So wow Jess and I are home finally!
I’ve been trying all day to gather my thoughts around our trip. I think I actually have something concise to share. If you have questions or comments well feel free to comment or message me.
So I left off saying that my house was a total spa compared to Albany.
Friday we got up and Krissy surprised us by having us go to a nail salon to get our toes done. I’ve never had that before! It cost $30 per person but my toenails are shiny and my feet don’t smell LOL
Then we went home and hung out.
About the conference: The hotel was so plush and amazing! Lots of walking though between rooms and just around the building. And lots of people! At one point someone said there were six hundred people!
Loved our room and nice beds and stuff.
The orientation session was weird. Instead of people talking about their experiences coming for the first time, a few people did introduce themselves which was good. But like there were these peer mentors but instead of them introducing themselves even saying their names, someone just said to look at their ribbons that said mentor. And well people did wear name badges but that doesn’t help mee, and not everyone can see the print on the name badge.
So the whole thing was just so confusing because there seemed to be so much tention in the room and like people arguing, it was just intense. I can’t even describe it but it’s like they’d been in thisheated conversation and I came in in the middle, about what language we use and psychiatrists lying to you and stuff. And it made no sense to me.
People did introduce themselves I guess that’s what it was supposed to be, the heated discussion it was supposed to be everyone introducing themselves. I did speak and was honest about the position Jess and I were in and stressed needing to connect with MA people.
By the time all that was over I was super anxious. Then there was the most intense traffic jam line I ever was in to go to dinner.
And I lost my favorite rock for good!
The noise was so loud everyone talking I put on my headphones that I carriedaround with me the whole time. We basically ate and were outta there. I felt bad for missing the opening talk but I was literally drained.
The next day thankfully was better. I met a few people I’d been talking online with and that was really nice.
We went around this room with different tables in it with info. We tried to stop about any MA ones. Had a good talk with someone from a center in Worcester. They were really nice and I liked what they had to offer. I also talked over the course of the weekend with a couple people from the western MA RLC who I also liked very much.
Other than that didn’t meet anymore MA people and was kinda disappointed.
In the afternoon we did this workshop about facing hard times. The presenter had a good sense of humor and was very engaging. I had trouble sitting still and paying attention for that long, or for any of the workshops. Jess wonders how I did school LOL!
So we went back to the room. At this point I had the strong sense that we were finally here in MA. And there was no way I was coming back to Albany at all.
This made things take an interesting turn as after that point a whole other subplot of the trip was my rollercoaster around that statement.
So I talked to Jonathan. He was hugely impressed at how well things were going. And that me saying I didn’t want to go back was certainly not something he expected but it did make sense. He said in his across the board totally over optimistic way that he’s moved people to and from Chicago from Various states, not MA, and it’s soo easy!!
I’m like yeah ok.
But he had me convinced it was the right thing to do coming back.
So we had dinner. Oh forgot to say the food at the conference was terrible I was surprised. We had the best food at the hotel restaurant.
Somewhere later in the night the whole “we need to stay here” complex came back with a new intensity. I wrote anyone I could and was absolutely convinced one way or another we were staying. It just felt so right. It didn’t make sense to fly back here just to have to do it again in a few months when we’re right here now!
So I had a rough night tossing and turning. In the morning I decided to go to the peer support suite. A mobile version of the Western MA RLC respite. So what’s funny is people I asked had no idea where they were set up and acted like it was top secret. It was only when I asked someone in private message where it was and if we could just come on in that I got my answer.
So I went there. The people were soo nice it was awesome. This one person listened to me tell my long story and even understood when I said part of how I tell stories in my own little tangent kinda way is due to being autistic.
So talked with her and then the person I met online who already knew a good part of things. They both didn’t want us to go back either. And hated Albany stuff especially the money thing. But we had the problem of my family selling the house, literally a realtor bringing in clients almost daily. And the plane ticket back here.
At first with the first person I sort of focused on telling my story and the thought that if she didn’t want me to go back either maybe something could be worked out.
With the person I sort of already know we kinda explored more practical options and realized there wasn’t very much we actually could go. I tearfully accepted that Albany would have to be a place to live for now. We’d do our plan go to BCIL get as much information as we could and work like crazy to get everything going.
I give the people there so much credit for how helpful they were it was really nice just to be there and have a period to talk about things.
So the rest of that day I forget what we did. I think we rested.
Monday we also rested. I went to a workshop lead by a couple people from the western MA RLC and really enjoyed it. Again I was so antsy I couldn’t sit through it all but got through a good amount.
Going home again was like a spa. Just awesome to eat real food be in a quiet good smelling environment and have Lucky around. He entertained both Jess and I and I think really loved Jess. She took lots of pictures and a couple videos.
The next day Larry from my apprenticeship days picked us up to go to BCIL. We were beyond grateful for his offer of a ride as stuff with The Ride was really getting stressful.
I really liked the place. It was a very relaxed environment and all the staff, even front desk were awesome.
Sadly we couldn’t do much with all the paperwork we brought. We had thought we could start transferring masshealth, filling out other applications and I don’t know doing more. But Andy told us that we really couldn’t do anything until we had some kinda address in MA. We could have used my parents address but they’re selling the house. He said finding housing is extremely hard and the best way is to find roommates or go through subsidized housing. And not to limit yourself to any area to apply everywhere.
I then just got overwhelmed with well if this is the case we really really need to stay here! Stay somewhere so we can get ourselves going. Otherwise, we’ll be back here with Albany taking our money and be just going backwards because we can’t do anything without having money so it just seemed so hopeless. When feeling emotionally unsafe with my parents I’d gone to various people’s friends of friends, houses. And while looking back it could have been potentially unsafe it wasn’t and I do trust the new friends I’ve made and their friends.
Jess put her foot down however. She said she would not stay in a shelter, or be moving every few days/ weeks. And if I wanted to stay the surest way would be to get hospitalized and be set up with services somewhere. She however would not be hospitalized and so would go back to IL with or without me. That took the wind out of my sails. A huge part of me feeling confident about being more independent is knowing she’d be there. I’d surely get lost in the system as a multiply disabled person.
So I said ok fine. And we went home. I’m not sure Andy knew quite what to do. It’s a very unique situation us coming out of state.
So that night I actually asked my mom/ sister if we could stay just for a few weeks. That we couldn’t find something in terms of roommates for September because everyone’s like already done that. So it would have to be October at the earliest. Could we stay and get stuff going and then move pretty quickly? I was so worried this would stress her out/ she’d be upset at me. She wasn’t. She just explained about the house and how they don’t even feel like its their house anymore because it’s kinda not and how they could be forced to leave in two weeks if a buyer wants it.
Then my sister gave me/ us a huge talk on how hard this is gonna be. And how we need to save the little money we have, even saying we don’t need the very simple stuff we buy. Which is not true we absolutely do need some of it. Shee eventually got that and scaled it down to even a few dollars saved a month. Which I agreed to.
So I got it. Period. My parents couldn’t support us right now physically/ financially and even on some level emotionally.
Ok. Plan B. Reaching out.
I spent a very concentrated amount of time, basically the rest of that day and into the next looking for any option around staying. Asking people. My family was horrified about that, especially my sister. But people ask for help when they need it, I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need it and I hoped to return the favor. I wouldn’t know til I asked.
And people were extremely concerned/ empathetic. While Andy had said when I’d first asked if there was any kind of transitional housing, no, someone kindly sent me a number of a centralized list of safe housing/ shelter. I didn’t get a chance to call them however, or make any calls because we went to Grammy’s.
That was an awesome experience. To see her cry and hug me and how happy she was was like at the heart of my family experience. That and seeing how well my mom handled stuff even in severe physical pain.
So we got back and I did more research. Like ya know me. I’m like a dog with a bone.
After dinner my sister caught on that this was happening, well I was FB posting while at the same time trying to be secretive and changed tack.
She said that the plane trip fare was $400! And there was no way my parents could get any of that money back. And she totally understood why I absolutely would not want to come back but I was getting on that plane the next day and there was nothing I could do about it. She said she knew that I’d work my ass off to get back, since she knew how I could be still trying to find a way to stay even after they said no. I kept saying I wasn’t asking them for support, I knew they couldn’t. She said yeah which was good. That my mom/ parents, especially mom would try to give me money/ be there even when they can’t be but she’d remind me of the reality of things.
So after that I knew that I was going back whether I liked it or not. But I had a lot of instructions from her about saving money, having her/ friends look at places and other stuff.
I tried to enjoy the rest of the night. The next day we saw Grammy again had another dunkin doughnuts lunch and came back. Coming back wasn’t as depressing as I thought. My babies really missed us! And our room was the same special place as ever. I was glad to be there. Charice and Nakia picked up and they said we could be out by Christmas if we worked hard and communicated with our caseworkers. I felt like saying our caseworkerbetter communicate with us.
Anyway so I had a good night’s sleep. And already today people are being so helpful. Someone sent me a contact at the newton housing authority which I wrote. I have info for another agency. And just the support I’m getting for this is amazing.
So that’s my trip. Kinda intense huh? Especially the almost staying in MA floating around part! Now I know why people do desperate things like fly to a random city with nothing and just do it. I know this now having felt it.
But I know if I keep at it I’ll be back in MA.I’m determined wherever we end up in MA, with the exception of the Cape (who needs the ocean all the time and it’s pretty isolating not in summer) is fine.
I really like the western MA people and that Worcester center. So we’ll just have to see.
If you’ve read this far you’re truly a loyal reader thank you!