It has been a year already since I lost my job, and my home. I didn’t lose it to anything I couldn’t control. I lost it to the storm of my inner conflict. And while such things are always upsetting, and people will say their sorries and sympathize, I just have to remind myself that I deserved everything that happened to me. Not because I’m a terrible person or anything like that. But because I was stuck. I was stuck in pit of tar that was mixed with depression, confusion, glue, and laziness. Losing everything felt like the only life saver I could grab onto. So I did just that, I lost everything.
The storm started brewing in May of 2016. I was working this fancy new job in downtown San Francisco, making more money than I ever imagined for myself. And yes, I let it all go to my head. I never imagined myself having a fancy job with a salary. It was the most adult thing I had ever done. And I loved seeing old friends and being able to have a positive conversation of where I was, and was planning to do. I felt elite being able to bring dates back to my apartment in the most demanded place to live in the city. With a beautiful room that came furnished, windows that overlooked the main street, and restaurants and bars up and down the street all 2 minutes away. I was the embodiment of the American dream of working to live. All of this to cover up my true feelings.
While I definitely didn’t keep my fancy new life a secret, I did keep my misery of work a secret. I hated where I was. But not the cliche of “I hate my job” hate, but the kind where you start to spend all your money just to forget about where you work hate. It was a job I thought was for me, but in the end didn’t fit properly with my resume. I let myself be bought out by the pay for a few months, but by August of that year, I just couldn’t take it anymore. You see, my greatest strength and weakness is metaphysics. I could see my reality of what it cost to survive. I could see how fake I was being at the fancy bars with my fancy clothes, only to take it off the next day and replace it with a fake motivation. I felt I deserved this fancy life, but I also deserved inner peace. I wrote my goodbyes to the fabulous lifestyle that I always imagined for myself, prayed to please never forget me and that I’ll do my best to return one day, and to please forgive me for my decision.
I left that job. But I didn’t just leave it, I left it with no plan.
I remember the next day after I left the job, how awkward it felt. I have been working since I was in high school, and this was the first time in a long time that I did not have to get up for anything. I had nothing to look forward to. No meetings, no planning, no work events, nothing. It felt peaceful, but eventually you’ll no longer be in the eye of the tornado, because life doesn’t stand still for anything. It keeps going even if you’re not ready for it.
I always knew this would happen to me, so I started saving my paychecks towards the end of my salary. I saved enough for a few months rent, and food and water. My plan was to job hunt while I rationed my money responsibly. Sadly, that isn’t the way it happened. Every time I got on my computer to look for a new place of work, I would remember how high end the specs were on my computer and start to put them to the test. I would just start to play video games.
“Just for today” I would say to myself.
“One more day…”
“Maybe give myself a nice break…”
By the end of October, I was still repeating the same excuses. While I did enjoy losing myself in the flow of the internet, I could easily tell what was wrong with me. I had grown depressed. I had given up on myself. I was no longer in the center of the storm, but was in the wall. Full force did life hit me. My rations were getting sparse, not just of my money, but the rations of my mental health. I had to come up with a plan. As November came, I started to look at how much money I had left. I had enough to pay the rent for the month, which would buy me some time. But at the same time, I was scared of what I would really end up doing. I needed to get away from this life. This life isn’t mine anymore. This fancy room, neighborhood, furniture and computer. This isn’t me anymore, I can’t afford this person. So I decided to not pay the rent. Getting evicted was the only way I could think of getting out of this illusion. I couldn’t leave it on my own, it had to leave me. Like an abusive relationship you are too scared to get out of.
November finally came, and while I wished part of me had a little bit less strength to go through with the plan, I did not pay the rent. The landlord knew I had been out of a job and had sympathized with me since I lost it. He gave me a week to pack all my stuff and be on my way. I spent the week packing what I could take with me on my back, and leaving behind everything I wished I could still have. I remember my last day, I was sitting on the bed, like a sad victim of a tragic story, looking at my luggage and just thinking what I was going to do. I had shopped around for some hostels that I could stay in for a bit and made a reservation at one of the cheapest, but that would only last so long. That wasn’t a plan, it was a band-aid at best.
It’s funny though, I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be. It’s like when you finally have nothing to lose, you kind of just don’t really care anymore. I had no home, no job, no one looking to me for support. I really just had my heart in a briefcase.
I sat outside on the street and was too embarrassed to get on the subway to the hostel. I had asked my parents if I could just move back with them while I tried to get back on my feet. I figured that would be less pride to give up than staying in a hostel with strangers. Sadly, they said no. And all I could say was “I understand”. I wasn’t mad at them for not letting me back. I was more upset that they were making me play this game of life on hard mode. But I did feel egotistical that they knew I had the will power to find a way to make this work. They were worried, but it was more of a worry on how long it will take for me to get back on my feet, not where I will end up. They knew I was too prideful to just give up and live on the streets. Again, a weakness and a strength.
Luck would have it, as I was on my way to my new hostel, my friend gave me a call on my cell to see what I was up to. I let them know what was happening. It was a best friend so I didn’t feel obligated to lie. And thankfully I didn’t. They met me downtown San Francisco and offered me a place to stay.
Funny, I was a lot happier in this scenario than I was in the past months. This felt more real. This felt the way life should feel. Struggling, sad, worried, and redemption.
I kept my stuff in a spare closet at my friends house, and rented out their coach. While it definitely wasn’t what I had before, this felt easier to accept than what I had before.
I was no longer suffering from depression, but suffering on what the future will look like. I couldn’t sleep on my friends couch forever. I won’t have enough savings to last me for a year. I have left the past behind, I had nothing to weigh me down. That Thanksgiving, I spent it at a bar. I didn’t want to spend it with my friend’s family, I didn’t want to get TOO comfortable. At a bar seemed a bit more fitting for the type of person I am. I could drink there with everyone else who is alone that Thanksgiving. Everyone else who just had an ordeal and just needed to spend the day in a blur. I wasn’t drinking to get drunk. I was giving myself a cheers for not giving up hope.
I am thankful for the people who supported me that year. My friend, my parents, my landlord.
Finally it was December and after interviewing almost everyday finally got a new job. It wasn’t as fancy or expensive, but still a job that I didn’t mind. I sold my high end computer and used the money to start looking for a new place.
In January of 2017, I finally moved into a new room. While it was far away from the life I once had, it was a nice place to use as a platform to get back on my feet. When I first moved into this room, I remember the landlord feeling bad because I came with no furniture. I didn’t want to tell them about everything I had to deal with. I was just grateful to have my own room again. I slept on the floor of my new place for about 4 months. But I didn’t mind. Everything that had happened, I was just happy to have a place that was mine again.
Now its November 2017, Thanksgiving day. My room is fully furnished along with my new bed. this room was rented out to me empty, and I filled it with a gratefulness of being able to recover from the wound life had given me.
I no longer have the job I got in January, and was able to get another job in May. Definitely doesn’t match the salary I was making before, but also didn’t match the attitude I had before. I loved this new job.
And I’m here today, in my room alone.
I’m not lonely though. I’m not sad. I’m not the same version of me from last year. I’m thankful that I can spend Thanksgiving here in my room. A lot of people got me to where I am at this very moment. an while my story is full of sass and cockiness, I do keep in mind that I did not get anywhere alone. People are always there, but not always in the way you want them too. My landlord from 2016 was there by kicking me out onto the ground, where the only thing I could do from that point is stand up. My parents were there by not giving me the easy way out of a terrible situation and letting me have the strength to put aside my pride. And my friend for showing how important it is to always keep connections you make with others strong.
Thank you. For everything.