Homelessness. A Doorway that Leads Nowhere.

 

Soon after my parents broke up and my father had departed, our landlord evicted us for being unable to pay our rent.

We sat on the pile of our furniture and possessions which had been thrown onto the street, and my mother cried.

Some passing hippies rescued us. They gathered us up, picked up our belongings and gave us a warm and loving home in a nearby rundown Victorian house which they had established a commune in.

In my teens in New Zealand there were several times that I had nowhere to live,but I regarded this as an adventure and I always seemed to be able to find places to stay, and when I didn’t the weather was generally clement enough to crash outside.

In my early twenties, and by now living in London, lack of money for a deposit on a flat meant that squatting was the only option available to me.

When I was violently evicted from one squat, and sitting on a pile of belongings with my fellow house mates, in a busy London thoroughfare, I was worried but still had the youthful energy and optimism which convinced me that all would be well.

We moved into a one bedroom flea infested squat in an estate in Fulham Broadway that was incredibly miserable, but somehow I managed to pull myself out of that situation and start again.

Aged thirty my marriage had ended and I was again homeless. It was winter, and I was burned out, clinically depressed and very tired.

Sometimes I used my keys to get into the flat I had shared with my ex husband, have something to eat and occasionally fall asleep in the warmth; until he changed the locks and I instead slept in the shed in the garden.

I had a speed dealer, Chris, who was fond of me and I would sometimes stay at his house, or spend the night with another lover (neither of whom I was particularly fond)

I was in a pub with Chris one night and a man I had had sex with came over and handed Chris a dog lead and chain, saying that if Chris was with me he’d need it.

Another time I sat in an armchair, peaking on MDMA, knowing that if I wanted to sleep inside that night, I would have to have sex with someone.

 

I was incredibly lucky to have a Drug and Alcohol councillor who utilised the social welfare system that was in place at that time, to help me. I stuck out several years of treatment centres and sheltered housing, not initially because I wanted to get clean but because I didn’t know what to do, and was broken and frightened.

 

Seventeen years later people sometimes look askance at me for staying in the same job and the same flat for so many years. These things may seem unsatisfactory and stagnant to some, but to me they represent stability. The fear that set in with the above experiences, took a long, long time to go and a deep part of me has never forgotten what it feels like to have no choices.

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About charlottejane2002

Author of 'P is for Prostitution', 'The Bloody Sacrifice' and co-editor of 'A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead' which are all published by Mandrake of Oxford. Italian publisher Roberto Migliussi has recently released 'The Sky is a Gateway, Not a Ceiling', a book of Charlotte's collected essays printed alongside images of his own art work. Charlotte is also an artist who creates spiritually directed art works from road kill and found objects. She has had her written work printed in anthologies and various magazines and on line publications and has given presentations at many events and institutions including Edinburgh University and Brooklyn's 'Museum of Morbid Anatomy'. Her art work has been exhibited widely including at London's Chelsea Gallery and The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, and is soon to be shown in New York.
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