The very first thing I’d like to point out about living in New Mexico is that it is, in fact, a part of the United States of America. It is truly frightening and sad to me that in the few months I’ve lived here, I’ve had to tell people that I didn’t leave the country. Seriously folks… our education system sucks.
So back in October 2017 I reached a crisis point in Philadelphia. I was receiving housing assistance and living in a building where I was literally the only one in the building not on drugs (crack and heroin mostly) and I was also the only female not selling herself. I lived in that building for about 8 months I think, but it might have well been one really long day. One day I caught one of the whores that didn’t live in the building breaking into the mailboxes. I called the police and confronted her… she assaulted me…I kicked her ass. The police didn’t believe me and asked if I slept with her, yelling at me for calling them, and they truly didn’t care that she hit me, or that I chased her ass out with a baseball bat. The landlord didn’t care either. My social worker at the VA didn’t return my calls. So I turned to the Internet. I HAD to get out of Philly. STAT.
I posted to one of my Veteran Support groups that I was looking for a place to live. I didn’t care where. All I knew was that I wanted to go west (I’m originally from CA). I had quite a few people offer me rooms all over the country, but one place stood out. A non-profit here in NM that claimed to help homeless veterans. They offered me a “sweat equity” kind of deal where my housing would be supplied in exchange for work. They needed someone to help them write grants, and that’s something in my skill set. I would be able to get off HUD and live among people who would “understand” PTSD…and me. I negotiated all of this with the president of the non-profit and checked online to make sure they were compliant with their 501C and verified they were real people. Everything checked out, and I enjoyed talking to the man who ran it. He truly seemed like a good guy who just wants to help veterans (he is a veteran also).
So I asked when they’d be ready for me. Fuck it. I’m moving to New Mexico! They said they were ready right away, so I put leaving into motion. I set up a GoFundMe page because I couldn’t really afford to move across the country, but I just had to! This was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I had to get there. Friends pitched in, and I raised the money to go. About a month or so after our first conversation, I was starting the 2000 mile drive to my new life.
Now this place is on 40 acres in the high desert of southern NM. The non-profit claimed (according to their business plan) that they provided adequate housing for homeless veterans, psychological help, and programs and classes on getting out of homelessness, and creating sustainable housing.
When I arrived none of that was true.
It’s a family, living on their property and throwing people in their yard and then benefiting from the work they do for them. There is no support. There are no programs. The “adequate housing” for me was an absolutely filthy, stinky RV with no heat or hot water or working bathroom/shower. It was parked in the dirt and I really can’t describe the smell. I really can’t. Like death, wet dog, and shit…combined. It was kind of horrible, but these people were actually still pretty nice and I thought….so it isn’t what I expected…roll with it (which is EXTREMELY hard for me to do). I figured I had something to learn there. So the non-profit was not as “successful” as I had been told. So they were really kind of just starting it out. Okay. I can do this… I was on a beautiful property, I got to interact with other humans not trying to kill me, and most importantly I was no longer in Philly. Achievement unlocked.
I tried using my business/HR skills to help them, but I could never get anyone to sit down and give me the info I needed to start raising money for this place. In less than a week they put the financial burden of their success squarely on my shoulders, but would not provide me the access or tools necessary to do the job. It was frankly ridiculous. Anyway, things went from frustrating to unbearable for me in two months. The guy running it after I flipped out a couple of times, realized I probably had a lawsuit and offered to put me in an apartment in town and pay six months rent. I jumped at it.
So now I live in this really nice place that is quiet and functional, safe and clean. The rent is affordable for me (it’s tight but I can do it). After ten years of struggle I’m finally someplace I can call home.
I love this little town. I love the heat. I love the mountains and the people here. I love that I can finally get some decent Mexican food.
So that Dear Readers is how I ended up in New Mexico. I have a lot of work to do still, and I, of course, have all the issues I have, but navigating them from a safe place is better. Its good, and overall I am hopeful that I will continue to grow and flourish here.