Renewed Hope

Posted by jennifer gibson on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 Under: Jan 2018

So far I'm not impressed with the beginning of 2018. It has already been a frustrating week and it's only the second day of January.  Mind you, it has nothing to do with going back to my regular routine after a week-long holiday break. My body was screaming at me to take time off, wanting to heal some old injuries that came back with a vengeance. I took that opportunity to have some quiet time, do some reading and photography which I enjoy. This was a necessity so that I didn’t lose my mind, or what's left of it.

To be able to sit by the fireplace, as the snow fell outside, while my cats sat on the rocking chair with me was a real treat. Although I may need to consider getting a bigger reading chair so that we all fit in it. That sense of calm and joy while being surrounded by my purring fur-babies was precious to me. It's so rare that I get a chance to do that since I'm usually on the go.

This year is already shaping up to be one that’s full of unanswered questions. My future is a mysterious enigma, I have no idea of where it's headed and that scares me to some degree. The last thing I need is more negativity and failures. More than anything, I want it to be filled with delightful surprises, new friendships and exciting experiences that I deserve to have.

It's the beginning of the new year, and I already feel exhausted and defeated. I've been spending a considerable amount of time, every freaking day, searching for a new place to live for me and my cats. The prices are ridiculous, astronomically and comically high. For someone like me, desperate to move forward in my life, it has been a major let down not to be able find a new home. I've been looking for over six months, non-stop, dealing with several real estate agents without any tangible leads. At this moment, I feel ripped off, having wasted so much time and still stuck in the same place.

I kept an open-mind, choosing a variety of cities to consider living in, from as far away as Kingston where I used to fence every week for years, to more familiar locations such as Belleville, Peterborough, Port Hope and Cobourg. I even looked in retirement communities for active adults without much luck. Due to my profound hearing loss and deafness, I've had to rely on financial assistance to help pay for food, shelter and basic necessities along with my freelance work. It’s not much and there were times when I was in tears from not having enough funds to pay for things like cat food.

Still, I considered myself very lucky to have the support that I needed to get by, especially with the high cost of hearing aids. Unfortunately, the income that I receive falls in the poverty range. It's something that I have had to accept and feel blessed because I know that it could be much worse. Every time I see a homeless person on the street, I give them what I can, since I know that it could easily be me in their shoes. It doesn't take much to slip below that line. I consider myself very fortunate to have a warm home, especially while we are in the grips of the polar vortex.

If it hadn't been for my mother and her gracious support and compassion, I wouldn't be where I am today. I know that as I step towards the future and into 2018, I have to let go of the past. It should be easier than it sounds, ironically. This coming week is also the first anniversary of my mother's death. This is not where I wanted to be at this time. Last year, I had promised myself that I would be living in a new home before January 2018. It's what I wanted to do as a tribute to her by being able to start anew as a strong and independent person. I wanted to be free. Right now, still here, I feel like that I had failed her.

I wanted to start a new life, filled with renewed hope and fresh optimism. I looked for jobs and apartments, trying to move forward everyday. I have not been able to achieve those goals that I set out to achieve, unable to break these chains that keep me here.

In some ways, I've come full circle, choosing to go back to where my mother grew up and starting over there. While it may seem ironic that I've chosen to go back "home", to start a new chapter in my life, it felt right. After spending so much time searching in the wrong places, I now know that this is the correct path.

While there is nothing wrong with having a limited income, it has had a direct impact on my ability to find a new place to live. I was recently asked what my preferences were in terms of housing, my immediate response was an apartment /condo with 24 hour security or on-site staff. They inquired as to why not a duplex or townhouse? After having to contact the police in recent months due to a trespasser (again), I realized that living on my own in a rural community was not an ideal situation for me anymore. I needed to feel safe, for me and my fur-babies. I didn't like the idea of having someone who could easily break into my house without me being able to hear them.

Some of the newer places, particularly the snazzy ones in the more trendy areas, provide full time concierge services. While that's my dream home, it's a bit out of my paltry price range. One thing that I've noticed while researching the amenities they provide (or lack of), is that the majority of places do not cater to people with a severe hearing loss or any type of disability. Some may have visual fire alarms (if you are lucky) but that is about it. They didn't take into account what happens if someone uses the buzzer in the lobby: how does someone like me hear it or even respond to it? What happens if someone knocks on my door? How can I hear it? I have asked my real estate agents if there are any deaf friendly buildings, they all said "no". They told me that it's entirely up to me to outfit the apartment with devices that I need, out of my own pocket. I find this lack of accommodation for people like me, really disturbing, particularly since there is supposed to be more awareness and knowledge about disabilities in general. 

These are entirely new questions and situations that I face since I’m living on my own. Not only that, I have to find a pet friendly place. I would be lost without my cats, they give me a sense of purpose, joy and responsibility.  At this moment, my main priority is my safety. I'm no longer comfortable living in a big house in the countryside. I’m tired of trying to drive my small car through thigh high snowdrifts in my driveway and getting stuck. I’m afraid I’m going to break my key in the frozen lock on my front door. There are days when I can’t even open the door since there is a thick layer of ice sealing it shut. It’s days like that, that make me want to scream. And not a cute girly scream, a loud primal roar full of rage aimed at the weather gods. 

I'm a city girl at heart. I went to high school in a big city, played hockey and went to karate tournaments in many large cities all over Ontario. I want to be able to walk uptown or downtown, go shopping at the farmer's market, visit new boutiques and go for a cup of cappuccino without using my car. Where I am now, it means that it's a 45 minute drive in any direction to watch a movie that is captioned, play sports, or go shopping. For me, that’s too much.

I want to live in a place that is exciting, in a thriving metropolis. More than anything, I want to experience the city at my fingertips where there are endless possibilities and dreams. Most of all, I want to go back home and start over again with renewed hope.

In : Jan 2018 

Tags: hope  dreams  safe   
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