I Was Asked To Leave {On Getting Kicked Out – The First Time}


My brother and I were talking one day and during the course of the conversation I said, “…when I got kicked out of the house, blah, blah, blah…” He was really upset with my phrasing. He said that was a harsh way of putting it. I wasn’t really sure what to say to that except that it felt an awful lot like being kicked out. And that’s really all that matters — how it felt to me. I was 19 and it was the summer before my second year at UCLA. I was getting ready to house sit for some friends at church and on this particular Saturday afternoon I was rushing to get to church early because I was part of the evening mass choir and I was running late. I asked my mom to iron a blouse for me and I darted into the shower. When I came out she hadn’t ironed the blouse and some powerful words were exchanged. I say powerful because in the 19 years previous, nothing like it had ever been used between us.

I called her a “bitch” and she slapped me.

I finished getting ready for church and left the house. When I got home that night my dad said, “You’re getting ready to go house sit for the Roehls and I suggest you use that time away to find yourself a new place to live.”

Okey dokey then. As previously alluded to, up until that point in time my parents had never had a lick of trouble with me. Because of my childhood I was terrified of drinking because I didn’t want to be out of control in the way I had seen my dad be. I didn’t stay out past curfew. I didn’t hang out with the “wrong” crowd. Didn’t date at all. I was the designated driver when my friends wanted to go to parties. I was going to school and had been on the rowing team. I was trying hard. I was a good, good girl.

So hearing my dad tell me that because once I had gotten upset and called my mom a bad word, I was being asked to leave the premises was really hard to take. I was devastated. I’m actually crying now just thinking about it. I felt so betrayed. Like I was trying to live up to my part of the bargain and they didn’t. I had one year of college under my belt and it was not feasible to work and go to school at the same time, so college was finished for me. I was heartbroken on so many levels.

But, I did what I was told and found myself a place to live.  There were two young men in the Young Adult Group at church, Air Force Academy graduates, who were looking for a roommate in their house a couple of blocks from the beach in Hermosa Beach. Ideal. I felt safe being with them and I was closer to the beach than I’d ever lived.

I had gotten a job as a file clerk in a law office as a temporary, part-time thing over the summer and had to go and ask Marsha, the supervisor, if it could be a permanent job. They agreed to keep me on full-time past the summer and so everything was set. One of my friends, Todd, had a truck and he moved me into my new digs.

The guys were excited because they thought having a female around meant that I would do the chores. They were swiftly disabused of that notion. I loved that they were older and worldly and cooked and kept a clean home. I learned a lot from them and will forever be grateful to them that they took me in when I really needed a home. I know that they were disappointed in me, I didn’t cook much, clean much, or even keep my own room picked up, but they were absolutely terrific to me in spite of that.

I learned a lot about money management during that time. It was my first time having a job because my parents always wanted me to focus on getting good grades and wouldn’t let me work while I was in school. So previous to this experience I would ask my dad for money and he would give it to me. Or not. But I had never worked for money and never had to budget it. I now had to get a checking account and establish credit and pay bills. There was no asking anyone for anything.

I’m so grateful that I had that year-long experience living with Mike and Jeff a few blocks from the beach. It taught me so many things that helped me to be able to survive all of what followed in my life up to this point.

It taught me that I could support myself. That I didn’t need anyone. That I could stand on my own two feet without anyone taking care of me. That was huge. And what a gift. What a blessing. What Grace to know that I could be totally self-sufficient if I needed to be. I really and truly didn’t NEED anyone.

I’m not sure that I can underscore that notion enough. I think after having the childhood that I did, being so afraid all the time – of everything – that having the knowledge that I could really and truly do it on my own without having to rely on anyone else made me feel very, very safe.

From then on, anytime I dated anyone I knew that it was truly a choice. I could live with them or not. I could stay or leave. I did not NEED anyone but myself. I could always make it work on my own. I could always take care of myself. What freedom there is in that!!! Even if I wasn’t always making good choices, I knew deep down that the choice was there. That I was strong enough to be able to make it on my own.

So in that one situation – my dad “asking me to leave” home at 19 – that one situation that forever changed the course of my life, for better or for worse, I find Grace in the fact that I learned self-reliance and self-ability.

That I knew that I was enough all on my own.

Grace, indeed.

This is the sixth of 31 {or more} posts that I am writing on the topic of Grace. I'm writing about what Grace means to me and the ways in which I've found it in my life. Please leave a comment any time about what Grace means to you or if you have any questions for me about Grace.

Laurie Jacobsen

Graphic Designer, Life Coach and Maker. Living the dream in Tucson, Arizona.