Several years ago, in my early twenties, I was literally within weeks of being homeless. My car was dead, I was unemployed and almost out of benefits, had been eating rice and ramen for almost 6 months, and I was being evicted from my apartment because they were raising the rent by over $100 a month (30% more), which was more than my UI. I was literally less than a month from losing everything I had. The "public assistance" stuff at that time was only available to women with kids, not able-bodied students. I already had too many men catcalling me on the streets, following me home from the bus, etc - how the fuck would I survive without even a car to lock myself into? How would I cook, what could I eat or drink?
I had no one to turn to, just my own skill and magic. I had to make some luck, and fast.
I was lucky, I had some magical skill, and a stubborn will. I spent weeks calling temp services, and working rituals to get a job and apartment. No fancy shit with robes and props, just focus of my will on what I needed. Action plus magic, with purpose and will.
I found a (temp) job I could get to by transit, and another
apartment that I could (just barely) afford. I moved on the last
weekend before the end of my notice. All during this time I had no
medical insurance, of course, so even when I trashed my ankle a few
months later, I just ace bandaged it, stayed home from work for two days
(unpaid) and took lots of ibuprofen.
But I will never forget,
staring into a dingy bathroom mirror on a soon to be overpriced slum
apartment (complete with roaches), telling myself I would never let
myself get that desperate again. Another "spell", and one I remember and reinforce every time I think about it.
Ever since then, I've always had
a few months of food "in case". I've always tried to keep a car that I
could sleep in, if I had to. I always had "camping gear" available,
ready to hand. I've always had a plan B, plan C, and plan D, and fret
if I don't. I have my magical senses tuned to the flow of the world around me. Mundane action, and magical awareness.
I always will.
I wasn't raised a few weeks away from homelessness. I was middle class, professional parents, raised a good little Christian girl, etc. But that was before Ronald Reagan was president, and the shredding of the safety net., and the rise of the institutional hypocrisy of the Religious Right.
every time someone shits on the homeless, I take it personally. That
could have been me, but for a job from a temp agency. The only
difference, in a lot of cases, is that they never got that call, never had the magic or the luck. They didn't have the magical skill to bend probability just a little bit.
Two of my roommates were homeless before they moved in with me. Both veterans.
don't go on marches and all of that. But my friends know that if
they're a bit short on food, if I've got something they can use to eat,
it's theirs for the asking. If someone needs a couple months crash, if
I've got room, they can have a roof for a while, but not necessarily
I will not vote for a Republican who is heir to anything resembling Reagan's "legacy".
matter how much I make, no matter how high I rise, a part of me will
always be a terrified twenty-something looking at living on the street
with nothing, desperately working every type of magic I knew to change my situation.