During my morning commute, I was stopped near an apartment building that would only look inviting if your choices were being homeless or living there. A woman, mid-20s probably, was sitting in front of her iron-gated door. I could not see her face, but I could feel her despair.
I totally remember feeling that way. I felt that way a lot when I was with X. Stuck, hopeless, and still not quite sure how I ended up there in the first place.
I see the kids walking to school, hair neatly braided, and in the evenings, playing ball and beaming. I thought about those kids when I looked at this young woman. I'm sure when she was a kid, she beamed, too.
I know I'm projecting. I know I don't know her real story, but I still felt this inexplicable powerful connection to this stranger whose face was turned away from me.
When I felt that way, I remember thinking that it felt completely surreal. This was not my life. I just didn't know how to change it for a very long time.
I do know that things could not have changed for me without my family. It took me a while (okay, years) to figure that out, but eventually, I knew I had a safe place where I could start over.
I hope that woman has that. Everyone should have that.