In Search of a Sanctuary


Tona, 1992-

“I feel that the universe is taking care of me in merciful ways.”

I have always been looking for a sanctuary. A spot, my spot, where no one can mess with me. The first sanctuary was actually here, I had a place on College Ave. Fancy! $1,100 a month! And I had no money left after that, she laughs. It makes you figure out your own way of living, and how you balance your money. I was doing it for the first time.

The second sanctuary was in North Carolina, when I was still with my daughter’s dad. Friends offered to let us hang out at their place until we got on our feet. It sounded great, and so we went out there. Me and him split up, and then it was just me and her. She was 16 months old. So, I got my driving license, bought my first car, a Volvo station wagon, and crossed the country with it. Somehow, things just seem to work out. Just like that, out of nowhere, it seems.

The third sanctuary was in Northern CA, Rio Dell. Ran into friends, who suggested I come, and I thought, ‘Yes! We are good now, everything is falling into place.’ At first, it was sheer joy, ‘Wow, a room, my very own, for me and my child!’ But later, I realized it was just a lesson I needed to learn. Not rushing into the first thing that comes along, being more patient, weighing things out.
The fourth sanctuary was a friend’s property in Washington, a great woman, also a mother of a little girl. The place needed a lot of work, and I tried to help as much as I could. I was running out of money and didn’t have a way to make more up there.

The fifth and last sanctuary was in Michigan with my ex-boyfriend. We wanted to get a place, find jobs, settle down. Trying to save up money for land and all that good stuff. We did all that, we got a big old house, we got jobs, everything was working out pretty decently, and then winter came, she laughs. After a while, you figure out your differences and find that you can’t see yourself with that person. We love each other still, but we aren’t supposed to be together. I’ve come to realize a few things from this last experience. First, I can’t live far away from my family and friends. At first it was fine, but after six months, I suddenly discovered that I have no one to turn to. Second, stop stressing out so much, trying to make your perfect, ideal dream happen, and rushing into things. And third, on a large scale of things, the entire West coast is my sanctuary.

Possibilities are always coming and going, and I’m staying open to them and do my best. I feel that the universe is taking care of me in merciful ways. I will keep on searching, but be content with how we are right now. We are OK. She is happy, I am happy. Sometimes, I dream about finding a sanctuary. In my dreams, it is a place somewhere in Northern California or Southern Oregon, with lots of trees, a creek or river, lots of dogs, a big garden to eat from, some goats, and lots of little children.

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