It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged, I’ve had a crazy few weeks!
I decided to come back to Seattle in the spring of 2015 after living in Tennessee for a year and a half. In the short period of time that I was gone, the cost of living SKYROCKETED. I was just starting a new job at a startup nonprofit. I had to accept a modest starting salary, so all that I could afford at the time was a tiny studio apartment. It served me well while I got myself re-established. A little over two years later, I moved into a one-bedroom in the same big apartment building because it was at a convenient central downtown location.
The problem is that the neighborhood, historic and quaint when I first moved there in 2015, has really gone downhill since they put in a shelter a few blocks down. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not at all rolling my eyes at the homeless. Under difference circumstances at various points in my past, that could’ve been me. Not everyone has family or friends to catch them when they fall. Everyone deserves food, a place to sleep, etc. But, I’m going to be honest, it got increasingly frustrating to feel less and less safe in my own home. There were two main entrances to my building via key-fob, and often, people would loiter by the doors hoping to sneak in behind someone who lived there so that they could hang out in the lobby.
Again, I’m not at all trying to be snobby or rude … I have a lot of empathy and understanding for the unfortunate circumstances that people find themselves in (whenever I’m at a downtown Starbucks I usually buy an extra coffee because I know someone will be hanging out outside that could use it) but I also need to look out for my own safety, and for the safety of my fur kids. Some of the homeless that loiter are mentally ill people who, because we live in a very fucked up society, are not able to get the medication and care that they need. Very sad and very unfair, but still, that can be unsafe for others around them as well.
About two weeks ago, I arrived home from work and headed inside. A woman grabbed the door from behind me and rushed inside. I very calmly and politely asked her, “Do you live here?” She barked “YES” at me, so I shrugged and headed to the elevator. There is supposed to be security at both doors 24/7 because of how the neighborhood has changed, but I saw no one, so I didn’t push the matter and minded my business. The woman then barked after me, “I don’t talk to white people, I’m racist!” I glanced back for just a moment and then continued to ignore her, but when the elevator doors opened and I went inside, she followed me in. She was standing facing me with her back to the doors and she did not appear to be sane, at all. The doors opened to my floor, and she refused to move. I calmly said, “Excuse me, I need to get by.” She did not move. I got firmer. “You need to move. This is my floor.”
Her: “Then come through me, BITCH!”
I glance around again, there is NO ONE around. Clearly this person is off of her meds, or on drugs – I don’t know, but I was cornered and at this point, scared. I have no idea what to do. I tried one more time. “Excuse me, can you please move? I need to get by!” I tried to turn to squeeze past her, and she smacked my hand.
Me: “Just so you know, that’s assault. You need to move or I’m calling 911.” She then spat on me, then ran out of the elevator and down the hallway.
Obviously I didn’t want her to know which apartment I lived in, so I took the elevator back to the first floor and again looked around for a security guard. He was no where to be found. I saw a guy that I’ve seen around the building a lot who has always been friendly to me, so I approached him, told him what happened, and asked if he could escort me up to my apartment. He was kind enough to do so.
Once inside, I called the security number and told them what happened. They claimed that they would send the security guard up to my apartment to check on me and take my report. No one ever showed. I then called the Seattle Police Department to file a police report about the incident.
That was the last straw for me. The building clearly was not providing for our safety with the worsening neighborhood, and that’s not acceptable.
The next day when I arrived home from work, there was a security guard at his post. I approached him and asked if they were supposed to be there 24/7 and he said yes. I said, “Well where were you at 6:45 last night?” And I told him what happened to me. He replied,
“We were on the second floor looking for a woman who had harassed someone else.” I asked for a description. It was the same damn person! It doesn’t help to have security posted at the door if they need to leave their post to find someone… it was a ridiculous series of events. As it turned out, an hour before I arrived home on that second day, she had harassed a third person, and this time was caught and arrested, only after she was tazed because she wouldn’t cooperate. Gee, REAL safe!
It hit me then and there, all of the little sacrifices that I’d been making for the sake of my basic safety such as not taking my dogs outside at night (putting down pee pads instead), times when I would see people loitering at one entrance to the building so I’d go around to the other, and although the place served me well upon coming back to Seattle, it was definitely not the quaint place it used to be, and it was time for me to seek other opportunities. My salary had increased a lot in the last four years at my job, my books occasionally sold, I could afford to “move up.” The only challenge in front of me was finding another place that was okay with me having as many animals as I do.
After looking around for a few days, I found a super-classy large building that was affordable for me (if I squeezed my budget) and in a great location, and it was SUPER dog-friendly. Lots of nice amenities. Beautiful units. Modern, updated, and spacious. I applied and got the place (yay for being a financially responsible adult with good credit!) so within a week I packed up ALL of my possessions and high-tailed it out of my “starter place.” Now I’m trying to wrangle all of the fur kids with the disarray of boxes, trying to figure out how I want to set everything up, unpack, etc — still need to make another trip to Ikea… I don’t do well in a disarrayed environment, it really overwhelms me, but I’m trying to get things organized as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
Although moving was an impulsive decision (but for a good reason) that took less than two weeks for me to execute, I honestly feel like the timing was right. I worked hard for this. I’ve earned this. I deserve this. This is the type of place that I could live at indefinitely. It’s a “grown up” place, Lol.
Despite what happened being scary for me, once again, I feel like life/fate/karma was simply nudging me toward the next step, as it’s been doing in many ways since I came back to Seattle. I feel like things are falling into place at the right time, in the right way.
Photos of my new digs will come when I have everything in place the way that I want it to be.
The downside of the past few weeks’ moving madness means that I haven’t been able to finish the novella I was hoping to release this month, and I know that I won’t be able to concentrate on finishing it until my place is fully in order. That means that I’ll have to push it back for a month. Although I’m not pleased with my writing schedule so far this year, I’m trying to remind myself that I have a full-time job that I actually care about, a handful of fur kids that need my time and attention, a rescue horse that I’m still rehabilitating (which takes up a lot of time), and then unexpected life-things that happen… and none of it is bad, but it just means that I can’t write six novels per year like some authors can. I’m going to have to just keep trying, and doing the best that I can. I respectfully ask that you all bear with me as much as possible, and I’ll try to keep everyone informed as to when things are wrapping up and when I’m preparing for a release :).
Thanks for your patience! When life throws you curveballs… hit a home run!