Relana's Story: Evicted from My Childhood Home

Relana's Story: Evicted from My Childhood Home
Relana Johnson and her childhood home.

Yesterday was a bittersweet day.

That time last year, just two days shy of my birthday, I was lying cozy in my childhood home when I was awakened by multiple uninvited, loud, aggressive voices. It was the sheriffs coming to escort my dad and I out of the home he owned for 41 years.

Our shit attorney had failed us, despite the fact that we had a solid case against those predatory thieves. They had been there before.

Back in the spring, they broke our door down with a battering ram (despite my dad’s yelling that he was coming to open the door) in an effort to snatch my dad like he was some 30 year old kingpin in a trap house and not the 70 year old, retired tax payer that he is. They didn’t that day however, because I was there. I was the element of surprise.

They had no choice but to leave, looking like defeated super-villains exclaiming how lucky he was, while rummaging through my mail to get the spelling of my name (to add to their hit list).

As I stood there in my pajamas, hair all over my head, I watched and listened.

I watched my dad go into shock and I watched the male sheriffs look around our home with judgmental eyes. I listened to the female sheriff give attitude and talk shit (she’d been there before) and the other guys discuss what they were going to eat for lunch afterwards.

I felt helpless and angry, then fearless.

I was prepared to fight for the basic human rights and dignity we deserved, even if it meant they would lock me up.

They wanted us to leave with nothing but the clothes on our backs and parade us outside in humiliation to our neighbors.

I argued for the right to put on warm clothes and grab (feminine hygiene/pads) toiletries and my laptop for work. They wouldn’t let us shower, brush teeth, or let me comb my hair. I had to sneak my toothbrush and hairbrush into my jean pockets and force my rebel fro into a skullcap.

As we exited our house, I threw my bag and purse into the car and ran up on the foreign asshole who was robbing me and installing new locks on the place that raised me. I demanded that they let us back in and pack up some things for the week (I had to work that week) and stood ready to square up with this man and break in if I had to.

The crazy look in my eyes was enough though, and he let me in. I loaded up my tiny car with as many bags as I could force and drove to the only refuge I could think of at the time: my office. I slept on the couch in my office that night and for the next few days, including my birthday. I watched one of the strongest men I know have a complete emotional and mental breakdown. I didn’t have time to grieve, I had to step up and handle the family’s business and be strong. I didn’t say a word to anyone, simply went on with my week as normal. I wore a sturdy mask.

My PTSD is real. Doorbells make me jump, seeing sheriffs triggers me, and hearing loud, white, male voices in the hallway near my door makes my heart race. I always think they’re coming for me.

Today, despite, the fact that my savings was depleted (which delayed my move out of state), and I now have 5 storage units, and I don’t know what box half of my favorite stuff is in now, and I haven’t seen my high heel collection or jewelry box in months, I stand grateful that I survived and have a warm place to sleep and call home.

I SURVIVED! …And things are looking up.

Resources for families who are facing foreclosure can be found here.

Relana Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as an Associate of Applied Arts and Science in Graphic Design from the International Academy of Design and Technology. Learn more about her here.   Relana is also on Facebook.

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