Satanic Community to the Rescue: From the Ashes, We Rise
Our burned-out old apartment, and the new one we got thanks to our Satanic community
Our life took a huge turn for the worse recently, but in the midst of disaster, heartache and fear, once again our Satanic community saved us.
Four weeks ago, my partner and I lost our apartment to a fire. The next-door neighbor was cooking breakfast and the pan caught fire; then it jumped to the curtains. We awoke to banging on our window and someone shouting "Get out!" Smoke poured out into our doorway as we ran outside, leaving our belongings inside. Outside, I watched the flames engulf the building, thinking "There goes my whole life. No more stability, no more home." As the flames leapt above the roof, I sank down on some nearby steps and started crying. The kind neighbor across the street saw me break down, and she came over and gave me a hug.
We were bereft. We called a good friend, and fortunately she came for us and let us crash in her basement, so we weren't homeless on the streets, but it was still incredibly traumatic. We felt we had few if any prospects for a new place. Our income is tiny (both my partner and I are disabled, and we live off his tiny disability check), and our credit is crappy ─ plus our previous slumlord refused to answer the phone, wiping out the possibility that a prospective landlord could reach her and learn that we'd been good tenants for the 8 years we lived there. I'd wake up every morning suicidal ─ where would we go? The Red Cross tried to help with suggestions, but their advice wasn't too helpful: "Search the web for 'low-income rentals.'" We were sure we'd be facing life being homeless ─ and both my partner and myself knew that rather than try to make it on the streets again (we've both experienced that before), we would probably end up killing ourselves. To our everlasting gratitude, however, our Satanic family came to the rescue. One of our fellow members of The Satanic Temple - Washington State put together a GoFundMe, and to our astonishment, the Satanic community rallied together and met the goal within five hours. I was amazed at how many people donated ─ old friends, Chaptermates, and Satanists across the world. Strangers I've never met pitched in; a number who donated mentioned they were inspired by my book "The Happy Satanist." I even got help from one of the TST founders, who I've come to know during my work on an upcoming Satanic practice book. Even with the funds raised, though, we didn't know how we'd find a place. There's very little in the way of available low-income housing here in Seattle. I pleaded on social media for any possible leads, no matter how bad. We got one lead on a tiny 300ft studio in a violent neighborhood; we went for a walk-through there, thinking we'd have to make do with this depressing one-room apartment in a crumbling building. We weren't looking forward to it, but it seemed our only option. But then another friend from our TST Chapter mentioned there was a unit vacant in her building. We came and looked at it ─ a sunny, clean one-bedroom in a lovely, peaceful Seattle neighborhood. We paid the $80 application fee and submitted our info, but we weren't hopeful. We knew our credit and income didn't look good. However, our friend put in a good word with her landlord for us ─ and right before we were going to take that dingy little studio, he texted us and said he would rent to us, as long as we could put down an extra-large deposit to make up for our crappy credit. The money that our community raised ensured we had enough to cover the extra, and to our joy we were able to sign a lease just three weeks after the fire. Then came the next step ─ getting all our remaining belongings into our new home. I have debilitating arthritis in my back and both knees, and my partner also has back problems, so we weren't sure how we'd be able to move. Once again, our community rallied; our Chapter Heads helped spread the word that we needed help, and a posse of Chapter members came together (including a couple with a big truck) to move all our things.
Thanks to all the help, we are now living in a fantastic new place, just across the street from our TST friend. The difference from our previous apartment is like night and day. Our old place was falling apart, and the landlord was a real slumlord ─ she refused to answer the phone for the last three years we lived there. It had rats, busted appliances that I had to fundraise to replace myself (our stove, our bathroom sink, our toilet, and even our neighbors' kitchen sink and water heater), leaks in the bedroom and our front room, crumbling stairs and ceilings, and invasive blackberries that engulfed the yard. Our next-door neighbors were violent tweakers who refused to turn down their music even at 4 am, and our upstairs neighbors let their dog run loose even after he bit my partner badly. All our household items were second-hand, mismatched, and often to some degree broken ─ we had found all our furniture free on the corners around our house. We were grateful to have a home, but it was rife with problems.
Flowers for our new patio!
Now we are in a much better situation. There is a handyman on site who makes repairs within a day. The laundry machine collection ─ and everything else ─ works. The neighbors are chill, we share a beautiful patio area, and the apartment itself is in fantastic condition, with all new paint and carpeting. Thanks to all the donations, we were able to replace all the old household items we lost with nice new things in good working order (that match our black decorating scheme, no less!). I was even able to get some flowers for the patio. I feel like we've taken a huge step up in our living conditions.
We are ecstatic about our lovely new place. And it would never have been possible had not the Satanic community opened their hearts and helped us out. In the face of this overwhelming disaster, we felt the Satanic love; I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who offered support and donations.
When Christians brag about their "great" communities, rife with judgement, othering, and even abuse, I just think about how amazing ours is. My partner and I face so many limitations due to our disabilities and chronic health issues; without help we would almost certainly be homeless. But thanks to the incredible compassion and support of our Satanic network, we are instead ensconced in this stable home that allows us to breathe easy. It gives me the chance to continue my Satanic writing without the paralyzing fear of homelessness.
Hail to the kindness engendered by our religion! Hail to the community that has been our lifeline in the midst of crisis. And HAIL SATAN!
The notebook I kept during our post-fire housing search