Get the job, get the apartment, have faith. 

Get the job, get the apartment, have faith. 

These are the words I was copying over and over again on yellow legal pad while I sat in a conference room waiting to be interviewed for a job. I was doing my best to keep my head up while swimming in a grotesque army green business suit with massive fake brass buttons. The sleeves were now too long after quickly losing 25 pounds from not having the cortisol overloading my system anymore. 

Get the job, get the apartment, have faith. 

Still, I couldn't believe that I was interviewing for a company in Boston, so many miles from where I had come from. Once I had left Los Angeles there was only one place I could think of going... to my sister's place in D.C. Born just a little over a year apart, my sister and I are virtually Irish twins. Even though we didn't grow up together, she's still the longest lasting, strongest connection I have with another human.

But she was on the cusp of moving out of D.C., so I needed to find a place to put down roots fast. 

During my time staying with my sister, a family event brought me to New England. I'd always wanted to visit Boston, and from the second I stepped off of the train in South Station, the city and I fell in love at first sight. It was the antithesis of everything I had known in Los Angeles - it was solid, it was sturdy and it was honest. The literary history itself was enough to win me over. 

That first day in Boston, standing on the edge of Boston Common, I said to my tour guide: "you know, I've always wanted to live in Boston." 

Without missing a beat he said: "Well, what the hell else do you have going on?" 

See. Honest. 

Of course I would need a job, a place to live, a support network... how hard could all of that be? 

Out of curiosity, I jumped on Craigslist to check for job listings, and a placement agency had an ad out for an Administrative Assistant. They asked me for an interview right away.

A relative living in Boston, a true matriarchal pillar of strength, let me stay with her during the interview process. I'll never forget how tenacious she was in instilling in me faith in the future. Get the job, get an apartment, everything will work out. She introduced me to Filene's Basement, where I spent the little savings I had left on that god awful suit. 

Looking back, few things make me prouder than bravely wearing that grotesque suit and holding my head up high for the round of interviews. And wouldn't you know, the lucky suit worked! 

It'll take just two or three weeks for the background check, they said. 

My heart dropped. Of course during those three weeks of waiting, the only "affordable" apartment in Boston had just opened up. The money I had left wasn't even enough to cover the first, last, and security and the job was anything but guaranteed. 

After safety, economic freedom is the next most important thing a woman needs when she leaves her abuser. Often women experience economic abuse along with physical abuse, so to give her financial autonomy is to give her a voice and a fighting chance at regaining freedom and independence. Consider donating your gently used suits and business attire to women's shelter. 

Get the apartment. Have faith. 

I decided to take a chance on the apartment, even though I wasn't sure how I would pay for the next month's rent. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who would ever fit in the third-story attic apartment, but I loved it every 400 square feet of it. And since I had nothing to fill it with - no furniture, no bed, no t.v. - those 400 square feet didn't seem so small at all. It had an icebox for a refrigerator, but it was mine and it had a lock. 

My first night in that apartment, I fell asleep on the cold hardwood floor, but I'd never felt so warm. I knew, I just knew, that Boston was the kind of city that looks after their own, and I already felt like I was part of the family. 

Little did I know that in that quiet, sweet apartment, I had locked myself in with my abuser. Everything he had ever said or done, it was all right there with me. That night was the first time I would feel and see everything he had done haunt me and attack me in a full, unrelenting assault.

This, I suppose you could say, is the real beginning of the story. 

Eventually, the background check did come through, and I got the job. 

Also, this song came out the week I moved. It became an anthem for years, and it still stops me in my tracks when I hear it. 

 

 

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