From homeless to happiness

Hey y’all, and hello October!

I’m so here for dewy fall weather, cinnamon everything, and camp-y Halloween movies like Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown—hold the pumpkin spice.

You know what I’ve been curious about lately? How is Spirit Halloween store still in operation when it’s unclear if there will be any tricks or treats this year? Can anyone confirm? Our fellow humans will be handing out nothing but covid candy and I’m not a fan of that flavor.

I walked past a Spirit in my local plaza the other day and there wasn’t a single soul inside shopping for their spooky fit which made me partly sad, but also curious on how Spirit stays afloat, especially as a primarily brick-and-mortar business. Maybe they’re hoping for a little hocus pocus to work in their favor.

Let me know in the comments what your’e looking forward to this October!

This Week’s Story

Things in our lives go wrong ALL. THE. TIME. And this week’s essay is about things going wrong, only for them to end up so uniquely right. Like when plan A, B, & C been fell through, but somehow plan D was the best plan all along.

It’s not really that one plan is better than the other, but that we have an infinite number of paths we can take to achieve the same goal. The steps to how you achieved that goal may be different or even unconventional, but the goal was completed all the same.

This week’s author, Fontaine Foxworth a writer from NYC, has a story for the books on how Plan A turned into Plan E. Her essay was a timely reminder that we get more than just one chance to create the life we want. Also, a Black woman living in an RV? That’s not something you hear of everyday, and that’s a lifestyle I like to call carefree.

Enjoy reading (or listening)!

The Lower You Fall, The Higher You Climb

By Fontaine Felisha Foxworth

I’m a badass dope queen living in an RV in Los Angeles, CA. I don’t stress about bills in a city with one of the highest costs of living in the country. I sacrifice space and luxury in my little home on wheels because this temporary humility is leading to forever happiness and stability. 

At the end of 2020, I found myself in a bizarre set of circumstances that left me fighting for my freedom from a threatened 5150 hold in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. I know what you’re thinking: What the heck were you doing in Lacrosse Wisconsin, and what in the world led to you almost being committed to the state? That’s a story for another day, but the universe was on my side and arranged for me to escape that situation. I ended up in New York City, where I was born and raised, but this time I was homeless. I’m talking about poor conditions in a homeless shelter, in the dead of winter, homeless. 

To survive, I found refuge at different women’s shelters around the Bronx and Queens, but the conditions were abysmal and each shelter I landed at was worse than the one before. As my misfortunes piled up, I decided to leave New York for the warmer West Coast climate I had always dreamed of living in since I was a child. I researched some of the best homeless shelter programs on the west coast, and with the help of loving donations from my community on social media, I was able to book a one-way flight to Los Angeles, and then a train to San Diego.

For the first month and a half I schlepped my suitcase and bags back and forth from night and day shelters, napped in parks, looked for jobs, and occasionally treated myself to a few nights in a hostel, or if I was feeling really “boujie,” a Motel 6. As I waited for some kind of temporary interim shelter program, I continued to show myself self-love and respect for my well-being and appearance. I kept myself up, my face beat, and my hair laid. I also ate as much free shelter food as I could get my hands on because I was underweight.

Reality hit me when a random car stopped to offer me a free bagged lunch, and the man asked me if I was homeless, with attraction and confusion in his eyes. At that point, I knew it was truly official. 

I’m a homeless “bad b****.”

Unless I had my luggage with me, people could not tell I was homeless. You would be surprised how many struggling artists and models who are down on their luck, show up to auditions, events, and hotspots serving life with their style and winning personalities. When I would go to interviews for bartender jobs, you would never guess that I did a full face of makeup with lashes in the mirror of a homeless women’s day shelter. I kept a commitment to myself that my current situation didn’t mean I should lose self-esteem.  

Eventually, I was accepted into a three-month interim housing program with the Salvation Army. I got a job and managed to save enough to purchase a $5500 car in full. After working nonstop for three months, I knew that my heart wasn’t in San Diego anymore. There was a lack of diversity, community, and proximity to the creative world of film, art, and media, so I decided to relocate to Los Angeles. I also felt a very powerful and unexplainable pull towards a soulmate in Los Angeles. I haven’t found him yet, but I KNEW he wasn’t going to be in San Diego! 

 Once I arrived in the “City of Angels,” all of my leads for studio apartments fell through, and I found myself in a safe parking lot program living out of my car with a trunk and front seat full of my stuff. If you know how apartment hunting in Los Angeles goes, landlords and brokers are strict with their requirements. Between avoiding scams and not meeting credit and income requirements, I knew that I would be living out of my car for more time than I would have hoped. I did not want to settle for a roommate arrangement, because that’s what got me into the mess back in Wisconsin to begin with! More than 9,500 people live in cars, vans, or RVs throughout the city of Los Angeles, according to the last annual count, and I was one of them. 

I did the best that I could while living in my car— I found a place to shower every couple of days, I explored Los Angeles while working as an independent contractor and I racked up a ton of mileage! 

A few weeks in, I stumbled upon a Craigslist ad for a stationary RV rental in Culver City. At first, I was quite apprehensive; I never considered living in an RV that wasn’t mobile, but I was running low on money for housing due to occasional hotel and hostel stays, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d have to seek housing in another homeless shelter. LA has a massive homeless population, and not enough allocations for supportive housing. In New York, there may have been more programs via private shelter owners, but they are riddled with corruption, and poor conditions as many of them do the bare minimum for the unhoused with government subsidies and federally dispersed funds. In short, the entire system is catastrophic.

 After going back and forth for two hours, I decided that maybe this was the miracle I had been waiting on the universe for.  I replied and met with the owner the next morning. We immediately clicked, and she decided to rent me the RV. 

So here I was, living in an RV equipped with everything that I would need; a little studio on wheels for half the price I would have paid to rent a studio apartment in LA. 

Surprisingly, I settled in with ease, and the relief that I felt after seven months of not having a permanent place to lay my head without bed bugs was one of the most gratifying feelings I had experienced in a long time. I felt so proud of my ability to humble myself enough, to sacrifice what I wanted, for what was within my means. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realize your strength through resilience and trust. Trusting that the universe is not “letting you go out like that,”  and will build you back up from nothing through humility, survival, and alignment.

I never once looked at myself in the mirror like I was a failure; rather I have always seen a powerful warrior, conquering any obstacles that come my way. 

Currently, in the spirit of my humility, I work as a bathroom attendant in Calabasas on the weekends, and during the week I use my car to drive senior citizens to their non-emergency medical appointments. I’m also studying to be a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Real Estate school where, upon completing the program and passing the California DRE exam,  a full-time job will be waiting for me. 

Remember: the lower you fall, the higher you climb. 

The next time you are in a dark place and you ask yourself, why me? The answer will always be because the universe knows you have what it takes to get through it. There is a level of divine power that you unlock when you hit a rock bottom moment and ascend out of it. It arms you with the arsenal and tools to transmute pain into power and become a beacon of hope, love, and light for others. 

Trust the Process. 

Trust In your strength. 

Trust In your Purpose on this earth. 

Your struggles are NOT for Nothing.

My story is a testament to that.

Photos by: JR Martinez 

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