It’s a new year, and I’ve been home for two years now, yet I still find myself unable to sit with myself. I still don’t go home until I know I’m exhausted and ready for bed. I still feel like an energizer bunny every time my feet hit the floor in the morning. When is it gonna end? I keep telling myself that this will change when I move into a larger space. Right now the space I’m living in is small. It’s cozy, but there’s not much space to move around. In fact, it’s one room. When I move, I plan to create an oasis in my “living room.” I want candles burning, fresh flowers permeating, soft music playing, and
I’m shopping around for my first apartment. Even though I’m apprehensive about the arduous task of budgeting and paying a ton of bills, I am so excited and ready for the next phase. As I embark on my search for an apartment, I find that the most important feature for me is security. I need to live in a secure building in a safe area. I cannot see myself in an area that is not well-lit and well-protected.
For two decades I was caged, but while the system was protecting me from society I was also protected from society. Readjusting is traumatic, not only because of the numerous stimuli that I am suddenly subjected to but the decrease in security. I almost always felt safe in prison, except when I was stripping, bending, and squatting for a guard after a visit. For the most part I never dealt with direct threats of violence, crime and accidents. Now I’m facing another set of elements, and I have resigned to do my best to keep myself feeling safe.
The transitional housing is surrounded by cameras on a well-lit street, and the security guard sits at the front door constantly. Nobody can get inside without being escorted by their guest. Interestingly, that setting has incited feelings of ambivalence. I feel safe yet somewhat caged. I’m looking forward to seeing how that’s gonna change when I move. One of my dear friends often jokes that I need to take the battery out of my back. I just laugh. Another friend often encourages me to sit still and reflect and meditate. My response is that I can reflect and meditate while I’m on the move because sitting still is not on my agenda. I only have a desire to keep moving. I used to think I was running from myself, but now I think I’m either trying to catch up or release decades of pent up energy. How long is it gonna take? I wonder.