Rebirth Day

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Four years ago today, I ran away from a bad relationship in the middle of the night. My plan was to kill myself.

My partner had been telling me that’s what I should do, even though he knew I had a history of depression and suicidal thoughts. Things were so bad between us, I believed my death was the only solution.

I was surprised to discover that the farther away I walked from the relationship, the less I wanted to die. I guess I wanted to live, just not with him.

Sleeping helped. He’d kept me from getting a good night of sleep for weeks, and the naps I took as I walked (especially several hours of rest in an abandoned car) really helped clear my head. Being away from his second-hand pot smoke helped a lot too. (I never thought the second-hand pot smoke was affecting me until I got away from it and making reasonable decisions became easier.) And the DMT I’d smoked the night before? I think it saved my life by giving me just enough sense of well being to keep me going.

I started a new life when I snuck off into the night, a life where no one told me I was a bad person. I started a life in which I had friends again. I started a life where no on threatened to kill me, the dog, my entire family, everyone I’d ever cared for, and finally, himself. I started a life where no one yelled about my driving and found fault with everything I did. I started a life where I ate what I wanted and wore what I wanted and did what I wanted.

However, I didn’t quite dance into the sunrise surrounded by animated woodland creatures. I was homelss (as in no house, no van, no tent) for a while. I slept in a rest area, wondering if I’d wake to a rattlesnake curled up on me for warmth or to a man with a gun. I ate out of trash cans and from the special room at the food bank for people who didn’t have stoves. (Cold soup was delicious when I was hungry enough.)

I don’t write these things looking for pity. Pity aggravates me. I’m not looking for anyone to say Oh poor you. I never had it worse (and usually had it better) than so many people in the world who face bombs and famine and rape and torture.

I write about these things because they are true. This is what happened to me. And these kinds of things happen to other people too. Why are we supposed to be ashamed and silent?

Why are we supposed to be ashamed for having been in an abusive relationship? (Maybe our abusers are the ones who should be ashamed.) Yes, I should have left sooner (and I’d actually left three big times before.) According to http://www.domesticabuseshelter.org/infodomesticviolence.htm,

On average, a woman will leave an abusive relationship seven times before she leaves for good[,]

so I figure I’m ahead of the game. At any given moment, I was doing the best I could to do what I thought I needed to do to protect myself and others.

Why are we supposed to be ashamed of being homeless or living in a van? Why are we supposed to be ashamed of being poor, of living hand to mouth? (Maybe the rich who live with excess while others do without necessities should be ashamed.) Why are we supposed to be ashamed of eating out of garbage cans? (Maybe the people throwing out perfectly edible food are the ones who should be ashamed.)

I write these things in the hope of helping others. I made it through the darkness; I think you can too. If a person tells you you’re stupid and worthless and no one else will ever love you, it’s a lie. Being homeless is not the end of the world and being unencumbered by material possessions can be liberating. Don’t let anyone shame you for living in a van; you have a freedom many envy. Being poor is not a moral failing; the system’s set up so the rich benefit while the poor suffer.

Running away in the night led to hardships, but it led to beauty too. I made new friends. I started selling sage sticks, then jewelry, then shiny rocks to support myself. Old friends found me when I thought no one was looking for me and no one cared. They gave me a bit of money and a bunch of love. I bought a van. I went on an epic road trip practically from coast to coast. I worked at being a good person and helping others when I could.

My first rebirth day was a quiet big deal to me. I’d made it a year. My ex hadn’t found me. I was alive, and I had a van to live in. My friend reminded me of my second rebirth day, and I was happy I’d made it another year without any contact from my ex. Last year I was so busy being a camp host that my rebirth day passed quietly by.

This year I’m commemorating by telling my story. I ran away, and I’m alive. I have friends and a job, and I’m relatively happy. (Some days are better than others, but that’s how it was when I lived in a house too.) I travel and see amazing natural beauty. People enjoy reading what I write. I have a good life.

On this special day of mine, please allow me to whisper in your ear: Stay strong. Don’t give up.

 

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I’ve never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again.

I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist.

Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it.

I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk.

This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

17 Responses »

    • Thank you for reading and thank you for appreciating. I love you too! You are a GREAT friend, and I am SO GLAD to have you in my life.

  1. Happy Rebirth Day! Your story is very uplifting, not sad or pitiful – except for the fact that there are people who believe that they have a right to treat other human beings the way your ex treated you. That is sad and pitiful.

  2. Abuse victims often grow up in abusive homes, and when they leave, they get into the victim position because it’s the most familiar to them.

    Accepting abuse is trained into people. It starts with little verbal jabs and gradually increases in frequency and intensity. The victims are trained to believe that if only they were a better person, smarter, and did as they were told, everything would be fine – which isn’t true. Abusers are psychopaths (mental health definition: people who have no conscience). Although they may act contrite and apologize (“I love you”), they don’t mean any of it because they don’t know what love or kindness is, and wouldn’t care if they did understand it. Abusers like to abuse, and that’s the fact of the matter. THEY LIKE DOING IT, and they will NEVER change. They will not change if you became perfect, and they wouldn’t change if someone put a million dollars in cash in their hand and stuck the business end of a revolver in their ear. When they act nice, it’s an act; they’re just manipulating you. They’ve watched normal people and practiced on a long series of victims before they got to you, finding out what works for control and what doesn’t.

    As for what passes for “normal” people (Americans, anyway), the ones who judge others by their material possessions, they, too, have been trained by society to evaluate people by the amount of MONEY they have. Or are perceived to have. How good or bad they are, is immaterial to them.

    Americans have been trained by fear – mainly, the Fear of Lack of Money. Americans belittle people who don’t have much in the way of wealth or material possessions, even if they themselves are up to their scalp in debt. For instance, if a person is living in a big, new RV, they are perceived to be a quality person. If the person parked right beside them is living in a 25-year-old Ford van and cooking on a tin can rocket stove, they are seen as dangerous loosers. The RV owner may be Manuel Noriega, and the van owner may be Steven Hawking, but you don’t have to guess which one people stop to chat with.

    IOW, I suspect that people are afraid of people who live in vans, and fear them for two very basic reasons: 1) It scares them to realize they could find themselves in that very same position, because 2) they feel that they couldn’t do it themselves and would die.

    Never discount fear, because that’s what makes America run. Sad, isn’t it?

  3. I found your story refreshing and honest. It’s a story of awakening and assessment, discovery, development and evaluation and finally, normality. What more could any of us ask?

    Lest we forget though, remember that many a wealthy woman is subjected to abuse in her own home. And because she has so much in her life (beautiful home, clothes, food, recreation etc) she is often unable to escape because she knows she can’t recreate her life. She doesn’t understand that she can still have a good life…just like you.

    I greatly admire your guts to leave, your resilience to ‘make it’, and your resolve to help others by writing your story.

    • Thank you for this encouragement, Ford.

      There is much more to abuse than just lack of material resources. Yes, you are right, many wealthy (and smart and brave) women also suffer abuse. Abusers know how to make people feel useless and defenseless, no matter what resources are available. Thank you for reminding us of this.

  4. Happy Happy Rebirth Day!

    I’m so proud and happy you got away, happy that you are still out there, having experiences that many of us only dream of…sure, it ain’t easy, life seldom is as easy as we were led to believe it would be, but you create beauty wherever you go, and every time I read one of your posts, my day is a little bit better.

    • Thank you for these kind and encouraging words. I appreciate you! I appreciate that you read my posts and that you are my friend. You, my dear, are an outstanding writer and I hope to be able to read more from you in the upcoming year (or sooner!).

  5. Thank you Blaize, for being brave enough to leave, brave enough to continue on your own. In sharing your story you not only help others who have had similar life experiences but you enlighten all of us by showing the possibilities of this world.

    • I love you too! One of the good parts of the whole mess is that it helped me reconnect with wonderful friends like you. Thank you for all of your love and support.

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