Homeless Sessions: The Whale


While I was homeless for a month, there were several thoughts that ran through my head on a daily basis. One theme kept popping up in unexpected places – Jonah and the Whale.

One day, Joel Osteen was talking about Jonah and the whale. I don’t watch Mr. Osteen very often. Okay, I had never watched his sermons before or since. However, that day I listened to his whole speech. Then I went on with the day.

At that time, my days were not filled with inspiration or any sort of happiness -not just because I was within days of sleeping on the streets. On top of the stress of being practically homeless and pregnant, I was still with my abuser.

Apparently, it’s very common for women and children to be homeless after leaving their abuser. I’m not sure how common it is for the abuser and victim to be homeless together.

My abuser and I moved from Ohio to Florida. It was my idea. It was part of a master plan to get my abuser away from my kids and I. I am not normally a liar but I lied in order to get him to go along with this idea of moving to Florida. Actually, I am a terrible liar because I can’t keep a straight face. I was Jonah and hooked this whale with my big fat lie.

Obviously, the plan was not going according to plan. It was not in the plan to end up homeless. I had two problems: no money and an abuser in my face 24/7. I was Jonah and could not get rid of this whale.

The second thing that happened that spoke to me was a woman from a church was giving her testimony. It was for me I had no doubt. Basically, she said, “Leave him. He is not for you.Go home.” I’m paraphrasing but that’s what I heard. It’s what I needed to hear again.

About a month into being homeless, a minister came to the homeless shelter to preach. Guess what his sermon was about that day? Jonah and the Whale. The point of his sermon was that some people have a whale. The whale could be drug addiction, insecurity or whatever is holding you back from really living a good life.

I knew it was time to leave for good. It was time to let go of my whale; otherwise, he was going to suck the last bit of life out of me and our unborn daughter.

I called the domestic violence shelters but they would not accept me because I was not officially a Florida resident yet. So it was time for me to put aside my few scraps of pride and call someone from back home.

My phone contact list consisted of all female names, in case my abuser looked through my phone. The only male on the list was my dad.

I made a phone call to Uncle Vicky the next day. Uncle Vicky was friends with my mom. My mom and I weren’t speaking. I didn’t call her because I was ashamed of being in this relationship. It was also important that I didn’t cry. My abuser was super suspicious of everything, even when it was nothing.

My mom, who is normally a kind, generous person, wanted to run over him with her car and rightly so. He brought nothing but destruction and toxicity to our lives. Also, I’m pretty sure he killed the cat when he threw a baseball at it.

Uncle Vicky and I made arrangements for me to come back to Ohio by the end of the week.

I left the whale at 3 a.m. in February 2008. He called every name in the phone that I left behind at 5 a.m.

I do not regret tricking him. I do not regret leaving him hundreds of miles from his family. The plan was a bit extreme but I would do it all again. It was something I felt truly led to do.

It was the beginning of a new life for me and youngest daughter. I had to rebuild every relationship that I had including my mom, my two older daughters and my dad. Nothing was easy when I returned but I’m glad I came home.

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12 responses to “Homeless Sessions: The Whale”

  1. Wow, I’m glad you were able to rebuild with your mom. I’m sorry you went through that, and I’m glad you got out before it was too late. I went the opposite direction when I left my psycho ex and just went underground — new name, new identity and no family for him to call and harass. No one knew where I was for the longest time except maybe three people. The domestic violence shelters wouldn’t take me either because there was no “history” of our dispute. WTF? It only takes once before you’re dead. What good are they?

    Anyway, I’m glad you got out and it worked out in the end.

    1. I did go into hiding for awhile. Sorry you had to go through all of that. True, it only takes one time. Mine didn’t beat me but it didn’t mean he didn’t have it in him. He did. He had a violent nature. Walking on egg shells was exhausting. Glad to be away from him

    2. Also, there are like 7 types of abuse. I had them all in spades, except not the physical as much.

  2. Your story made me cry. I’m glad that you went home and that you’ve emerged from that episode of your life in tact (albeit not unscarred but wiser).

    1. Awww. I’m sorry but thanks. That is like the ultimate compliment except that one time I made someone cry in a writing class. That was not good. 🙂 But yes, definitely wiser now. 🙂 Thank you so much!

  3. I’m glad you did too. Isn’t amazing that the path becomes clear if we are paying attention? Quite a story Holley!

    1. It is amazing! It’s like a Lifetime movie or something. 🙂

      1. Seriously, you have an amazing story 🙂

  4. How very familiar, thank you for sharing xxx

  5. I’m so glad that you could leave the whale behind and move on, Holley! It was important, both for you and your daughters to be away from that person! Sometimes, the universe gives us the signs, it just takes us to be attentive and listen/observe them! 🙂
    Do check out my post for August: http://www.expressinglife.in/2015/08/the-art-of-listening.html
    Would love to know your views about the same! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! Yes. We do need to listen to the universe.

  6. […] eight years ago at Christmas time, I was homeless. In some ways, I was lucky. I didn’t have to sleep on an actual sidewalk in an actual […]

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