The day I started this post, I opened with the following:
Today, it’s 31 F/-1 C, and I’m craving cups of tea, heated throws, thick books, and jellyfish live streams. However, instead, I’m at my computer, writing this post before digging back into work.
That day, I’d planned to make some pasta aglio e olio (that’s pasta with garlic and olive oil) for lunch. I’d planned to get in lines on an editing project I’m on. I’d even talked about my new 2021 goal of making one Twine text-based game a month all year.
But then life came at me fast and now it’s ten days later, I’m back in Texas, and I’m… going to talk about why.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that on February 2, my now ex partner decided to end our relationship without warning, citing a desire to do so for over a year. This came out of nowhere from my perspective, as many nasty surprises de, and it left me in the lurch and scrambling for footing as the rug was pulled from beneath my quite viciously.
Now, ten days later, I’m back in Texas for an undetermined amount of time. I’m back in the last place I expected to be, though… I have to admit I feel a fair degree of freedom. Living in Missouri did not satisfy me: if anything, it quickly stimmied my creation, in large part due to my rather… controlling partner.
It would be wrong to say that my ex is a bad person: I simply think they’re a person who very willingly chose to do bad things. Bad things like obscuring wanting to breaking up. Bad things like leveling racialized comments at me. Bad things like creating a situation where I felt guilt for using up resources or calling my mother daily or talking to my friends.
Because the reality is that there were good times: there were wonderful days where we watched documentaries and cuddled and spent time together. There were days where we sang in the car, made meals together in the kitchen, stayed up all night chatting, and just existed together. There were days when I thought, “I’ll marry her. I’ll marry her and spend forever and a day with her” because that’s truly what I wanted.
But, in hindsight, I had to quiet so much of myself. I had to dull my shine and had to sacrifice more than she ever did. Japan wasn’t a place I could talk about freely: it quickly became clear that there was little to no interest in my time abroad, nor the past four years of my life that had shaped me. There were small barbs leveled at me: comments about how much I called my mother, comments about my day, comments about my on-going struggles with job hunting.
There was a growing sense that I was never going to be enough, that I’d always be considered “angry” or “hostile” for speaking my mind and getting upset, partially because I’m Black. There were a plethora of things that made it impossible for me to be the person I was before Japan, which is who I think my ex wanted.
There were, as they say, layers.
All of this culminated on me having to flee my former home on February 7. Why? Well, my situation became unsafe: I stopped being able to eat food becasue my ex removed various foods from the kitchen. I became afraid of making noise at night. I quickly became anxious about being stuck inside of the house since I don’t have a car.
I was essentially trapped in a home that wasn’t mine, despite the promise that I “could stay as long as I needed to.”
Whether or not my ex wanted to torment me is a forgone conclusion: it happened, and it happened within hours, and it kept me from sleeping and eating for days. Everything ramped up last Friday when, after being asked, “Are you safe?” by my mother, I realized that no, I wasn’t safe. I was captive in a home that was no longer my own, outside of my name on the lease.
It got worse as more friends asked, “are you safe?” and I brutally realized that I was a young, Black person in a rural state without access to a car, no job, minimal connections to non-white friends (at least inside the region) and little knowledge of the city. I was very unsafe, whether or not that was my ex’s intent.
So, I decided to flee.
I also decided to ask Twitter for help because I couldn’t do this alone.
The immense kindness that flowed my way simple can’t be described. I still don’t have words for the overwhelmingly wonderful amount of donations, kind messages, and cheer that came my way when I essentially tweeted, “I have to leave but I can’t afford to. Please help me.”
And yet… I’m trying hard to accept that people find me worth caring for, that there’s a heck of a lot of people who wanted to support me. Who still support me, even through this really horrible, hurtful time in my life. It’s healing, in a way: it’s certainly kept me going over the past ten days.
In fact, I looked at my Ko-Fi today and saw that I hit 197% of my goal. I asked for $550: I got well over a thousand, and while most of that is gone because fleeing your relationship and former home is expensive, it also allowed me to leave safely within a week. It fed me, got me medicine and medical products, got me on a plane from St. Louis to Dallas, and even got me boxes and tape so I could ship my life back.
All I can say is thank you so… thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’ve applied to different English teaching positions in Japan because yes, I do plan on going back. That’s not even a question. In fact, I fully expect I’ll end 2021 in Japan. Maybe not in Fukushima, but certainly somewhere.
I actually had an interview yesterday that I feel went pretty good. I’m not getting my hopes up, but… I am going to allow myself to relish the joy of getting a seat at the table, even if this isn’t my table. I’ll still keep applying, though… this weekend might be for rest because I sorely need it after all this upheaval.
If you’ve read to the end of this post, you can continue to help by donating to my Ko-Fi’s “Toss a Coin to Your Blerd” Fund which helps me while I job hunt on a global level and hopefully, find myself back in a more stable situation. You can also commission me via my Ko-Fi as well.
I’m not sure how to end this post: this time last week, I was crashing on a couch and trying to figure out if I was safe or not. Now… well, I’m still on a couch, though it’s in a safe place where I can breath and be myself in full.
I suppose what I’ll say is this: here’s to a life-chaning 2021, as well as our mutual success. Thanks dear reader: see you next post.
If you like what you’ve read, like what I’ve got to say, want to support my writing and reviews, or just generally want to support my creative and professional endeavors, please consider buying me a nice, warm cup of Ko-Fi, or donating to me via PayPal. Whatever you can do helps: there’s no such thing as invaluable support, at least not to me.
Thank you in advance for your on-going readership and general support. It truly means the world to me, and helps me keep my head held high as I try to pay forward all the help I’ve been given to other creatives.