When I turned that key in the door for the last time, I felt my heart drop. My high-rise apartment in the sky, my little piece of heaven, wasn't going to by mine anymore. I would never again get to sink into that enormous tub, lie in bed and count the stars, or sit on my terrace and stare off into Downtown San Diego and watch the ships pull into the bay.
This was our first home together. The home where Highway asked me to be his wife, the last place I spent time with Highway's father, who passed away last year, the place where we spent our first night as a married couple . . . gone now. But it was more than that.
I wept as I drove from San Diego with the truck's final load, off to store it for the summer. I felt a little lost, as if I belonged nowhere. I kept reminding myself that this is what I wanted, to be free. I couldn't quite understand why I felt so heartbroken.
It took a good chunk of that long drive to realize what I already knew. Change is hard. Not just for me, but for most of us, change is difficult. I can want something, think about it, dream about it, but from time to time, doing it is another matter entirely. Being homeless, giving up all the comforts I've come to surround myself with, living by the seat of my pants, literally, is wildly out of character for me. But I got so caught up in making this dream happen I never considered that I might actually be scared.
Yes, I said it. Scared. I'm scared.
Just don't tell anyone that deep down inside, Sash is really a chickenshit. Don't tell everyone that I'm afraid of that open road that I long for so fervently. And by all means, don't throw it in my face when you meet me out there. Let's pretend that I am the Bad Ass that all of my girlfriend's think I am. . .
I've learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but realizing one is afraid and doing the thing that scares them anyway. Often for me it's not about being courageous, it's about sticking to my commitment, doing the task that is laid out before me, even if I'm the one that laid it there. I could back out, but I would regret it for the rest of my life.
I've had many really bad things happen to me in my life and I need to remember, I've made it through every one of them. I was abused as a little girl, I was beaten terribly and hospitalized by my boyfriend in my teens, I was raped at gunpoint by an intruder in my first apartment, my heart stopped for 2 1/2 minutes on Christmas Eve of 2008 and I came back to life, yet none of those things killed me. If I can face a man with a bandanna on his face holding a gun to my head in the darkness of my apartment, forcing me to the floor and not shed a tear, then I can face most anything. I've walked through Hell, so what is left to fear?
Fear is a liar. It tells me something might happen that will hurt me so don't move forward. Well, something is bound to happen that will hurt me in life. Life is full of ups and downs. I'm living for the ups and muscling my way through the downs.
My biggest fear since I was a teenager has been to be homeless. I've never shared this with anyone, not even Highway. I look with pity at the many homeless people in San Diego and fear that one day I'll be like them; no options, no family, no one to help me. To be homeless now teaches me that being homeless is not the same as being unloved. Quite the contrary! I've never felt more loved in my life.
I'm the richest homeless person I know. And somehow I had to get rid of everything to realize I have all I need, after all.