Disclaimer: This post contains talk of toxic families, depression, poverty and a lot of other nasty things. No names are given in this post.
Grab a glass of something strong and take a seat. In today’s second part, I’m going to tell you about the last year of my life; the great highs and devastating lows. And how I’m taking back control of my own fate.
In the Autumn of last year, everything was going really well. I really loved my job at M&S and me and boyfriend were starting to move along at a leisurely pace. I was happy also because the family member I lived with had met someone new, A woman from Portsmouth. We both lived in Portsmouth most of our lives so it wasn’t unusual that they’d meet someone from there.
Things were moving along quite nicely and life was getting back on track. I had even picked up a couple freelance writing gigs. One was writing make-up product descriptions for a website, the other was writing escort bios and blog posts for an escort agency in Wales.
My family member started to go and see their new partner at the weekends, just like I did with mine. Although, regularly I would get a text saying that they weren’t coming back for a couple of days. Even on the day when they said they were, they would always extend it. I was annoyed because I was left with the flat and the animals, but it was ok because this was new and exciting for them.
Just before Christmas they had gone down south and the usual texts would come in and the time down there would extend further and further. We were meant to go up north to spend Christmas with family and I was getting worried that they wouldn’t get back in time to sort things out for Christmas.
Christmas Eve came and everyone had to work. I was leaving for the journey on the train at midday so I took an early morning shift. The family member said that they would make it, they would go on their own. They said so many things. Around 9:00am they called me to say that they weren’t going to come and that they were spending Christmas in Portsmouth.
I was so heartbroken. I kept thinking, “how could they do this to me?” We’re family and it’s Christmas. It was only the second Christmas since my mum had died and we should have been together. I was so upset and cried all over the place. I left work early, got my things, took the dog and gave the keys to a neighbour so she could look after the cats.
Christmas was awful. Not because of where I was, but because they weren’t there. On Christmas day when I was doing the rounds on my phone, wishing people Merry Christmas, they would ask how we were and were we having a nice day? I lied and said yes and that they were off somewhere so can’t come to the phone. It was one of the worst Christmases ever.
Back at work, I was coming to the end of my fixed term contract. The company had taken 100 hours away from the store and there weren’t any full-time permanent contracts available. The best they could offer me was a 12-hour contract until the end of February and hope something bigger comes up. I took it because I genuinely enjoyed coming to work. I signed on the Universal Credit, again to make up my earnings. I jumped through all there hoops and believe me, it was like a dog competing at Crufts with all of their obstacles.
Because of my extra hours received, I earned too much to receive any financial help. I was doing everything they wanted, for nothing. All of this time, they were still in Portsmouth. I was becoming nervous about the flat I was living in because it was in his name, after being in my mums. If he wasn’t there, the housing association had to take it back and give it to someone else.
I knew I had to find a new, better paying job and luckily I found one pretty quickly. I was so sad to leave Marks & Spencers, but the fear of suddenly being thrown out at any moment and not having enough money was greater. I joined a company as an SEO writer and started to feel like a real adult in the real world. They were still in Portsmouth.
I would ring them and ask them when they were coming home because I was worried about the flat, the animals and all of the other repercussions. It was around March when they said that they were not coming back. If they had slapped me in the face it would have hurt less.
I went to my local council about what could be done and if they could help me. Sadly, because I wasn’t claiming anything anymore and because I wasn’t technically homeless, there really wasn’t a lot that could be done. I just had to join the waiting list and “bid”. As soon as I was homeless, then my priorities would change and I’d go up the list. I was not going to wait and let that happen.
So there I was, living in absolute uncertainty on the brink of being homeless and losing everything. Surely it couldn’t get any worse?
To be continued…