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I didn’t come home for weeks at a time. I packed my backpack and I was gone for weeks with my ex-girlfriend. We were turnt! I was with my friends whom bought cocaine on the corner outside of a liquor store in West Oakland. I did my first line on the sink in an Uptown apartment. I was kicked out of houses at 2 in the morning. I recited poetry outside of BART for money and volunteered at A Thousand Oaks Elementary as assistant Chaperone of special needs children. Not being home changes when you don’t have one.
The day after my 15th birthday my mom texted me and said that we couldn’t live with her friend anymore. Their landlord told them they had 60 days to move out. My mom, brother and I had 3 days to figure out where we were going to go. I came home on the second day. My mom explained it to me with the least amount of desperation that situation provided. My 20 year old brother lived with his friend and my mom was living in a rehabilitation facility for a month. My options were, foster care, or find someone on the down low who would take me in. I called my friend.
His family took me in for 5 months. My perspective completely changed. I cooked for their family, cleaned for everyone and was responsible for my friend’s actions. I was responsible for everything wrong and wasn’t appreciated for contributing to their household. I felt like I was in the way. Like there wasn’t enough I could do. I was insecure about myself and second guessed my decisions. I came home drunk and lied to my friend’s mom. She accused me the next day. I was caught in between whether or not to bust my friend out on his grades, or his room or his mistakes. I didn’t think that was right. I didn’t want to disappoint my mom if I lost my place to stay. I said I would improve but every small mistake I made accumulated. I violated my curfew when I devoted myself to christianity, and attended YoungLife meeting and for going to basketball practice for conditioning. I called her out on the poor job she did raising her son and that I’m not to blame for his poor academics and use of free time. She envied my drive that her son didn’t adapt from being around me. I did everything for myself and she couldn’t get him to wake him up in the morning for school. I woke up to my friend’s mom boyfriend towering over me from my bed on the ground. He said pack your things, I’ll take you to where you need to go but I want you out of this house. The number of homeless children in the Bay Area are 10,000 a year. I lived in a homeless shelter for a day. I moved in with an adult I met from YoungLife as my mom receives housing assistance.
I devoted myself to religion and extracurricular activities to keep my mind off of my frustration. I still hold a lot of resentment for my friend’s mom. I have dreams where I cry about how I felt that day. But I didn’t let that part of me show. I was alienated. They made me the terroriser that entered their home. They belittled me because I brought to their attention the things they could improve about themselves. I still feel like I’m in the way of others sometimes, or have a hard time finding my safe place. Even though I have my own bed now; I’m still the dude sleeping on your floor.