How Penny Lane Came to Live with Me…

As I explained in my post titled Homeless to Helpless to feeling Hopeless…Survival is Exhausting.  Back in October I rescued a dog that I named, Penny Lane.

I had been deep in the throes of a very bad depression to the point of sitting one night and wondering if the railing on my balcony would hold my weight. I made it through…THAT night. I knew I was in a seriously dangerous episode of my disease, so I made the necessary visits to my therapists, used what coping tools and meds I could, but I still struggled to come up out of the pit.

Even though the housing program that I am in is wonderful, it does not allow pets. However, after doing some research online I found that I could apply through my therapist for an Emotional Service Animal. I jumped on it as fast as I could. My therapist knew that the loss of my dogs, and my being alone constantly was really making my life horrible, so she wrote a “prescription” for a therapy dog for me.

I was so excited that night! I poured over the Humane Society site, choosing which dogs I would go visit the following day. When I got to the humane society I asked to see the first dog I had chosen. He was cute, but had as many issues as I, and I was afraid I was not up to the challenge of helping him. I walked through the kennels again, passing by Penny’s cage for the second time, she stood and reached her paw out to me between the bars and kissed my finger.

I asked if I could take her to the social room to see if she and I were compatible. Well, I never made it to the room with her. As soon as I held her I knew…I just KNEW that she was MY dog, and I was her “Mama”.

She had been brought in as an abuse/neglect case, and had spent most of her young life in a cage, but that didn’t stop me from loving her at first snuggle. I signed the papers and brought her home. It has taken a lot of work to get her to where she is now. At first she was understandably afraid of everything and everyone..except me lol. I took her out to crowded places, and had strangers hand her treats. I spoiled her with treats and a soft bed, and toys, and a ton of hugs and kisses. I taught her that humans can be good, and that love is possible, that life is amazing. And she taught me the same.

She is a totally different dog now. She still doesn’t really like men, and she has an aversion to baseball caps, but otherwise, you would never know she had such a rough start in life. She has also made my life so much better. She gave me company. She gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Most importantly she made me feel loved and needed. I’m not sure who save who…but, we are both blessed indeed.

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Homeless to Helpless to feeling Hopeless…Survival is Exhausting.

I am going to tell the truth about everything. I don’t care anymore who reads this, who cares or more likely, who doesn’t. I haven’t written in a long time. Mostly because all that I want to say is not exactly “positive”, the way I’ve always tried to be on this blog. Even during the worst of what I have had to endure these past few years, I tried to keep my hope and faith, and show people that it can be “okay”.

Well, today, I don’t feel okay. My life does not feel OKAY.

The last time I wrote, it seemed my life was getting better. I was working so hard to get back on my feet, and I was. I was going to classes, working at getting my GED, had a job. Everyone was cheering me on, telling me how proud they were of how hard I was working to “fix” my situation. Well, shit falls apart faster than you can blink. I guess I’ve been too ashamed to write since it all changed. Now, I just don’t care. I have to let this out and let the chips fall where they may.

I got hired at four different jobs this past year. Some of these jobs lasted a day, some a couple weeks. One job, the best job, even lasted a month, but that is because 3 weeks of it was in a classroom. I do that well, learning, class time.

However, after getting these jobs the anxiety attacks would start. Yes, I have a disease. It’s called Generalized Anxiety disorder. It is NOT a choice. It is NOT laziness. It is a real disease, and it is torture. So, one by one, each job was quit.

I also suffer from severe depression at times. (If you’ve followed my life at all up till this point, you’ll understand why). Depression is also a disease. I don’t choose it. I fight it. Some days I fight it with all my might, some days I glide through all happy, smiling, sunshine, photo taking, dancing…me. Then, there are days when it swallows me whole and I can’t find the strength to do the “positive thinking”, gratitude shit that can help.

Anyway, now that I’ve explained my challenges, my diseases, let’s add my daily struggles on top of this pile of shit.

Uncertainty while I was homeless was the scariest part. Never knowing what I would or would not have from day to day. Well, not having an income now creates that same fear, that same frustration and anxiety. The shame that I can’t take care of myself.

I have a place to live. I have food stamps. They give me $194 a month for food. You figure that out. Think about how you would eat, what you would eat, how you would make it last 4 weeks. It normally lasts about two. maybe three if I don’t eat much.

Now, let’s consider the other necessities of life. The things not covered by Food stamps. Toilet paper, dish soap, paper towels, shampoo, trash bags, vacuum bags….everything thing else needed to run a home. These require money. I have none.

I have one dear friend who pays my cable/internet and my car insurance each month, and tries to make sure I have all of these things. But, it is demeaning nonetheless to have to tell someone that you need them to buy you toilet paper…again.

I started panhandling about a month ago. I made a cardboard sign, found a nice spot at my local Wal-mart, and stood out there accepting money from strangers. Mostly being ignored and making people feel uncomfortable. Watching them look away, so they didn’t have to see. Most I think are just fearful that it could happen to them. Some judging and thinking things like, “why doesn’t she just get a job”…”oh, she’s probably not homeless” (which is true), or whatever else it is we all think when we see “those people”. Snap judgments based on nothing. No one truly knows what anyone is going through, but we all do it. Make those judgments.

Those of you who have read this far are probably thinking “there are resources”. No, there are not. Not for cash anyway. Welfare and medicaid are only for those who have children. I won’t even get into my health issues here, or the fact that without money or insurance, you don’t exist to the medical community.

Anyway, back to my story.

Panhandling was good. Pride crushing, but good. I averaged about $60 a day. This made me feel kinda good that I could buy my own stuff, the things I needed or sometimes just wanted. You know, important shit, like that scented candle (a luxury for me). Until some Wal-mart white shirt came one day and said I couldn’t stand there with a sign anymore. This morning I was at Wal-mart at 5am bumming cigarettes from people. IF you feel the need to say anything about my smoking, please move on now.

Omg, this post is becoming longer and longer.

I know that my ex will read this, and probably be happy about my misery. He never cared what happened to me when I was homeless, never offered to help, and still doesn’t. He is good that way. At just turning his back on people…he did it with his son, and his own mother, so why did I think it would be any different with me? He walked out on me, our dogs and our whole life together and never once asked if he could help. Never said me missed me, or asked if I was okay….so fuck him. I don’t care what if he reads this now. I will write the truth about him, my truth. He wants everyone to see him as the victim in this. HUH. He walked away to a job, a free motel room, a paycheck, and took our $349 a month food stamp card with him. I was left with a house full of our stuff, two dogs I had to turn into the shelter, and a two day eviction notice. Again, Fuck Him!

When I was homeless the only people who truly helped me were strangers, or distant friends. Not family, not siblings, not my kids….just strangers, oh, and one cousin (sorry hon). My brother offered a place for me to go back in Mass., but that wasn’t possible, he had his own problems. My other brother, never even tried to contact me. My sister who lives just 2 hours from me, wouldn’t let me live with her because her boyfriend didn’t want me there. Really? What the hell is that? I would never turn away a family member and just let them be homeless because of ANYONE. Maybe it was not even the truth. Maybe SHE just didn’t want me. A few months back as she and her boyfriend were facing some financial issues of their own, then got an inheritance from a dead relative of his. Not a shitload of money, but a good deal. They had just filed for bankruptcy, and she told me that her lawyer said they had to spend that money fast if they still wanted to file. She tells ME this. Really? Your gonna tell me that your “problem” is that you have to spend what I would consider a “great” amount of money really quickly, but don’t offer to help me? Then she tells me over and over how money doesn’t make you happy. Meanwhile, I’m looking under my car seat for pennies to get toilet paper. Yeah, okay.  Fuck them all. Karma is a bitch. I would never wish bad on anyone, but I’m tired of being silent about the way I was treated by those who are supposed to care. Whatever.

So, here I sit….no money at all. I applied for SSI for my depression/anxiety issues and it of course has been months. No income, not sure where to panhandle now. Running out of smokes…staring at a whole list of stuff I need at the store, all stuff that I need money to get.

The one bright spot in this past year is that I got approved for an emotional service animal. I got a dog. The loss of my dogs, Cody and Casey still breaks my heart every day, but Miss Penny Lane has helped to fill the lonely hours. She makes me laugh, she kisses my tears away…..I love her.

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I guess that is what I had to say….Just a rant. If it wasn’t raining I would be out somewhere panhandling or at least bumming smokes off of strangers. Survival is exhausting….I could sleep forever.

 

 

I Am a Neglectful Blog Parent…

I am so sorry for my neglect here lately. I am definitely NOT going to do well writing for the November challenges.

My new life has been moving forward slowly and steadily, and I am beyond happy. The apartment is coming along nicely, with furniture donations and little touches of my own, it is beginning to look like a home. I still wake every day like it is Christmas morning and I am a four year old child, so excited to be here. Safe, warm, and fed is just amazing. I continue to look for work, but it will come.

My dog Casey was finally adopted from the Humane Society a couple of weekends ago, and I am so happy for her. Though I am heartbroken for myself, missing her terribly, but so blessed to know that she has a real home again too. I don’t have to lie down every night picturing her in that kennel..I pray she is sleeping at the foot of someone’s bed now.

It is difficult at times to believe how much my life has changed and to face how much I have lost. I have yet to fully “look” at it all. Most of you that know me, know that I like to remain as positive as possible, but eventually I will have to expose myself to some of the hurt in order to move past it…just not now. If I were to truly write about it, it would hurt too much. I’ve hurt enough in my life.

Honestly though…if I were to write what I am feeling at this moment, it would just be the word “grateful” over and over again on this page. Funny how writing about the misery is sometimes easier than writing of happiness. Misery is complex and joy in simple, less words are needed. I spend my days listening to fun, happy music…I dance around my apartment, visit with my new friends, sing karaoke on Monday nights with more new friends…I eat and sleep and just LIVE. It is so incredible after so much time merely surviving. This is heaven.

There is a time to be happy, to be content, to just enjoy what the good Lord has blessed us with…and that time is always “now”. I love you all so much, and hopefully I will be here more often. Please keep me in prayer about finding work, and well, about everything! God is so good! Hugs!

P.S. I almost forgot! I passed my one year anniversary on here…wow! I just noticed I have 473 followers…when did that happen? I am still a bit surprised that my little life is of interest to anyone, but truly blessed by knowing. Thanks everyone!

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I Try Not to Think of All I’ve Lost…

I am so grateful for where I am in my life now. However, it’s only been three months since I lost the life I’d known for so long. The marriage had to end, this I know. Neither of us had been happy for so long. There wasn’t much left to grieve there…except for what might have been.
It’s the days and moments when my mind remembers an object I forgot in my haste before the eviction…the books, the trinkets, the Christmas ornament I made when I was 8 years old that make it difficult. There isn’t very much pain in these thoughts, they are just things, and…I am healing.

The one area I can’t seem to get past is the loss of my dogs…Yes, Cody was rescued from the shelter and is now with my ex…not my ideal situation, but at least I know he is loved and cared for by someone he knows.

I try desperately not to think of my dear Casey girl, but there isn’t a day when I don’t grieve, when I don’t pass her photo on Facebook or here, and my chest gets tight, the tears well up…and oh my gosh, the pain is horrible. I am glad that she is no longer in danger of being put down, and that the Humane Society is a better facility than the county shelter…but…I want her HERE with me! I want her to be held, and pet, and played with. I want to feel her lick my face. I dream often of walking the aisle of the shelter, calling her name and hearing her sweet bark of joy to know that “mommy” has come back to get her. I can’t describe the pain…and God knows I have tried to NOT look at her photos, NOT go to the Humane Society page once more to see if she’s been adopted, but it’s like a bad bruise, this pain. You know it will hurt, you know it will crush you, but you push on it anyway. This heartache….it has not gotten any easier…it is not any lighter. She deserves to have a home…just like I do now. How long will I grieve this loss? How long will it take for me to finally give up hope of ever having her with me again? I don’t know. It feels like it will never stop.

I pray she is at least happy…well fed…and maybe, if dogs think this way…I pray she hasn’t given up hope either. Shit. And the tears fall.

So Healthy now!

Homeless Day 43…The Invisible…

I woke in this motel room this morning, looked out at the cloudy, hot day, and fought to not crawl back under the covers.

The weariness of just surviving is something that no one who has not been here can ever truly understand. As much as I try to stay energized and positive, it has become a struggle like everything else.

Did I even mention that I got my dog Cody back with me? When I thought that I had a place to stay last week, I went and got him from the shelter to go with me. The reunion was emotional to say the least…I was crying, the shelter director was crying, and Cody…well, he was jumping and peeing all over the place. It was awesome. I feel somewhat badly now that he is in this situation with me, but it has really helped me to not be so alone. He is a gift.

I wanted this post to be so organized so well written, when in all reality I’m afraid it will be just how my mind is…muddled and all over the place.

I went for a much needed therapy session a few days ago, and boy, did I break. I have spent so many days just holding myself up, trying to be strong, functioning…but, the safety and acceptance of that therapy room allowed what I had most feared…letting it all go.

I told it all…How it feels to take a couple of dollars into the store, and try not to look at other’s purchases with envy. What it feels like to go up to a sample table in the store and try not to drool as you place a small piece of ham and cheese into your mouth. You smile, make eye contact, you don’t want anyone to know how hungry you are…how scared. You look at all these “normal” people going about their everyday lives and they have no idea…that you are homeless. You try to hide it as much as you can…and yet, there is a part of you that wants to scream it out loud…”I’m homeless! I’m hungry!”…but, you just smile, nod your head, wish them a nice day. You begin to feel like two people…the one you show to others, and the invisible one, the one that is scared, ashamed, tired, lonely and hungry. The person no one sees.

So many people tell me how strong I am. They don’t see the invisible part either, because I won’t show them. The shame is so overwhelming that I don’t even want to show it here…in the one place I should be able to lay it all down…
I’m afraid to say how forgotten I feel…how sometimes I’m afraid no one is thinking of me…because I don’t want to hear all the denials, because, I know it’s not true, but it is still how I feel. I fear telling how I sometimes feel like a little child, lost and alone, and how I yearn to be held, to feel safe, to feel cared for by someone..anyone, if only for a little while.

I feel guilty for all the envy I feel when I see families together…laughing, having dinner. Guilt for coveting constantly…the food on the commercials, the homes, the happiness of others…everything I don’t have. I pray about it. I berate myself…Stop feeling sorry for yourself! You have some food, you have a room today, you have your dog, you have people who care about you….So many people don’t have even this much! Stop feeling sorry for yourself!

Ugh…why did I think this would be so easy to put down here…on my blog?

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Homeless Day 16…A Love Letter to My Dogs…

Though I know you will never see this, I must find a way to release all I feel in my heart for you…my sweet dogs.

I don’t know why my feelings of loss and pain for you both come on so strongly at night, maybe it’s because my mind is so focused on trying to survive during the day…though, a moment of the day does not pass without you both in it. I wish there was a way to tell you, to make you understand all that has happened to you. I also wish will all of my heart, that I could have found a way to keep you both with me forever…as I promised you when I brought you home. Mommy’s heart hurts with missing you!

My little Cody…You were so tiny the day we brought you home from the backyard breeders.  It was Christmas Eve. You were covered with fleas. They looked so big on your little body. You gave us so many smiles on the ride home and every day since then. Even your stubbornness is something I will always admire. That last day we had together you were such a sweet boy, kissing Mama’s tears away.

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Casey Anne…When I saw you that day in the kennel of the adoption van, I had no doubt that you would come and join our family. You were shaking and timid. I don’t blame you, you had such a rough start in life. I still can’t understand how anyone could have treated you that way. I hope that I taught you that there is love in the world, and that not all humans are bad. I showed you that you can trust, and that you can have food and hugs….always.

Day One in her new home!

Day One in her new home!

You and Cody became the best of friends on that first day, even though he was a bit pushy.

Cody's new friend Casey!

Cody’s new friend Casey!

You are both such amazing babies, and I can only pray every day that we can be together again. But, you see…I don’t have a home right now, not even for me. I know that God knows my heart, and how much I want to come and get you from that cage in the shelter. Every night I dream of them opening that door, and seeing you both run to me and climb on me as we all cry with joy…oh, how I wish I could hold you both right now…I want you here with me, knowing how much I love you and how much I wish that this had not happened to us all. Life isn’t always fair my dear pups, and I hope I gave you enough love while we had time. Be good puppies okay? If I can’t come to get you, I want you to be loved and cared for by some really good family. Casey…show them how you cover your ears when they say you are cute…and Cody, show them how well you sit, and put your blankie in the kennel…Sit nice and no bity…okay guys?

Mommy loves you so much…I hope somehow you know this, and don’t be sad okay? I’m sad enough for all of us. Be happy dogs…someday soon you will go home, you will be outside again, running free, playing and chasing squirrels. I pray it will be with me, but if it is not…just be happy. I love you so much.

"I love them"

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I AM SO SORRY!

I will love you forever.

Homeless Day 14, 4am Loneliness…

Two weeks today since my life as I knew it just disappeared. On one hand it feels like yesterday, but then the physical and mental exhaustion makes it seem like I’ve been “surviving” for a month.

My worst break-downs so far have been when thinking of my poor dogs. You see, I have a human understanding of what is going on, and as bad as the reality is, I know what happened, but when I allow my mind to wander to Cody and Casey, my heart literally aches for them. All they know is that one day they were home and the next they were in a scary, loud, strange place, and that I just left them there. Sigh…I can’t even write about it…I just can’t.

I am sitting here in the motel at almost 4am, and feeling more alone than ever before. Even in the worst parts of my marriage, when he and I sat in different rooms, I knew there was someone there, even the dogs gave me comfort…now, it is just me.

My kids have not called in the two weeks since this happened, and I guess I’m not as surprised as I am hurt. I know I wasn’t a good mother to them, even though I thought I was, but it hurts to think that my well-being doesn’t matter to them. I feel the same about my two brothers and my sister, yes, I have talked to two of them, but I still have no place of refuge, no place of safety to start to rebuild my life. It is just me…alone. I even got desperate enough to call hubby’s phone yesterday, to ask him a computer question…he has blocked me from his phone. Since he left two weeks ago, he has not tried to contact me even once…He doesn’t even know if I am well or safe.

I have to just come to realize that I am on my own, again…still. I have been taking care of myself since I was 10 years old, I guess I should be used to it by now, but there is a part of me, that little girl, that still longs for someone to care for her, to TAKE care of her, to keep her safe.

Right now…I just wish I had someone to talk to, someone to hold me. I saw my friends S & F the other day…the only true friends I have here, and when S gave me a hug I just lost it…I sobbed on her shoulder for a good 5 minutes, the first time I let my “wall” down. I had to put it back up, I have to stay strong. On my own. No hubby, no kids, no family, no dogs…I must take God’s hand and KNOW the He will never leave me nor forsake me.

I am so beyond grateful for all that have helped me…financially, spiritually, and with kind words of caring these past 14 days. I wish there were more words to describe “grateful”.  I have raised my fundraising amount, not out of greed, but just for the fact that I have not found a job. I go tomorrow to turn in my housing application and to apply for food stamps, and will spend the rest of the day trying to put in job applications. The internet here stinks…I was halfway through a job assessment yesterday when it went down. I may have to go the library to complete most of them. Just another challenge.

I wish at this point that I could end this post on an upbeat, “I’m going to make it” note, but alas, I’m not right there at the moment. I keep repeating my mantra…”I’ll be okay”. It is very sad and shocking to realize that after 53 years on this Earth…I belong nowhere.

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I need to stop scrolling through my photographs…I never realized how may photos I took of my two pups…My heart actually hurts.

 

I’m Homeless, and It’s Not My Fault…Day 6

This week has been such a blur of thoughts, emotions and fear. It is surreal to know that the life I had just a week ago has disappeared. The dogs, the husband, the home…all gone. I am alone.

Everything is different. I feel free on the one hand…my marriage having died years ago, but to think he would leave me this way is hard to swallow. The dogs being gone is one of the hardest parts..I try not to think about them, it just hurts so much. I have to be content to know that they are safe and cared for…I can’t even say that about myself.

Now, before I say this next part…a bit of a disclaimer…I KNOW that there are people who truly care about what I am facing, and care about how I am doing, but to be honest…it feels like I matter to no one. I am here with my thoughts and fears, alone. Day in and day out, I wonder what I am going to do, where will I go when I no longer have the rent for this room? What if I don’t get a job in time? How long will the food last…Those who one would normally turn to at a time like this, family and friends seem to be the ones who keep the most distance. Why? I can understand that they don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do to help me. I don’t even know the answers, but I didn’t do this to myself. I’m not a drunk or a druggie, I am not lazy. It’s like I have the plague. I have become one of those people you see on the sidewalk, begging for money, and you avert your eyes. It’s too uncomfortable to see, to even think that YOU might be that person if all went to hell tomorrow. I spent 15 years taking care of house, hubby, dogs, bills, and all of that…and had my entire life pulled out from under me, like a rug.

I feel like an outcast. I have had to put anything resembling pride aside, and ask total strangers, friends and family to donate money to help me survive. When it gets this bad, you have to do things that you never thought you would or could. There is no room for pride when you are homeless, when the fear of the unknown is all that you have left.

There is room for prayer, for trusting God to show me the way, to hope that I will find the rent, the food, the gas..the job. But, as I sit here alone today, in this little motel room..I will be content, I will be hopeful. I have to be.

If  you are able to help, the donation link is on my page, just re-posting the link on social media would be a tremendous blessing also!

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Fourth Day of Homeless…

The past few days have gone by in a blur…He left, I took the dogs to the shelter, and here I am. I have a motel room for two weeks and then…well, who knows. I am hoping to find work. I try not to worry, try not to think about my poor pups. Sleep has been a priority. I’ve never been so tired in my whole life. For now I am safe, have a roof and food. I miss my family today. Most folks think of family more at Christmas or other holidays, but the fourth always makes me think of my brothers and my sister…recalling the wonderful times when we all gathered together to celebrate the fourth of July. I’m going to try and get downtown tonight to watch the fireworks. I love this town on the fourth…so many friendly folks just having fun, eating watermelon, and then watching the fireworks over the waterfront. I need to get out of this room. Have a safe and fun weekend!

I am still trying to raise funds to get on my feet. If you are able to donate or share the link to the donation site, it will be much appreciated. The link is on my page..thanks.

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Husband on Bus, Dogs in the Shelter…Now What?

Later today I will drive the husband to the bus station, then I have to bring both of my dogs to the local shelter, and then, I am on my own.

I am going to try to keep it together, because if I break I may not recover. I must stay tough. I am devastated to be losing my sweet pups, and not so devastated to be losing the “other half”. It will be good to be free of something that has been dead for so long. I just wish I had a job, or a place to live.

I was going to go home to Massachusetts. My brother offered to send me some travel money in two weeks when he got his SS check. However, he called me two days ago…he had a stroke! I am so worried about him, but I can’t be there. I’m glad his kids are up there with him. So…change of plans.

I’ve decided to try to stay in Georgia. I have a little money, and am going to head to Savannah. They have more resources for the homeless up there, and more job opportunities. I’m hoping to make this money stretch for at least two weeks, but even that seems like such a short time. I know God will provide, but I’m scared too.

I guess that’s it for now! Please keep me in prayer…