Living Alone & When It Starts To Become Home

Living Alone & When It Starts To Become Home

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Hello hello!

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?

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Home
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

Sophia

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My bedroom; forever a work in progress
Wisdom Teeth (Or Lack Thereof) & City Girl Glossiness

Wisdom Teeth (Or Lack Thereof) & City Girl Glossiness

Hello hello!

So perhaps this wasn’t an ideal time to start blogging. I had the misfortune of getting my wisdom teeth yanked this week, which all in all was not too bad. I can get behind napping all day and smoothies for every meal. It did, however, mean I had to take the first part of the week off of work and return to mild suburbia to stay with my family while I recovered.

This was the longest I’ve stayed with my family since moving out, which was as lovely as it was bizarre. I miss my family a lot, so it’s always great to see them, especially my little sisters. I wish I was around to gossip with them all the time (that’s probably their worst nightmare, though). I miss my pets, I miss a fully stocked fridge that I didn’t have to put together myself. I miss home things.

Right before I left, I had a discussion with my coworkers while we were closing the store about moving to the city. We agreed that it changes you, and the way people perceive you. I don’t mean that you move there and all of a sudden you’re a different human being; but little changes start to seep in. They’re all changes that I embrace, even hope for, but even so I can feel them the most when I visit my hometown. My coworker talked about going to the grocery store in her own not-so-mild suburbia and getting stares of unfamiliarity from the people of the town she grew up in, presumably because of the intangible effect that comes from living in the city. And the more time I’ve spent away, the weirder it gets every time I come back. Everything in this town is familiar, I could navigate my way home blind, but slowly I’ve started to see it and feel it differently. I used to smile through every social obligation, not thinking much of overbearing strangers. And now I’ve become defensive when the dentist brings up my future, and I feel suffocated by the PTO moms asking me what I’ve been up to.

I really don’t think that it’s a subconscious sense of superiority, because that’s not who I am or what I feel. When I first moved into the city, I was bewildered by every interaction I had. People are different there, and I didn’t know how to match their level of casual coolness. Everyone oozed exotic, fashionable, romantic, messy experiences. I felt like I had something to learn from everyone I met; from the antique lamp shop owner on my street, to my tattoo artist, to my coworkers (especially my coworkers), to every new friend and acquaintance I’ve made. They liked music I never heard of, they referenced movies I’d never seen, literature I have yet to read. Their jokes came with a sharp humor that was brutally honest and unfamiliar. I strived to be on their level, and as soon as I started to give up and think that maybe I just wasn’t going to get there, that I’d just be a mild suburban person forever, I sort of just fell into it. Their music became my music; their TV became my TV (I mean have you seen Drag Race? I’m fucking obsessed) and I identified with my new friends in a way I didn’t know I could. The city became my friend. My mom told me that I had “an air of city girl glossiness” about me, and she didn’t mean it as a compliment, but I wore it proudly. I’m earning my city girl glossiness.

Now, coming back into mild suburbia, I feel the same sort of bewilderment that I had when I first came to the city. I don’t know how to match their level of whatever it is my dentist oozed when she gave me unsolicited college advice with her cold fingers prying at my teeth, 2008 Coldplay playing softly in the background. I don’t think suburbia is bad, and I don’t think the city is better. I prefer the city and the culture and mindset that comes with it, and I prefer the city version of myself. But none of that makes suburbia inherently bad or good. It’s just not my place right now. And none of that means I don’t love coming home, because I do. It’s home.

Much love xx

Sophia

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“Soft food” brunch at home with friends while recovering from getting my wisdom teeth yanked out of my skull