April has become one of those anniversary months-- a month where something really major, and really bad, happened in my life, and now every time that month comes around it's frighteningly easy to find myself back in the middle of the original event. The April Event is, of course, being evicted from transitional housing in April of 2014, which happened almost exactly a year ago. It's strange how anniversaries and PTSD work together, and it's strange how even though so much has changed since then it feels like it's still a year ago-- and then again, it doesn't at all, but yet it does. I obviously can't quite nail it down. I can feel myself wanting to react like it's a year ago, meaning it's 0300 and I don't want to go home to the apartment I have now. I slept all weekend (literally-- Saturday morning through Sunday evening), and now I'm more or less wide awake.
Every day, I walk past (and work in) the same buildings that I hid out and slept in (and outside) last year after I'd been tossed out of transitional housing. I still look at places behind bushes and between buildings, evaluating whether they'd be good places to spend the night if the need arises. I carry a ton of stuff in my backpack that I
I'd really rather not know these things.
I still walk past the building on Spring and Mills where I lived for almost two years, the building I got kicked out of. I don't know any of the veterans that are there now, partly because they're all different people and partly because the vets that were there when I was, I don't want to talk to. I feel a little bad about that, sometimes, but I've concluded that there's nothing I can do to change the system that is transitional housing. I'm glad I got out of the system when I did. My two years would have been up in November 2014, which would have put me on the street just in time for winter.
So much of life now is a reaction to last April-- dealing with school, financial aid, grades, work, keeping a stable place to live (none of which ever seem certain). There's so much that happens when you enter a program like transitional housing, the paperwork and the appointments and the basic takeover of your life that they try to put into effect. Once they evict you, they forget you, but once you find a place to live on your own, they really write you off. There's no program for formerly homeless veterans, and by having my own place for close to a year I've probably put myself out of the running for being chronically homeless even if I become homeless again. My
Did I mention I haven't signed a lease renewal for next year yet, and I'm as scared to death of trying to find a new place to live as I was at this point exactly a year ago? I have no idea what my status is with my current landlord, if I'm staying for another year in my current place or not. No, Vet Center, things are not quite in order. They don't feel like they are, because they're not. Add having a place to live to one of my sensitivities-- it pretty much was anyway, even before all of the shit that went down with Porchlight, but now it's something I feel afraid about. It's hard to consider becoming homeless an irrational fear when it has already happened.