As a child, I was shuffled around from home to home. Spending each morning and late night at my mom’s home in the country, but then being picked up by my aunt after school to head to our grandmother’s home in the blue store for the day/night. It was never ideal- the whole move around bit. My friends rarely called or invited me over because they knew I lived more than a half hour away from their perfectly settled lives. As a clique-y 10 year old, it was crushing for the self esteem. And when I got a job and a car, it became all about stretching my limited gas funds so I could make rounds to the school, friends, work, and two homes in one day.
I’ve been living independently for over 5 years now. My first two years were spent in a shoebox college dorm with KStrong. We littered that place with McDonald’s wrappers, Doritos bags, and Gilmore Girl movies. We filled it with pictures of our current boyfriends and programs from our theater shows. It was a good time and I made a best friend/hermit collective out of it. When KStrong made her grand departure, I fled for a solo dorm in the same building as my current long-term fling. I (hazily) remember spilling jello-shots on the hardwood floors, hiding in one of my two walk in closets, passing out in the bathroom, and playing slightly pornographic and disney videogames with friends cheering me on.
When I hit senior year, I realized that I was: 1.) Tired of dealing with parking, 2.) Missing roommate lovin‘, 3.) Feeling like an ambitious adult. I took an offer to move in with a girl I knew very little about. She was quirky, daring, and a great cook. Her boyfriend visited as often as mine, making little fuss over awkward morning run ins. We watched, shamelessly, Secrets of the American Teenager and spied on people walking the path outside our window. Eventually, we took the green carpet space to her abode in Chicago. Moving to the city prompted breaking up an already sour “relationship” and finding solace in some very unusual places with some very unusual companions.
And then life calmed down in all departments. I took a job as a music teacher and ran away to E-burbs alone. Sometimes with a companion, often without, I learned to find friendship in playing piano and Beatles rockband. But I grew tired of being apartment poor, yet consistently bored. And now I am off for a new adventure back in Chicago, again solo.
It’s not ideal- the loneliness, especially when you spent years 6-18 shuffled from houses filled with friendly faces. But I’ve always considered moving a welcome price to pay. It means never having to put down roots, never having to worry about shuffling, and never having to revisit old wounds for long.
All the while, I lost touch of the country and the blue store. Partially because I hated the drive back and forth down one torn up highway to the next, and partially because I never wanted to deal with the shuffle. But because you cant have it both ways and my aunts and grandma loves cats (which I am terribly allergic to), I was essentially moved out of one childhood home to the next. When the country home was sold to my drama filled sister, I knew I wasn’t invited back. My leftover mementos were either destroyed by their negligence or handed over to me in two boxes. When I go home, I exclusively spend time at my dad’s house- one that I never grew up in.
I went home last night to pick up this computer- an early, emergency birthday gift from an awesome aunt. When I walked in to the blue store, I was bombarded by my sister’s dogs and her hostile attitude. I locked myself in the bathroom for a bit to settle down, kissed my ailing grandmother hello-goodbye, and walked out the door. This morning, I found a postsecret that more than perfectly sums up how I feel- inspiring this much needed blog and evaluation of what I call home:
Today, I imagine home is where I will come to be when I am ready. It will be with my husband or live-in-companion- most likely with children. It will be that apartment/condo/town home/house where I can finally say that: “This is it, this is where I want to be.” No more shuffling, no more roommate strain or dependency, and no more solo piano playing on a Friday night. Everything up until that point will just be stomping grounds and temporary locations for me to sleep in and pay absurd amounts on parking for. I’m going to fill my home with flowers, antiques, collections, red doors, blue walls, old books, and music- above all- music. My toothbrush wont be traveling in purse from boyfriend’s dingy bathroom to my equally disgusting one. It will rest in one cup with one toothpaste (most likely cap less). Side by side, making a home.