Who could ever imagine a young fourteen to fifteen year old ninth grade freshman girl in high school would have been sleeping on subway trains in New York City. Surviving on two bags of crunchy cheese doodles, along with a chocolate twenty five cent swiss roll ,and just barely able to take baths? Well that was life for me in the late nineties. I grew up in a middle class well off family. Although my mother was always at work we had everything we needed and somewhat wanted. I made straight A’s all through elementary and junior high school. My mom and her friends would reward me with dinners and trips to Nordstrom. I wanted a different kind of recognition but I was very shy and afraid of being embarrassed. So I didn’t speak up for myself often. As I entered my teen ages. My mother got a new boyfriend. This man was very controlling and forceful. Now don’t get it twisted my mother has had other boyfriends, but this guy was different than the rest. He sort of reminded me of a bully in one of those school movies. When he came around my mother’s normal rules became stricter and unreasonable.
After being on punishment for almost two years (aside of going to school or church) I decided to run away. I bagged up a couple of outfits and a few pair of panties and hit the city. Clueless to what I was getting myself into. Sleeping over my friend Niasha’s house only lasted three days before her mom got suspicious to why my mother hadn’t called to check on me yet. So she sent me home. Of course I didn’t go home afraid my mother would beat me for staying out those three days, and punish me indefinitely. Word on the block was my mother told all of my friends’ mothers and all of my family members if they let me in their homes she would have them “arrested for harboring a minor”. Absolutely no one would let me spend a night. They feared my mom was serious being she was a law enforcement agent. Sometimes I would wander the streets without a clue to where I was going. At other times I would just get on the train and ride it to the last stop in Brooklyn and all the way back to the last stop in the Bronx. I would exit the train in Manhattan where I originally entered.
I took this ride until it was time for school to begin. Near time for school I would stop by a cool neighbor’s house and ask to use their restroom. While in the bathroom I would quickly wash my main parts then flush the toilet (as if I urine) and go off to school. During this episode in life everything was so embarrassing to me. I was ashamed of what I was going through worried about people judging me. Once at school I had to watch for sudden moves by authority figures, because once they noticed my presence. I knew for sure my mom would be called, and she was showing up with New York City’s Finest NYPD in attempt to put me away in a group home. I could never understand why she wanted me locked away like a criminal when had never performed a criminal act nor did anything hurtful to anyone. These actions I knew were being persuaded by her evil boyfriend. I missed most of my ninth grade year leaving school early or not showing up at all. Attempting to dodge my mom and the police she kept with her.
The times I did get to stay in school were only because she was at work and it would have been too risky for her to leave. Most of the time I would get to school late around 9:25am and leave as early as lunch time. This way by the time my mother was notified and she notified her police escorts I was long gone. After getting caught at school that first time I knew how to maneuver. I didn’t feel I needed to be put away so I AWOLed out every group home. I never stayed in a single one for longer than three days. Sometimes I would deal with guys just to have somewhere to sleep. Some of them I had to have sex with. Some of them I didn’t. Most people called me names like “freak” and “hoe” but I called it surviving that night. I met my first boyfriend when I was in the seventh grade. We stayed together for three years so he was around at first while my homelessness was going on.
He used to sneak me in his room once his mother went to work the graveyard shift at the hospital, and I would leave for school before she got back. Well eventually we got caught and that is when shit got real. It was so cold some nights. I could feel the frost biting through my boots as I was walked around without a destination. If a stranger offered me a ride in their car I was riding just to get some heat. There were plenty of times I should have and could have ended up dead. I always kept the lord with me praying every step of the way is what kept me alive. All this ended when my now godmother invited me to move in her apartment. She was not willing to allow my mother to bully her with a badge. My godmother taught me the street life. Knowledge books could never teach me. She basically gave me her apartment because she was never there.
She definitely helped me grow out being shy and forced me to speak up for myself. Now I am very loud and outspoken.Tyshene D Mungo saved me. There is nothing on earth I wouldn’t give or do for her. I am comfortable with this chapter of my life because it taught me how to be wise when decision making, not to fall for the pity parties people have when things aren’t right in their life. It taught me that nothing is handed to you if I want something I have get up and get it .And no matter how bad a situation may seem I know it could be someone somewhere going through a worst time. I appreciate the journey God has sent me through. It turned me into the strong intelligent woman I am today. Not to brag but I am so much more knowledgeable than the average person my age.