It wasn't until just now that I realized how the story might have looked to the evening news...
Night before last, up all night after getting everything moved out of my old place. Spent early morning doing I don't remember what- killing time, that's all. Decided I needed a place to sleep, so headed to a motel near the freeway. It's in an industrial part of town, not the greatest neighborhood. There's a sign on the front door that prohibits wearing hoods, sunglasses, or baseball caps at the front desk. Never a good sign.
It's cheap though, and the rooms are clean and well maintained. I got there a little while before check in time, but the desk person was still able to give me a room.
There was wifi, so I was able to be numb and avoid the world for a while reading technical articles. I took the long hot shower I needed. I got hungry, and ordered a pizza that I only ate half of. Sorted out and took my meds. I'd missed doses of all of them. I got tired after a while and headed for bed around 2230, very early for me (especially lately).
I was lying in bed. The room was dark, and when I looked up at the ceiling I saw black shapes and shadows flying back and forth, like fog and smoke and steam moves in unsettled air. I closed my eyes then, tightly. Eyes closed, I couldn't see them. Good. Eyes, stay closed.
This morning the phone woke me up. The front desk wanted to know if I was checking out or staying another night. I'd been asleep for more than twelve hours.
Somewhat groggy, I gathered my belongings and headed down the hall to check out.
How many veterans check into cheap motel rooms alone, with the story ending differently?
No one knew where I was or how I was feeling, what my state of mind was. What I may have been thinking or planning. I could have been suicidal (although I was not). I could have been armed to the teeth and angry with the world, ready to finally explode (I wasn't that either).
There are many things that I could have been doing, or things that could have happened to me, while I was hidden away.
When I tell people I've moved out of my apartment and am still looking for a place to live, they wish me luck finding a new place. No one asks if I need a place to stay, or something to eat, or if I'm ok.
(I have a little money now, and I'll be positive again next week Friday. There is an end in sight, I suppose. Things could be worse. They can always be worse.).
I try to step outside myself, and look at the progress I've made-- to see what I've been through and what I'm dealing with right now. Will anyone ever look at me and talk about my courage, my tenacity, my strength?
Recently, someone said "we've all been through those rough spots, and you'll be okay."
Does that mean the nights spent alone in motel rooms alone with black shadows on the ceiling really don't matter?
Does me surviving last night mean that I've strengthened a skill that will help the next time I'm in crisis?
It's difficult for me to feel courage in that.