I had to get to know myself
“I come from an abusive home, where adults didn’t really listen to me; So, I have problems with authority. [Micah] has given me opportunities to believe in myself. I guess, I just grew up in the system. It was like CPS in and out of my house all the time and my mom being manipulative enough to get around the system. People look down on me. People tell me that because I’m mixed race that that’s the reason is why I had autism–because black and white doesn’t mix and that’s my mom’s fault. Virginia really gave me a chance. I’ve been normal the whole time. My situation was circumstantial at best. I had like the ideal foster situation.
I grew up in Pennsylvania. As a kid, I liked to skateboard. I actually was a really avid skateboarder. I’ve been to the Boom Boom Huck Jam, which is like the X games for skateboarding. And I’ve been to Tony Hawk’s skateboarding summer camp. I’ve been there like three times. I met some pretty influential people like Bob Burnquist.
Even though my mom was abusive, she always used to take me and my sister and museums in Pennsylvania. But my situation just stayed bad the whole time. It wasn’t until I came to Virginia when I was like 13, having made full grown decisions that most kids don’t have to face, that things got better. I came to Virginia because my mom used to change boyfriends like socks. One of her boyfriends led us here. We moved to Woodbridge. He was a military guy who worked at the Naval base.
I was still in Woodbridge when they put me in foster care. I was in foster care from about 12 to 18, so six years. I’ve had to survive from a very young age. I’ve always felt like people are literally playing against me and I didn’t have any control. It has put me in a position now where I have learned how to make money. I have learned how to have opportunity for myself, but I am terrified of investing in myself and shooting for more than what it takes to get by. And that’s really irritating and debilitating. I feel like a child in an adult’s body.
I want to have success that you always look over and pay attention to people who are struggling and need assistance–people that need someone else’s lived experience so that they can get through what they are doing. I aspire to be in the moving business. I do a lot of that work on the side. I’d like to focus this year on making it an actual brand, an insurance-able business with an organizational structure rather than a hustle.
I’ve struggled with traditional employment, but I’ve also managed to survive with all these things on the side. Traditional employment frustrated me because I work hard, I show up and I’m often overlooked for raises. I’ve never, ever, ever had a raise in a job. Because of some of the trauma in my story, I struggle with authority. I’m not a worker who is going to sit there and not say anything. That gets me in trouble, but I’m not a person who is going to stand there and let others depreciate me and just bite my tongue. That’s why I don’t work in the regular corporate world.
I became homeless when I split up with my baby mama. I should have ended the relationship. I kept trying to force the notion that I could fix her, or at least get her in the right mental state to be loved. I did that right out of high school for four years. When I had to leave, I went to my sister’s in downtown, but that was her first place and I didn’t want to mess that up. I stayed there for like a month. I didn’t have enough credit to get into a place by myself. I was staying in the hotel so I’m spending all this money in the hotels. I just had no time for savings to get back into a regular place.
I stayed at the cold weather shelter. I’ve slept on the streets a couple of times. I’ve tented for a couple of months with groups of friends. It wasn’t the greatest, but I strived not to be on the streets–even if it was an elevator at the train station, something to get out of the immediate elements when it was colder. When you have Micah involved, I was able to eat and things like that. So, I wasn’t starving. I was able to shower at the day center. But otherwise, if you had to sleep outside you tried to wake up as early as you could so that you could get to the breakfast and get warm.
I’ve seen God in my story a few times where I didn’t have money. I would be sitting at the Marriott downtown and somebody would ask me “what’s going on?” or “what do you need?” I kind of have those moments regardless of my poverty level. It’s like something in me brings to the surface people’s truest intentions.
I’ve been back in housing for three years. I’m 26 this year and trying to find ways to invest in myself.
Just remember you can learn from everybody. We all go through the same situations, it is just how we ended up there and how we extrapolate those focus points. It’s the situational understanding, the diversity that allows you to perceive a situation and respond instead of just observing and still not understanding.
[Micah’s] vision for a Jeremiah Community gives an opportunity for people who could never get back to a traditional housing situation because they struggle to take care of themselves. Those people need housing too. And then other people who have had some misfortune could go there and gain the skills to where they can eventually leave the community and assimilate back into regular life.
A lot of people have to get to know themselves and love themselves first. It took me time to get to a place where I really cared about myself to really want to try to sustain something. Even though I’m not that great at sustaining bills, I want to at least try. I want to at least not suck, I guess. To regular people that look down on the homeless it looks like you are lesser, and when you are talking about changing the image of homelessness that matters. Just because someone is having a bad situation doesn’t mean that they are a crappy person. When those people start to get that image of homelessness and they automatically render that person useless, or a loser, that stifles that person from a connection that they could have. You might not know what you could learn from that person.
We are people. We are a regular community that have established things. Don’t just look over that person. So, what plans do we draw up for a person that can never go back to regular life. We create places that work for people.”
We hope you will receive Jordan’s story with loving kindness and meet him virtually using the button below. As you join us in thanking God for Jordan’s perseverance, we ask you to prayerfully consider how you might honor him and others in the Micah community with a gift of time or monetary offering. Jordan is one of many neighbors that our collaboration of churches has learned from as we have followed God to build the many parts of a “house” where “all are welcome.” Commit generously to Micah this year, and help us bring more neighbors home.