I’m writing this at my friend’s apartment to the sound of laundry in the washing machine mixing with a slow song that I’m playing on my phone. Surprisingly the sounds together make for a very pleasant atmosphere.
I moved here from my sister’s apartment a few days back and finally, little things are starting to seem familiar like the tea strainer, salt and spice jars and the rack in the bathroom where I keep my shampoo now. All my things are in boxes; some are here, some at another friend’s place and the rest at my sister’s apartment. I have been homeless for a couple months now.
Though it should have been, cutting ties with my father was not a planned affair. I had spent several years lying in bed listening to She’s Leaving Home by The Beatles, dreaming of one day running away from my father but I knew it was not a possible thing to do.
First of all – I was completely financially dependent on him; over the years I was stripped off of any self-confidence I had and anyway, to cut ties with someone seemed unrealistic, dramatic and definitely not acceptable (by society?). “What am I going to do, pack my stuff, leave and be completely homeless?!” I asked myself every time I thought to leave when I’d had enough; not knowing that that’s exactly what I would do one day.
This story is about a girl breaking free and ending up homeless, happy, struggling and free.
I always had reasons – rational reasons, to stay connected to my abusive father who paid my rent. So naturally, when I started to write an email to him the night before I was finally moving out of my apartment, I felt a strong sense of dissociation. It felt as if I was not living my life and making my own decisions but instead, was helping Kavita make decisions in her life. I was in denial.
I was in denial while the movers packed my pastel drawings away, all my furniture was sold and as I walked away from my sweet, blue apartment for the last time. That same evening while I was in my sister’s apartment I had a fight with her.
I remember storming out of her house, sitting on a couple stairs outside and realizing for the very first time – “I have no place of my own to go to. I’m homeless.” This feeling was nothing like I had felt before. “What is this? Is this an early-life crisis?!” I’d think to myself at insignificant moments and low-key freakout.
I have grown up with constant emotional abuse and that reflects my personality. Even though I have worked hard on my mental health, I am often an easily frightened, diffident person that lacks self-esteem. I have to regularly keep reminding myself of my irrational thoughts, worries and limitations.
So understandably, breaking away from my abusive father was the hardest thing to do. I was struggling with avoiding drama, misplaced “but I’m not a hurtful person” sympathy, dependency and fear – It was overwhelming! It was like gearing up for a bungee jump and not being able to make that jump. “JUMP!” says the instructor; “NOOOO!!” says legs, heart and instincts.
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But I found that making that jump is the most rewarding thing that would happen to you. Sitting on a couch with a cup of tea at night as I blocked my father’s number on my phone, I felt my heart lift up and sing.
I was now broke, homeless and had no security; yet a part of me that always lived in fear was set free. I felt liberated in a long, long time and I could not believe how different it felt from my usual way of living life. For the first time in my life, my father had no power over me.
So, this story is not about a girl breaking free and extraordinarily finding herself and instantly living happily ever after. This story is about a girl breaking free and ending up homeless, happy, struggling and free.
These days I’m slowly creating my life one step at a time. I have good-hearted people around me who I could not be thankful enough for; who have offered their homes for me to stay in for a while. I am constantly looking for freelance writing opportunities, thinking through while buying groceries and saving up.
Sitting on a couch with a cup of tea at night as I blocked my father’s number on my phone, I felt my heart lift up and sing.
I miss home a lot; space where there are just Kavita-things but these days, I’m learning to find a home within myself. Recently when I was working on my laptop at a café and the place slowly started to fill up, my heart started to race with panic. But as I took a moment to touch the palm of my hand with my fingertips and remember the sound of my voice in my head, it felt so familiar.
I was already with the most comforting person to me at that moment – Myself! I’m slowly learning to be this person now. I am living a very scary, exciting, unpredictable, motivating life right now and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
If you are at a point in life right now where you are unhappy but are struggling to make a decision because you aren’t sure, take a moment to ask yourself this:
Do I really not know the answer or am I scared that I do know it?
Chances are you know the answer and if so, I urge you to take a deep breath and make that jump! Leave that toxic relationship, an unfulfilling job or unhealthy dependence. It will be scary, difficult and maybe even heartbreaking and I don’t promise you bigger, greater things on the other side. All I promise you is unconditional freedom. You decide if it’s worth it.
I think the laundry’s done!
Also Read: Working My Way Through Loss And Grief
Featured Image Credit: David Kanigan