In truth, I would probably benefit greatly from coming up with a list of goals each month. But, that hardly happens, doesn’t it? As I’ve said numerous times here and there: Every day continues to surprise me. I dip and dive as life continues to yank me from one experience to the next. At each birth of a season, I consider how much life has changed since this time last year. Certainly, for this year, that is quite an understatement. But perhaps it is always an understatement. This year, I am much more me, than the last. Yet, not.
If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it is that we must learn how to shine through our own darkness. Or, in less fancy words: Strength through adversity is EVERYTHING. Also, equally as important, the care and nurturing for the self. As they say, when in doubt, love yourself. No one says that, by the way. But, now I do. When your needs aren’t being met, when you’re suffering – physically, mentally, or emotionally – whatever the problem may be, your first instinct should always be love, care, and support yourself. You have to do this selfishly sometimes, without guilt. Neglect yourself and your entire life will follow suit.
For the better half of a year, I’ve kept this secret from most of my friends, family, and peers. That secret contains a lot of self-doubt, defeat, and shame. But, in order to move forward with my life, I think I really need to unapologetically speak out about it. Last year, my husband and I were met with a challenge we were hardly prepared for. At the time, we were faced with a landlord who, unknowingly at that point, was scheming to take advantage of us. We’ve played games with this dodgy landlord for several years up until that point, however, the cost of moving was extremely unrealistic, and we considered this “normal shady landlord business”. When it came to repairs, myself, as well as my neighbors were forced to make complaints to the New York City Housing Authority before anything got done. That’s how bad it was. And, I’m not talking a simple leak here and there. I’m talking no access to water, sometimes no heat in the winter. Before we left, we had a literal hole in our wall. I could stick my finger in our neighbor’s apartment if I wanted to. We also had excessive mold in the bedroom, to a point where I could no longer sleep there because of my asthma. These were very serious, almost life-threatening offenses. On top of steady rent increases, we were essentially being played by our landlord. It wasn’t until 2016, that he decided to double our rent. This ultimately leads us to fight in court. We did this for nearly 8 months before losing our case and getting evicted from our apartment. I spent 6 months working with several non-profits seeking legal, housing, and financial assistance. No one helped us. Soon we were faced with the threat of homelessness. We have been residing in the New York City Shelter System for 4-5 months now. It has been a trying experience – one that has toughened my already thick skin. A handful of traumatic experiences later, here I am.
If you’d like to read more about my experience in housing court, you can read a paper titled A Tale of Landlord and Tenant: Exploitation, Eviction, and Homelessness here. If you’re interested in my experience of living in the New York City Shelter System, see my short essays titled Shelter Life Pt. 1-6 here.
As you will read in my essays linked above, coping with these obstacles really comes from maintaining a sort of normalcy – a level of ordinariness. Until very recently, that was very difficult for me to do. Now that I have access to the internet, I am better able to return to what makes me, me – writing. With that being said, my biggest goal for October is to just enjoy my favorite season to the best of my ability. How will I do this? In celebration of this spooky season, I will write 30 – YES THIRTY – blog posts between now and Halloween! I will also update my banner above to better represent this beautiful season. In addition to the upcoming posts, I also plan to finally kick, ban, and delete all of my spam bots – and believe me, there are many! While I write these posts, I will also be preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) on the side. I have a new work-in-progress stand-alone novel titled Arcane Archives on the way! An introductory post, as well as daily progress reports, will definitely come in November! I’m excited for what’s to come this Fall and I hope you will stick around for it!