By Lij Teodrose Fikremariam
Source: Ghion Journal
Over the past two years, I’ve been an open book in terms of detailing my struggles with homelessness and how I fell from grace only to be swallowed by the whale of depression and loneliness. As a pretty famous rapper used to recite often in his hit single, there are levels to my story. I have no problem recounting level one, how my own bad decisions led to my tribulation. Other levels of my journey, I’ve given to a higher power. However, today, after being moved by a recent development, I am detailing level two of my story.
My destiny with hardship began after I lost my job in 2014. After searching high and wide to find a job for three months, I made the mistake of looking at my Booz Allen Hamilton retirement savings. Seeing a lump sum I never realized I accumulated, I decided to take a break from my job hunt and chill out. Two decades of working without barely taking a vacation, I decided to take a “sabbatical” and party like a rock star.
I withdrew my IRA and went full Kardashian, every day that ended with a letter Y was an occasion to pop bottles. YOLO! That foolish saying became my mantra. If only I stopped at partying, instead my affliction of trying to “save people” made me invite seven people into my home and my house became a destination spot for all who wanted to party and feast at no cost. I invited seven people into my home and turned my house into a penthouse Larry Flynt would have been proud of. 2014 was me at my enabling peak; instead of befriending strangers, I made it my purpose to redeem hooligans.
My quest to be a god to others felt good for a while; I found meaning in lowering my standards and letting people disrespect me as long as I could validate myself by tending to broken souls. Back then, I thought my actions were pure and that my aim was noble. Now I see what I was doing, instead of saving myself and facing my own demons, I self-medicated by trying to deliver strangers. It is always easier warring without than it is to battle within.
The audacity of Teddy had no bounds; I went from partying with thugs to trying to turn criminals into entrepreneurs. After blowing through my IRA as if I was Usain Bolt running from a cheetah, I decided to open up a shisha lounge in DC with what remained of my reserves. Instead of doing my due diligence and finding business partners based on competence…