Susannah is on what she describes as a journey of self discovery. To really understand this we need to go back, like many we have interviewed, to her childhood.
Susannah was adopted, and as can be common with adoptees, Susannah struggled to feel wanted. Her birth parents didn’t want her so why would anyone else? Though the family that became hers was stable and loving, she grew up as a chameleon. “I was everything to everyone because I didn’t want to be thrown aside again.” In a struggle to reconcile these emotions Susannah grew up with anxiety and depression, and a feeling of not being supported through this. “I grew up in Burbank, California. I’m from an upper middle class family. My parents were stable, but my mom didn’t believe in mental health issues or emotion.”
In our discussion, Susannah starts her journey of where she is today beginning in early 2018. She was a single mom, and a self-described “bad relationship picker, and I picked a bad one…a really bad one.” Susannah moved her then boyfriend in with her and her 10 year old son. Not long after, a person who was angry with her boyfriend called CPS. CPS did an investigation, and ultimately decided it would be best to remove her son from the home. In an effort to keep her son out of state custody Susannah had to give full disclosure to her mom of all that was going on…including her own drug abuse.
While she was working, her parents at the time were supplementing Susannah’s income as she was not receiving any child support. About this same time, Susannah’s father died, and upon hearing Susannah’s confession her mom cut her off financially. As a result, in February 2019, Susannah sent her son to live with his dad, and she ended up on the streets. Her son is doing well living with his dad in another state.
As she said, Susannah is on a journey of self discovery; she is currently not sure what her way off the streets is. For her overcoming homelessness is not just about getting housing. You still have to address the issues that made you homeless in the first place, and that is what she is doing.
Her final words to us, in tears were, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Have compassion for people because they are human beings. Acknowledging someone on the street by just saying, ‘hi,’ you don’t know how much that can make someone’s day.”