It was the perfect dream or so I thought. I would be one step closer to achieving my life goals and carving out a legacy that I would be proud of for generations to come. Except it wasn’t like that at all, instead things had taken a turn for the worst. I lived in a tiny box room and sacrificed everything for my dream but it wasn’t enough. I had to work 16 hour days to even afford the rent and it would leave me exhausted and fatigued. No longer was I able to have free time and take time out of my day to ‘practice self-care’, instead every living moment was dedicated to working my arse off for what seemed like nothing. The hours would drag and my eyes would droop, testament to the 5am wake up calls and the late night ends. I worked, still do work myself to the bone but I don’t seem to be getting anything in return. My money is swallowed up by rent and bills and I can’t remember the last time I even brought something that could be considered a luxury. Those care-free days were gone and in its place were the realities of adulthood just waiting to humiliate me again and again. But that is nothing compared to my living conditions, the room is –excuse the graphics- infested with bed bugs and as someone who has a deep phobia of bugs every night that I try and sleep brings on an anxiety attack. I told my landlady and she thought I was exaggerating, until she saw the extent of the bugs that were in my mattress. They get in my draws, my clothes and in my bed and it’s a frightening reality I have to face every day and night. I have bites all over my body and my health is depleting by the minute. We got rid of the bugs with spray but then they came back again and she doesn’t seem to want to do anything about it. The irony is I still had little space outside of London but at least I was not living with bed bugs. It makes me think did I sacrifice everything only to be tormented myself? As gruesome as it sounds and believe me it is worse than you think I know that my experience of living in London is not everyone’s London experience . To some it is the ‘lifelong dream’ and many would jump at the chance to make it in the big city. I know that and I am grateful for the experiences it has given me but I find it harder each day to show gratitude where every time I get home at 11 pm sometimes later from work wanting to crawl into bed and sleep only to have to chuck my duvet and pillows in the wash because the bugs have come crawling again. I find it hard to stay positive when every time I am about to drift off the bugs come onto my bed and I leap out shrieking, paranoid that they will bite me again. Quite often there are the rare nights where I have a less fitful sleep and thinking that I have not been bitten I feel happier. But then I look at my arm and they are covered in bites. I contemplated whether it would be a good idea to move, despite being here less than two months I don’t know how much longer I can take this nonsense. Last night I sobbed my heart out because I had to kill so many bugs and my anxiety was through the roof . It was a living, breathing nightmare. I had had enough and confronted my landlord head on, told her I was going to move if they didn’t do anything to sort the room out now. They don’t want to pay out for an exterminator to sort the house out and would rather ‘deep clean’ it themselves even though that will only solve the problem temporarily. Our conversation was surprisingly without drama and she knew that she could have done more to nip the issue in the bud so was feeling guilty that it had all come down to this. I bear her no ill will and I know that she is broke herself, I just wish I didn’t have to look for somewhere else to live because my room was no longer fit for living in. In a way I am surprised I lasted this long but I had very little choice, with little money to my name and poor health it was a deadly combination that I wasn’t sure how to control. One thing is for certain despite my bumpy start on my London journey I know its not over yet and I am looking forward to living somewhere that I can call my own slice of heaven. What Has Been Your Worst Housing Experience?
This post was written 11 days ago and a lot has changed in that time. Stay tuned to find out what happened next..