A few of you have asked how I'm doing. Finally the words are coming...
Let me preface by saying that I arrived in Toronto August 1st with two suitcases of summer clothes. Without work for 4 months, any government assistance or charity, somehow I have managed to put together a small home for my daughter and I. How this has happened amazes me. It's a path of gifts, of many small miracles.
Money is the very strangest thing of all. I literally have almost nothing. I don't have what I have collected over a lifetime, nor can buy what we need. With that route denied, how things have been coming to me astounds me. Oh, Freecycle™ is amazing; so is my neighbourhood. Little things, I needed a plastic drainer for a dish rack & found one yesterday; I needed a shopping cart (3 in storage, nothing to use), found an old rusted but perfectly serviceable one; needed a printer for my daughter's long Civic's project, was given one by a Freecycle™ member, and she got 144/145 on it; needed a Winter coat, found an Eddie Bauer down coat for $15. at ValuVillage, when I went to pickup a internet cable from another Freecycle member, & my son agreed to give it to me as a Christmas present; we were sleeping on thin plastic camping mats, and over the weeks I found a queen-sized and a 2 twin foam mattresses, all in good shape, and ultra cheap sheets from Wal-Mart; we were eating off 2 plastic plates from a friend's camping gear, and a Freecycle member gave us a slightly chipped but utterly beautiful 4 place setting dish set; I needed an electric broom, sweeping wasn't cleaning our small space well enough, and found one, clean, cord wrapped neatly around it, with some attachments, waiting for me as if was a gift; and on & on. Precisely what I need I find. I rub my eyes in utter amazement. You can have no idea. When I look about me, at the gifts of friends, Freecycle™, and 'finds,' I realize I have created a small home out of nothing. It's stone soup. I didn't know I was such a staunch survivor. But I am.
Even the basement apartment in which we are living was a find, not only the interior space, but it's in a genuinely loving home that is a balm to my ravaged edges, and which I am deeply appreciative of. Still, I do recognize that what keeps me here rather than on the street is a fragile line. My 3-bedroom household is in storage. Even with continued threats from my ex over cutting the little bit of child support, it trickles in and the rent gets paid every month, and some emergency money from my son paid the storage fees right on the edge of everything we own being auctioned off last week. All our photographs, mementos, books, clothes, furniture. All my paintings, and all the writing I've done through the years. Almost gone, but for a last minute reprieve. It's been like that. Living on the edge. Figuratively and literally.
I think about these things as I walk the hour and 20 minutes it takes each way to a Wal-Mart where milk is $3.77 instead of $5.50 as it is at all the supermarkets around here, and somehow manage to feed myself and my daughter on next to nothing at Wal-Mart and No Frills (which I never ever shopped at before, especially Wal-Mart with its closing a store in Quebec that was forming a union, and its child labour issues, and it's employment practices in general, but, oh). When the coffers are empty, my brother will unexpectedly press some bills into my hand, or my son (who's living at his Dad's) will deposit something into my account from his minimum wage part-time job at a supermarket (I weep at their generosity); just today, all options exhausted, a clerical temp job for two days appeared, which will feed us for 2 weeks, if we are careful.
It's a most strange existence, this. There is no luxury, not even a comfortable chair, let alone a couch to curl up in (oh, a perfect one came to me, but we couldn't get it down the narrow stairwell). Still we maintain ourselves. And I'm learning about trust. That's the key, I think. Life is an odd affair. But keep loving and trusting. Where am I going with all this? I didn't intend to write a 'tell all' post. Even I find the description of my present life rather shocking. But then, again, I am working on uncertainty and trust, which is a theme of my novel, "The Move," and now on grounding, settling, housing, coming into oneself... and so I wonder if my dream of owning a house that is large enough for my kids and I will also come true. We do move in the direction of our dreams, don't we? Aren't we the directors of our lives? Don't we create our lives as we live them? We'll see, we'll see.