The home, the sanctuary….

My year long lease is officially up and I’ve started the task of looking for another place. I don’t know about any of you but now when I’m looking, I have somewhat of a check list of things that I’d “like” to have in my home. But as I was browsing places to live and checking off the ones that didn’t meet my expectations, it made me think back to a time when I didn’t even have the option…especially since I was living in my car.


In the early part of 2005, there was a lot of things that was going on in my life. I had just experienced a really bad break up and of course, that break up meant that we couldn’t share a place with one another anymore. I had temporarily moved in with a friend and after a disagreement about friends and guests, it didn’t work out. So I found myself living in a hotel. I had just landed a job. The money was “okay” but it wasn’t enough for me to save up and get a deposit. Then, it was easier for me to take my money and pay for a (not so nice) hotel every week. I remember spending my 25th birthday with a few friends and being happy to have gotten away from my room for a while. I remember damn near begging them to keep the party going (even though they all had to work the day after) just so I wouldn’t have to go back to the hotel. The carpet was a mess, the tub was definitely NOT bath worthy (showers and shower shoes ALL DAY) and I think the fridge came to my hip. After a while, I got some things together and got this cute condo in Sandy Springs. I know that that isn’t “totally” homeless but it was still a bad situation. But probably not as bad as the next time.

A couple years later, I found myself living in my car for a while. I had sold most of my things, so all I had to my name was clothes, my laptop and a blanket. I remember parking outside of a Krystal’s restaurant so that I could get online to try and find something. Again, I had a job but I wasn’t making enough to give someone a month or two of rent for a deposit. I called one of my friends (who, to this DAY, is one of my closest friends ever). I told him what happened, I told him I had no money. I told him that I was near College Park, GA and with him being ALL the way in Dekalb County, I doubt my car would make it b/c I didn’t have any gas. He told me to just drive and he’d stay on the phone with me until I got there. Fortunately I made it. I ended up staying with him for about a month before I got into my own place.

All of this is a bunch of rambling now but when it was going on, I remember how alone I felt. I was miserable and I felt worthless. In addition to dealing with people who didn’t have my best interests at heart, I was also making my own share of bad decisions that continuously landed me in bad positions. And as I look for another place now, I can’t help but to think back on those times. Although my life still isn’t perfect (and probably never will be), I feel grateful to be able to afford to even look. Knowing what it’s like to be in an unfavorable situation teaches you a level of humility that you can’t learn from anyone.

I make better decisions now. I don’t always get everything right but I’m very mindful of every move I make so that I don’t land myself back in that same situation. That’s why my home is so important to me. When you leave your 9 to 5, you should be able to go home to a place that feels serene; you can kick off your shoes and relax b/c you feel at home. And now that I work from here, it’s just as important to feel peaceful in my surroundings.

Living out of a nasty hotel or in your car isn’t fun but the one thing that it did teach me is how to be grateful. At any moment, life can throw us a right hook that can totally knock us on our ass. But it’s up to you on whether you’ll keep lying down or get up and fight back. As many times as I felt like giving up and just saying “fuck it” with the hand that I was dealt, I’m happy that I stuck around and kept giving it one more try. A lesson in humility and appreciation always helps….

7 Comments on The home, the sanctuary….

  1. Crownie
    07/15/2011 at 2:12 am (3 years ago)

    i mean, i loved you before, but this is so humbling. thank you for sharing your experience. you’re always so honest. <3

    i'm going to stick with it.

  2. EclecticFlavor
    07/15/2011 at 2:17 am (3 years ago)

    Wow!
    this was inspirational..Its a blessing
    that you have made it soo far and ur
    only gonna do even bigger and better
    things.

    Thanks for sharing.
    -PeAcE

  3. Slim
    07/15/2011 at 11:47 pm (3 years ago)

    honestly, this could not have come at a better time. I was literally sitting in my apartment, crying because my lease is up and I don’t have anywhere else to go. I damn sure don’t have enough for another place (to my liking). I was looking into collegiate housing (again) because it’s furnished and somewhat in my price range. But who wants to live around college kids? Maybe beggars shouldn’t be choosers. It’s amazing to think that at one point you were living out of your car Jia. You never know what others are going through or have gone through to get where they are. Like you said, your life isn’t perfect, but it is definitely better. It makes me optimistic and hopeful that things can and will get better. All the best.

  4. Jia
    07/16/2011 at 12:21 am (3 years ago)

    Aww Slim! Definitely don’t give up! You really don’t know what someone else is going through. The whole time that I was living out of my car, I was still online, chatting it up with friends smiling and laughing…while using the wifi at a restaurant all hours of the day. I really hope that it all works out for you. Seriously.

  5. Candice
    07/16/2011 at 12:28 am (3 years ago)

    I don’t talk to you outside of the internet, but what more and more I’m glad to be able to communicate with you, b/c you have a story and you’re not afraid to tell it. I’m sure you do it for the cleansing of your own soul, but it’s inspiring to know that I or someone else hasn’t been the only person to go through these things and feel these feelings. Glad to see you persevering everyday!

  6. Jia
    07/16/2011 at 12:35 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you!!! I’m definitely sharing a story! I appreciate you guys for checking for it.

  7. ChknQueen
    07/22/2011 at 5:30 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow. I’ve always been cautious as can be as to what may be around the corner, but you’re a trooper. You’re strong, Jia, and it’s great to see you in a better place in life. No one knows our story, unless you tell it. I can’t believe you have so much negativity from people, and when I read this, I’m in shock. You’ve held your head up so high even in the worst situations, and you deserve so much happiness.

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