Jennifer

jennifer

Hand Sanitizer

Drinking helps me cope. I have horrible trauma in my past—sexual abuse growing up, living on the streets, being kidnapped and raped. It’s amazing that I’m still alive. Hand sanitizer isn’t what I like to drink, but it’s usually what I can get. When I go to the hospital, it’s everywhere. I hate the hospital for lots of reasons, and this is one of them. People judge you and treat you differently when they know you’re an alcoholic, but usually not in helpful ways. I wish instead, they would know to take the hand sanitizer out of my hospital room.

Canned Vegetables

I see a specialist for my liver, who says I have to eat low sodium. This is hard enough when you don’t live in poverty (wouldn’t you miss eating pickles?) but I have to get most of my food from the foodbank. A lot of what I can get there is quite salty. When I do get fresh food, my roommates often steal it from the fridge. I don’t know how to do this or where to start. My worker tried to get the specialist to help me figure out the low sodium diet, or give me some other options. He made a comment to the effect that if he could eat healthy while he was a poor med student, then I could figure it out too.

Cellphone

I broke my last cell phone 8 months ago. Sometimes, getting a hold of me means throwing stones at my window. Having a cell phone matters so much. It helps me feel safe. I can talk to my dad (My mom won’t talk to me–she doesn’t believe that I was sexually abused growing up, and hasn’t forgiven me for saying so). I can also text my worker, and that helps me feel better too. I really like my worker. She makes me feel happy.

Art and Books

Art is very important to me. I draw and write and I like being creative. It helps me feel like I’m good at something and I’m doing something worthwhile. It helps me express my feelings. I get inventive and I use all sorts of materials—old jewelry, fabrics, things from nature. I also read and re-watch movies and have a few other hobbies, but I don’t really have anyone to talk to. There’s just not enough for me to do.

 Keys

My roommates throw parties at all hours and sometimes they’re really scary—that happens when you use substances like meth. I keep my door locked to keep them out, but sometimes they bust it open anyway. When the lock is broken, I can’t feel safe. I can’t sleep. I can’t go out either, because I don’t know what I’ll come back to. And leaving the house and going outside is always scary, even if I can lock the door. It’s too much. I end up tired and alone and scared. I call those days “hiding days”.

Flowers

I live in a rooming house, with several other roommates. My bedroom is my sanctuary. It’s beautiful. I keep scented candles, and decorate the walls with photos and art. I’m growing a few plants, which my neighbour taught me to grow and help me get started. The rest of the house is a mess. The dishes are all dirty, and there’s trash everywhere. There are animals who live in the house that never get let out to defecate—it smells horrible. I was more hygienic when I lived on the streets. My landlord is now in the process of evicting everyone. My worker is helping me find a new place—or I would have nowhere to go.