Three years ago when I surrendered my prized security to pursue the challenge of a lifetime — I never anticipated what has transpired since that moment of pure acknowledgment.
I relinquished my rights as an independent and embarked on the journey of a celebrated gypsy — searching for the home that evaded her for far too long.
The first year was exciting and new. The abandonment of a 9 to 5 that promised only the tolerance of catering to privileged executives in their twenties — was a holistic approach to rendering the lost years into place.
Two years later, the dust still hovers over my carefully designed decision and while I can’t imagine still being duck taped to a desk that bore nothing more than my impeding demise — I can’t help but wonder when my quest for survival will pay off.
I have held three house keys that didn’t belong to me. They were assigned to women I know — who believed in me enough to hand them over on a temporary basis. Just until I got myself back on my feet.
There have been periods of relief when it seemed like my search was over. The gig at ABC was the best of them. I worked my ass off and believed it would be to my benefit. But, the budget spoke louder and I was released a couple of months later.
So, here I am. Unemployed and forced to vacate two homes in favor of an arrangement that I never dreamed would surface on my radar.
I checked into an Airbnb in an effort to evade the inquiries from the manager of the property that my friend currently inhabits. We hoped I could make it work for a couple of months but unfortunately I was spotted and labeled a foreigner.
It was time to get the hell out.
I had a week to find a sublet in Los Angeles which is basically an impossible feat to accomplish — so I settled on the reliance of a strategically placed Airbnb that would have me sharing a room with five other occupants.
As the car pulled up in front of the house, I had a lump in my throat that almost caused me to topple over. The house didn’t look the way I had imagined.
The interior was even less encouraging. My room was decent — I just hated the fact that it was carpeted.
The Black girl in the bunk next to the window ignored my arrival until she had to get up and use the loo. She smiles at me and introduces herself.
She’s an actress and I tell her I’m a writer.
Seeing a Black girl in the midst of this mental and physical chaos was the antidote I needed to revive me. I was sinking fast but her warmness and genuine interlude gave me hope for tomorrow and retrieved my deadened senses.
I claimed the bottom half of my bunk and proceeded to situate myself.
Three hours later, after coming to terms with the fact that Wifi access doesn’t actually mean what it promises — I gave up the quest of drowning in episodes of Grace and Frankie. Just as the headphones came off — the door opens and in walks one of the hosts with a guy in tow.
The introductions are made and we are effortlessly assured that he just needs one night to reprogram.
I am weary and nonchalant but my fellow comrade is ruffled by his presence. He will take the space above her — but most importantly he represents everything she didn’t sign up for. She follows the host out of the room to hash out pertinent details and I remain in limbo.
I’m seriously trying to painstakingly calculate exactly where I went wrong.
How is it that a passionate mind with a demonstrated talent and a healthy zest for living to boot — ends up in a circumstance beyond her control? Don’t answer that!
I did already.
My new friend reports back. She’s happy that the Wifi access is back. She can watch her shows all night long. I’m too drunk to celebrate. My evening stroll earlier on equipped me for the night.
Our other two roommates return late that night. They sound like they’re German or Dutch. I know one has very little to do with the other, but that was all I could decipher.
I continue to write my testimony of the moment as they converse about the events of the day. Then I sneezed. I sneezed again, and this time it was obvious that I was struggling. One of the girls turned to me and asked if I needed a tissue.
I did need one. Bad.
I took her up on her offer and smiled back. We both blew our noses and I felt bad for silently making fun of their physique and regulating them to generic fodder. These were nice girls from another country who were packing for their trip back home while reminiscing on the fun-filled trip to the City of Angels.
The next morning, I pretended to be asleep as they gathered their belongings and headed out the door.
I was hung over from the medium-sized Vodka bottle that did the trick but not without consequences.
I could hear the hub of activity outside the door. How does this work? When will the bathroom be free? Will I have to hold my breath while pissing in the over-worked toilet? Will the bathtub or shower be slimed with dirt and the unimaginable?
Will I decide to finally end my life as a reward for dimming the pain of being surrounded by the evidence that I had failed myself immeasurably?
No, to all the above and yonder.
As a sober member of a new crew — I can attest that my current dwelling place isn’t as bleak as it sounds. The internet issue is still active but the rest of it is doable. You get what you pay for and until my friend is able to have me back as her undercover guest — I will have to contend with the reality that my space will be overrun with gypsies — who like me — need a spot to lay their head until the sun peeks in.
The bathroom was quite clean and not at all smelly or gross. The room is just as basic as the price announced but nothing about it makes me feel like an entrapped leper.
I know, I swore once I got my Upper East Side pad — that my days as a desperate roommate would be over but you can’t chart success without the healing of sacrifice — unless you are a socialite.
I am not a socialite. I am me.
That means that despite my work ethic and literary discipline, there is a chance I could spend most of my life trying to find my place in this world. But, my currency is the confidence that I do what I do for the thrill of it and not because I am seeking to be the next sensation.
I enjoy the satisfaction that escapes me every time I write with purpose. I don’t give a damn what the numbers prove. When I first began my independent career with Medium — nobody read my shit. I remember being elated when I was alerted that I had “10 Recommends.” I never aimed to be a rock star of content. I just wanted to feel secure in the knowledge that I had an outlet that was willing to house anything and everything I have to say — without restraints.
I found my home. Medium has become my religion and those of you that read my work are my principles for living.
Thank you for lifting me up and never letting me down. I promise to do the same. Someday.
In the meantime, here is my life. I will continue to keep you abreast. I will continue to be the writer who opens up and never wilts under pressure.
Thank you for having me.