Hey Readers and Supporters,
Almost a year later I am here. On my laptop just typing this blog post away hoping I can remember what happened a year ago. I can’t even remember what happened 2 years ago! So here it goes. So last time I created a post I was in a shelter in California (which is a coincidence because I am back here again in the same shelter presently, but we will get to that later!). Yes, At the time I moved back to Los Angeles from Michigan because I had enough of Michigan and my time was up at the 90-day shelter (Guiding Light). Well, my time in Los Angeles lasted for 7 months. For the first month I was in a shelter called Good Seed. It was ok. A bit religious for me. I couldn’t swear like I DO a lot in person and I also had a curfew of 8pm. It was located in south central (a dangerous part of Los Angeles), so I don’t blame them for making a curfew of 8pm. Anyways, for a month I was there waking up at 7am, Meeting with the Department of Mental Health on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:30am and making it back to south central by 8:00pm. It was a bit difficult at times because I really love Hollywood Central and I often found myself there. I would always hang out at West Hollywood Library and Central Library and most of my job interviews would be in central Hollywood. It was ok for the time being and I met my best friend David there.
Funny story how I met David. I was here in this religious shelter just feeling lost because I was the only gay male there. I mean, I got along with the female staff there like Perla and Miss Felicia, but I felt lost when it came to connecting with the other residents! Then David came along! I remember the day he moved in I was just thinking “Gurl…. here comes another straight black man moving in and he’s my new roommate”. I was wrong! The first night he politely introduced himself by saying “Hi, my name is David. Don’t be intimidated by me. I am gay just like you!” Gurl! I talked to him so much that night about my life and learned so much about him too! He liked drag and even was into drag himself! He just moved to California himself from Philadelphia and was alone! We connected in so many ways it was crazy! The next weeks we hung out but then he moved away from the shelter and I was alone again!
So, a month later I found myself moving to Central Hollywood to a shelter called The Salvation Army The Way In. It was supposed to be a 90-day Emergency crisis shelter with 12 beds (6 Bedrooms with 2 beds in one bedroom). It was difficult at first for me to adapt to because my roommate was much like a pig and messy all the time. He was never cleaning his side of the room and always bringing food into the room (which was a big No-No in the shelter because one of the rules was no food in the rooms). I was so annoyed and constantly complained to staff. Then not even the first night I was in the shelter, I had found out that my new friend David was in the same shelter! This made me happier because I had a friend I could relate with and share my day with. A week later staff heard my complaints about my dirty room mate and moved me into the same room David was in! So, him and I got to share stories and talk about whatever whenever! It was awesome! So after that, I had began searching for a job and looking for fulltime employment. Gurl, let me tell you: It was difficult! I must have gone on hundreds of interviews for 4 months for various positions (including CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Tender Greens, a county position cleaning parks, and so much more) and had a lot of rejections! I do admit for awhile it did get to me and One time I went on an interview crying and depressed. It was difficult, and I couldn’t understand why so many employers were rejecting my applications (Now that I think of it now, I think it’s just because I was not fit and did not have enough experience for the positions I was applying for! I also had stupid answers to the interview questions). Finally, after 4 months of hundreds of interviews and job prep classes and edits of my resume I finally was hired by Madame Tussaud’s as a flyer boy! I didn’t last there though! I quit it because it was too much being outside in the hot California heat and passing out flyers and they didn’t provide water. So I quit.
So, next I was hired by Ralph’s Grocery store. I didn’t even do training because I did very well in the interview and the woman who hired me told me at the last minute that I would have to pay to be in a union. Now, I am not talking bad about unions, but I once was in a union with Meijer and didn’t like it. I had to pay $80 a month to be in it and it was mandatory. I think at Ralph’s it was like $120 if I remember correctly. I was like hell no. Plus Ralph’s was only giving me 20 hours and paying me minimum wage ($10). I knew there was something better and that would pay me more! So, I didn’t even go through training with Ralph’s! So about 3 weeks later I interviewed with Home Depot and was hired in! I loved this one because Home depot paid $12 an hour and had good benefits and promised growth within the company. I have been with Home depot for 7 months now (3 different stores though).
Meanwhile, I stayed at the same shelter for 3 more months more. I didn’t do much besides work and on my days off I would go to West Hollywood and chill at Starbucks. Me and my friend, David kind of grew apart. I don’t know what went wrong there. I think maybe it’s because our interests grew apart. I did kind of get jealous too because he was always 2 steps ahead of me and could do drag anytime and kill it. He seemed a bit distant to me at times too. Then he moved away. He got his own place and after that I never heard from him like a friend anymore. I mean, we still communicate every now and then on Instagram but for now we don’t have the same friendship status as it was in the beginning. So once David and I separated and became less of friends, things started to drift away in my mind. I had been at the shelter for 5 months now (like I said in the beginning it was supposed to be a 90-day Emergency program but thanks to my case manager Micah, she had extended it for me). I had still been working at home depot for 3 months now and had decided it was time for me to move on. I lost my best friend David (so it seemed, but now that I am back in California I am wondering if I could rekindle the flame?), my 6 month period was almost up at the shelter, I had nowhere else to go, and the agencies I was working with had no openings for housing. So, with that I chose to move back to Michigan. My one friend Todd had said if I moved back he had a bedroom I could rent out for $400 a month. So, I chose to move back! I never thought I would be going back but I did! I saved up for the next two months at the shelter and saved over $2500 and moved back to Michigan.
Gurl, Michigan was fun! I moved back to Grand rapids flying first class plane. I loved it! It was my first time riding a plane first class and I felt like royalty! I had two meals and watched two movies (one of them being the new 2017 Beauty and The Beast) and just loved every second of it! I rode on the American Airlines plane. My only complaint from it is that the WIFI should be free for First Class riders. Anyways, yes, I moved back to Michigan and it was a good trip. My caseworker Micah drove me to LAX airport and my friend Todd picked me up from GRR (Gerald R Ford International Airport). I immediately paid my rent for the bedroom to my new landlord Ted and moved in quite fast. The first two nights I had to sleep in the same bed with My friend Todd, and it was awkward a little, but it worked. The third night I had bought a queen mattress through Facebook marketplace and slept on that. I also got into a relationship (a short one though) with Nathan. He was 22 and an alcoholic. For the love of God, I don’t know why out relationship lasted as long as it did because he was always drinking and smoking in front of me and that’s really a deal breaker for me. For two weeks I was looking for a job and seeing Nathan Lamont. Nathan took me to the beach, to the zoo, and we hung out at his house a lot too. I met his friends and they seemed cool (but I don’t remember their names). All this time he was drinking too and it annoyed the hell out of me! I also purchased a tv, bed sheets, two plastic dressers, and new clothing for my new adventure in Michigan. Everything was good. Then The Home Depot in Michigan hired me in as a cashier and it seemed good.
Well, I was with Home depot for 3 months but the $10 an hour wasn’t working for me. I needed a second job. Plus, my friend Todd moved out of the house and I felt alone. I did however attend the LGBTQA Men’s group at the Grand Rapids LGBTQA Center for awhile and it was good. I lived for those 3 months just enjoying my new-found freedom. Met a couple of guys and formed a few friendships. Got to go grocery shopping a lot and discovered Grand Rapids a lot. Worked 25-hour weeks and did so well. I got into another Relationship with Will Cook. Then month 4 came along and things went downhill. Home Depot was only giving me 16 hours. I did try to work a 2nd job but it was complicated working 12hour days and having bipolar (being untreated for it too). I first started a 2nd job at DK Security as a security guard but only lasted a week there because the first shift I was assigned they did not train me and I was left dumbfounded. However, I did get to see IL Divo in concert! I quit because it was also minimum wage ($8.25 an hour) and that honestly was not going to help me. So, then I transitioned to a fulltime job at Roskam baking working 8 to 9-hour shifts (12 am to 8am or sometimes 9am) and that exhausted me! I was working 5 to 9pm at Home Depot and then 12am to 8am or 9am at Roskam (16-hour days!). I quit within a week of being at Roskam because I couldn’t handle it. So, after Roskam I decided I had enough and was going to move back to California! I was alone with no friends. The man I was seeing Will Cook, revealed to me he was HIV Positive and I was not going to put up with that and he also revealed to me that he was a sex offender and had alcohol problems as well. So, we broke up and I was alone. My friend Todd wasn’t communicating with me anymore and every time I went to the LGBTQA Men’s group no one would even acknowledge me. So, with that I decided to move back to California.
I notified Home Depot I wanted to leave and be transferred to a store in California and at first, they said no, but my boss really liked my performance at work, so she did anything and everything to transfer me and it worked! So, with that I saved up all my money from Home Depot, sold my bed, sold my iPhone 6 and tv, and then didn’t pay my last month’s rent and paid for a first-class ticket to Los Angeles. Now I am here back in Los Angeles. Let me tell you something though: I did have to stay on the street for a week when I arrived here 7 weeks ago! I was fearless though and did what I had to do. I rented out a storage shed to store my Huge bags in and only carried my backpack with two blankets and my laptop with me. It was hard at first for me the first two nights. I had to walk around Hollywood and look for a safe place to rest my head but for the first 3 nights I had rested my head in a bush at Plummer park. The fourth night I had paid $22 for a locker at the Gay Men’s spa (Midtowne spa) and slept on their bed in the main playroom. I did get molested a lot that night but was glad to have somewhere to sleep. For the fifth night I had rested my head in the woods at Griffith Park. Finally, the sixth night I had been called by Good Seed shelter and been notified that they had an open bed. I was so happy! You don’t know how it feels to feel like all hope is lost and that you would be in this situation forever on the street. I ALMOST had lost all hope BUT deep down inside God kept telling me not to give up and to hold my head up high! I did struggle very much with sleep those four nights on the street. When I was at Plummer park I only got about 3 to 4 hours of sleep due to the fact I kept waking up in fear that the police would catch me. When I slept at Griffith park it was the same situation!
So, I finally got into Good Seed shelter and man, I was glad I did! Two days later I started working at the Home depot store I was transferred to and more blessings came afterwards. My boss had told me I was promoted to a wage increase of $10 to $13.50! I also transferred over back to The Salvation Army The Way In and I also began seeing a doctor and back on meds for my bipolar disorder. So today, I am here in the present all happy but humble because I know the struggle and everything. Also, in 3 weeks from now I will be moving again! I will be moving into my own place!!! How crazy is that!? I’ve only been here for 7 weeks and it’s moving faster than it did last time I was in Los Angeles! I am blessed! I love God so much because He has held my heart this whole time and like I said before in the beginning when I was hopeless and giving up: He said don’t give up. So that’s my story for now! I am here in the present. I am struggling at Home Depot thought a little (they’re only giving me 16 to 19 hours a week which isn’t enough) BUT I can still hear the voice of God saying “don’t give up. Hold on. Look for other employment opportunities and I will provide in time”. I am full of Hope and love and Joy. I do not doubt for one second that I won’t succeed, because I WILL! God is on my side this time and I know He is!
Till next time!
-Jonathan S Fisher