I see red dresses and my body goes into a panic — it’s May 5 and I should do more (I hear my guilt say), but threats to my safety are a lived experience for me — housing insecurity, assault. I live with panic attacks now, and a constant low level anxiety that somehow always threatens to steal me from the beauty of a delicately healing life.
This is one of the first years I am experiencing this day from housing I can safely call stable. Somewhere I call home. Somewhere I cannot be taken from. I had to give up my home six years ago when grieving my grandmother became insurmountable and I stopped going to PAC meetings and working for the school board — functioning as a ‘healthy’ member of society — when depression became real, and mental health supports couldn’t, wouldn’t, answer my questions — even when a doctor told me about “intergenerational trauma” and impacts of colonialism on mental health and stopped me from taking any further medication.
When I was a young(er) person, after trauma had turned unspoken pain into rage and I had run from my home in the city to a small, rag tag coastal town like some beatnik poet seeking truth in the maddest of houses — my mother used to call me Queen of the MIA. This was before the phrase “MMIW” (or, now MMIWG2sp) appeared and the correlation scared me in reflection, in my later years.
In my grief I allowed my life to slip away from me but what still shocks me in hindsight, always, is how quickly this socio-political economic system let me, no matter our