk until years later.

Meanwhile, mine never wavered. My imagination and sense of adventure had stuck with me, and when I found my favorite artist at this time, the outside world became a blur to me.

When we finally got accepted into a program called Bridges, we called it a miracle. Bridges is a program that helps families get back on their feet in almost every way possible. We were fast-tracked ahead of hundreds of people and given first priority. We received financial support and a stable place to live.

My mom found a job for the first time in years since she had me. Every single job she applied for, she was hired. My dad got his Master’s degree and a full-time job. Our life was transformed. We thank God for where we are.

As soon as we walked into the apartment, tranquility filled me. Beige floors, walls scrubbed clean, a larger kitchen overlooking a balcony that made me feel like I was at a picnic. It wasn’t much, but it felt like a fresh, new start.

And then there was my room in our new apartment. My most vivid memory. I carried all my clothes and toys into a sanctuary. The window was smack dab in the middle of the wall at the end of the room, between where our two beds would be, that let sunlight in that made the whole room glow white.

Everything we had went through was all coming together perfectly. Our discoveries from the time we lived in a hotel room, and the things we did to cope were carried over into our new home.

My parents let me live out my childhood, a place that’s just a distant golden memory now, or a fantasy, before they told me their side of the story. Only now do I understand how scary it is to lose your home, screw up your finances, and have all your stability slip away as I’m just now starting to get a taste of adult life.

Throughout this whole experience, I never lost faith or even doubted for a second that my family would find happiness again. The faith of an 11-year-old is truly incredible.

For my parents it’s a traumatic backstory, a slippery slope they don’t want to fall back down, and their lowest point. For me, it was an adventure and the beginning of me becoming my own person instead of being a sponge in my surroundings.

It all started with the eviction notice, a screaming hot pink piece of paper in a brown hallway, a brown door, brown stairs and a brown floor.

But it ended with a memory that made me who I am today.

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