I thought I’d touch more on moving because I enjoyed writing about it so much last time, and it’s something I get asked about a lot.
I’ve been in my apartment now since November. My first week was magic; I wandered around the neighborhood aimlessly for hours, I built Ikea furniture with my dad, I set out a criminal amount of throw pillows. I’ve suffered from migraines, nightmares, and other pain issues for years and years, and my first night in my apartment was my first night without any of the above (which has continued; I don’t get nightmares at all anymore!). I got up every morning, soaked in the sun coming through my window, did my makeup, did my hair, put together an elaborate outfit, got breakfast from the bakery down the street or made some at home, and continued just as dreamily until bedtime. It was everything I dreamed it to be. This was the theme for a while, and only got better when I adopted my cat Beatrice. She was delightful company, someone to have sleep by my feet and claw at my hands. And somehow having another living thing in my space added a level of realness to it all; holding the life of a 6lb cat in my hands, staring up at me with big green eyes, enforced the idea that MY life was also entirely in my hands. I was responsible for it all now. I had a lot of independence growing up, but I didn’t have to go to the grocery store on my own. I didn’t have to catch my own bugs, mop my own floors, hang my own frames, set my own curfew, get my own prescriptions. It was so much so quickly, and I loved it. I soaked in the responsibility like I did the sunshine pouring through my new windows. But of course, there were moments when the responsibility was crushing instead of freeing. I remember hitting my head on a cabinet in my first few weeks before I had developed the muscle memory involved in taking peanut butter out of the pantry, and it swelled up and bruised and I was filled with the fear of what if it’s worse than I realize (it wasn’t)? What if I pass out (I didn’t)? What if this head injury kills me and no one knows because I’m all alone except for this cat (I was literally completely fine)? I was so thankful for my parents in moments like those, because I was able to call them and get the confirmation that I would not, in fact, die in my sleep and be forgotten about.
For so long, I focused on the maintaining that dreamy state. Dishes were always put away, my bed was always made and overflowing with shiny fuzzy throw pillows, my coffee table was impeccably arranged according to Pinterest’s guidelines, my makeup was polished and I never had a lazy outfit day. But with that came a lot of guilt when I wasn’t able to maintain it all. I beat myself up for having boxes around and I became incredibly anxious when friends came over, for fear of not looking like I was “keeping it together.” I wanted to prove that I wasn’t too young, too immature, too naive, too helpless to run a home for myself and Beatrice.
Meanwhile, my bedroom at my parents’ house was a disaster. I was storing my summer clothes there as well as every childhood possession I had ever owned. It was cluttered and messy and grimy, everything my new place wasn’t. My apartment had personality, but personality with a strict color scheme and decorating pattern. My bedroom at home was authentically me, for better or for worse, and it was all at once eerie and comforting to visit and sleep there among the remains of my teenagerhood. And then, after a fight with my sister, my room was gone. She had packed it up, put everything in boxes, and moved herself into it. My things were scattered to the four winds. I didn’t get a warning, I didn’t get a goodbye. The next time I visited, it was all gone. I felt angry and betrayed, and I mourned the mess of a room that it was. Even though I had a beautiful, colorful, sunny apartment in the city waiting for me, I was inconsolable when it came to the loss of my childhood bedroom. I didn’t quite understand why I was having the reaction that I was, I didn’t understand why it hurt so badly. Sure, I was upset with my sister, but that wasn’t all of it. I felt so guilty and so ungrateful for being so upset, because I know and feel how lucky I am to have my apartment, so why was I mourning the dusty cluttered room that wasn’t mine anymore?
My apartment was a perfectly arranged piece of art, that inflicted anxiety every time there was a candle or decorative knick knack out of place. My bedroom at home was a clusterfuck of belongings that I cherished for the familiarity and freedom that came with it. And now, 4 months after the demise of that bedroom, I have found a happy middle-ground in my apartment. I’ve broken my color schemes, I’ve covered every inch in art and things that make me feel something, I leave clothes on the floor sometimes (okay like 90% of the time but like still), and in doing so I have made it a home. In desperately trying to maintain the shiny, new, dreamy feeling that came with my first weeks, I wasn’t letting it become a home. A home is messy, a home is unapologetically shared with loved ones, a home has cat hair and dishes in the sink sometimes. Having a messy desk doesn’t reflect on my ability to handle living on my own. And that doesn’t mean my home doesn’t still look cute as fuck, it’s just an eclectic, personal cute now. And now finally, I don’t mourn my old bedroom anymore.
Much love xx