Homeless and Hopeful from Palos Verdes

1405791009736I love to write. I always have since I was young. Creative writing was my favorite way to express the emotion running rampant within me. I created my WordPress after my business site was launched but struggle with keeping up with it due to insecurity. I figured who on Earth would want to read my verbal vomit.

I have been wanting to write a painfully honest blog about my life in 2014 but couldn’t find the right moment to sit down and let the words, the tears and the fears go. Here I go.. if not for someone else to read, then for me to purge.

After a year of putting parents and other loved ones to rest as well as learning to cope with other forms of loss, I decided to put effort into building a business as an event planner and coordinator. 2013 started out beautifully with opportunity and more cash in my bank account than I thought I would EVER see. The profit from selling our childhood home was greeted with gratefulness and a sense of caution. But only at first…. it was gone by the end of the year and the year flew by. I was tending to the needs of my oldest niece and myself but was not being cautious enough with our future. I was remaining hopeful and positive that I would somehow double my income. When I found us on the verge of being evicted just over a year later, with no place to live and having to put everything in storage…again.. I felt that I just couldn’t fall any further. In June/July of this year, Alyssa and I were living out of my jeep and hopping from couch to couch, house to house. I couldn’t even actually think of the fact that we were essentially homeless. I just needed to be sure that my niece was able to feel a brief sense of security after a Thyroid Cancer diagnosis. No matter how tough our situation was, I tried my hardest to stay encouraged especially for this recent Magna Cum Laude graduate and truly remarkable little soul. I always felt like it was alright to give up on me, but never her. She taught me that was not okay with her at all.

I am choosing not to give up on me and this is for you Alyssa. So now I feel free to actually express the reality that lived and lives within me. Every single day I woke with this horrible challenge of trying to remain positive. I felt grateful and assured that I have incredible friends in my life, but that did not stop the feeling of being a failure. The feeling of wondering if I was able going to be able to take a deep breath again. The feeling that the only family I had would continue to see me as a failure or as something negative. I just wanted stability for Alyssa so she could focus on her health. We were able to buy a few groceries each week as I had to take a job at Trader Joes for stability and health insurance. Believe me, I couldn’t be more grateful for my time and the opportunity at the Redondo Beach Trader Joes. It has changed my life… and hers.

What was so very ironic to me was that I had a wedding to attend in Beverly Hills that I absolutely did not feel comfortable attending. I felt naked in my life stress and feared being exposed to anyone who could read me like sheet music. Instead of trying to cover up, I did what I know how to best. Just be… I knew I needed to at least appear to be worthy of attending this potentially $100,000 wedding but what did that look like..14057910496612014-07-22 23.18.16A simple, yet elegant looking black dress from TJ Maxx for $12.

20140719_001551Makeup from my emergency bridal makeup kit. 20140719_000530My Coach sunglasses bought on clearance at the Mammoth Lakes Coach outlet. 2014-07-22 23.31.23Elegant black shoes from that $20 shoe store on the corner of Catalina in Redondo Beach.

2014-07-22 23.30.05 Costume earrings. 2014-07-22 23.27.23

I decided against the eyelashes and figured natural was best. Plus I didn’t have any glue. 2014-07-22 23.26.15 A washed car and more than anything.. confidence driving up and walking into the Beverly Hills Hotel. 2014-07-22 23.21.47

and again.. the finished product… (below)

I walked into the hotel after getting dressed partially in the mall bathroom and partially in my car at the Century Plaza Mall parking structure. Sunglasses dawning the made up eyes that could cry at any moment. I was early and awaiting Steve and two additional guests. Right away, as it is Beverly Hills, I could hear the comments. I expected things like I heard in 4th grade. “Look at her with her cheap new dress, I bet she thinks she looks good.” I could actually picture the 4 girls that verbally accosted me at Rancho Vista Elementary School walking right up from nowhere to make sure I felt as insecure as I did. But when I actually stopped the committee in my head for a moment to listen, what I heard was comical. People thought I was “somebody”. “Who is that, Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, some other famous actress?” I kept my sunglasses on and tried to not trip in my 5 inch heels as I wandered to the bathroom. Ahh the bathroom that looks like you could live in it. It was more like a boudoir for the exuberant and famous.  I had to squash the awful feelings I had of being upset and envious of a life I never had and didn’t feel I would ever. Not that I want that bathroom or to stay at that hotel. I just admired the stability that others seemed to have. I stared at myself for a moment and tried to really wrap the conceptual mental mess around what was left of clear thought. I walked out with the poised walk I learned from my Mom and John Robert Powers rip off modeling school back in the 80’s. I maintained the same allure and aloofness that seemed to attract on lookers upon entry into the lobby.

I was comforted when I saw Steve walk in, but what was even more humorous is that he didn’t even know it was me at first. We shall say it was because I do not get dressed up often. As we all made our way downstairs to the huge room with a trillion flowers I continued to wonder how I was going to make it through the evening. I just could not get comfortable. Like I was wearing, living and breathing a lie.

A ceremony, a lot of appetizers and 2 glasses of wine later, I felt great. Well, I felt buzzed and that everything was not nearly as important as I thought. Clarity was becoming mine. I took photos of the uniqueness and decadence of this wedding as I knew I would never attend another like this. The food was excellent as I felt like I had not had some of the more expensive brands of cheese and other items since we had been living house to house. Nothing ever completely whisked me away from my truth like it happens in Cinderella. Not even a slow dance with a Prince could have smacked me in the face more than being there during one of my lowest points in my life. I did feel a sense of honesty within me. I felt my parents spirits reassuring me that I could rebuild as long as I believed in myself. And….. that is exactly what I have been doing. Crossing my fingers that I continue. Thank you Mom and Dad for your strength…

Very special thanks to Hank, Stephanie and the Reed family, my NAPW Board of Directors, Steve, Gordon and his remarkable home in El Segundo on FlipKey, Kendra and Brian, Mike, Nikki, and George. Oh and to our wonderful little furry boys who have had to adapt to multiple homes.. Apollo and Leo you are our wonder dogs.

Mostly, thank you to Alyssa for never giving up on her Auntie. I love you SO much!!!  2014-07-22 23.18.16

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2 thoughts on “Homeless and Hopeful from Palos Verdes

  1. How brave of you to reveal part of your inner most person, Julia. That is a difficult thing to do and I admire you for it. I know you wrote this a long time ago but I am sending you big hugs and lots of love just the same!

    • Thank you Suzie. It was simply real and what I was experiencing at the time. It was so important for me to go through such a tough time so I could rise above it all and be so much stronger. I will certainly take that hug though. ☺

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