The Trouble With Living Arrangements

Photo of my bedroom. Looking in on the left wall you can see curtain lights dangling down and an angled cube cabinet full of shoes, topped with a bouquet of sunflowers and a large pothos plant. The bed is against the back wall, done up in a black bedspread with large white euro pillows. There is a pink chair in the far right corner. Along the back wall is a tapestry with the moon phases and various gold and black paintings.

One of the biggest factors that we often have little control over is the environment. Being chronically ill, so many environmental factors can make or break my day and even my week.

When it comes down to living arrangements, I think we all have a list of what we want it to look like – and I don’t necessarily mean what’s in the space, but rather WHO is in the space.

The 18 1/2 years + the 10 additional months last year of living with my parents has proven that they are not the WHO I ideally want to live with. Sure, we love our parents, but there’s good reason we are expected to move out.

We can live with family, and it isn’t out of the ordinary for siblings to end up out of their parents house and into an apartment of their own.

Hell, when I moved to Wisconsin, I lived with my sister. She’s great, she’s also almost twice my age, and we are vastly different people with different lived experiences. Which is why I moved out – I valued our relationship more than our living arrangement.

I was instantly met with the absolute bliss of being completely alone in my own my space. I had a small two bedroom apartment, with my very own dedicated office space. It was the first time in my life that I not only had spaces that were totally mine, but a separation of spaces. A place to sleep. A place to eat. A place to relax. A place to work.

But, within 5 short months, my health got the best of me and I stood surrounded by boxes, leaving the home I’d created to go back to the home I knew with my parents. I can’t really put into words the pain this brought me, or the emotions of it, but standing in my little entry space glancing at my still partially decorated living room and into the kitchen where I’d spent so much of my time, it was hard to really believe that in a few short days I’d never see that space again. I don’t really think that feeling could be compared to all the times I moved growing up, because this wasn’t just me leaving the space it was me leaving something I had built almost completely on my own. Furnished on my own. Decorated on my own. It was all mine, and I was leaving it not knowing if or when I’d have a place like that again.

Fast-forward to being back out on my own, living in a studio space that I absolutely adore, I’m met with the reality of being an adult, and being a very sick adult. I can’t afford to maintain this space beyond the end of 2020.

I’ll be moving in with my best friend and her boyfriend late this coming Spring.

If I have to really pick a WHO when it comes to sharing a space, there isn’t anyone other than Torie that would make the cut. See The Best Friend Who Gets It to read about how great she is.

But, this brings up a lot of feelings and conflicting ones at that.

Living alone, occupying my own space, having complete and total control of my surroundings… that is my bliss. I can vividly remember a conversation with a friend a few years ago – he was so shocked that I was living on my own, how could I possibly do it or enjoy just being alone with my thoughts… and here I was wondering how he could possibly enjoy the chaos of being around his friends all the time and never having a moment of privacy to be alone with his thoughts.

Or be alone when you’re having a solo concert in your living room…

I will say, the thought of living with someone you know is a lot more enticing than living with someone you don’t. My freshmen roommate in the dorms wasn’t exactly a match made in heaven. And my summer sublease buddies were far from ideal. I lived… but I’d argue both instances come with the pre-fix: barely.

So what do I love about living alone?

I’m in control of the smells (my molasses infused cooking granola is the only exception) and sounds which can directly make my migraine attacks worse. I say this with a grain of salt, because living in a multi-unit dwelling means I am subjected to vehicle noises, loud patio conversations, car base, and of course landscapers. Also, lingering cigarette smoke… thank god for air-purifiers.

My solo concerts of course… which happen at least once a day. Especially if I’m cooking. Or showering. Or have finished with the shower and decided the show must go on.

I have my own dedicated space. I can be alone with my thoughts.

Why living alone can be a double-edged sword…

I rely on delivery services for a lot. Not feeling well enough to get to the store or have the energy to grocery shop means I’m stuck having no option but to order. Today for example, I was so foggy I could barely pick out what meals to have for the week, making the creation of my grocery list very difficult. After ordering and having them delivered I discovered the actual cost of my groceries was $17 lower than what I paid… I didn’t even purchase a substantial amount, but for delivery often prices are inflated and then theirs service fees, delivery fees, and tax… and then still a tip for the generous person who is doing the shopping for you.

Sometimes I truly can’t cook. Whether it’s because I’m too fuzzy to trust myself with a knife to chop up veggies with or because I’m in too much pain to stand, having someone else around to even throw something in the microwave would be nice.

Speaking of groceries and cooking, it’s really hard to plan out meals and buy fresh ingredients when you’re only cooking for one.

What scares me about having roommates, even though I love them to death?

I think my biggest worry is that we’ll all be on top of each other. Sure, we’re planning to get a 3-bedroom place so we have an extra office/lounge area, but 3 people in one space is a lot.

I’ve never lived with pets, and they have two adorable cats. I love Aziza and Osiris, but I know I have both plants and essential oils that aren’t safe for cats.

Living with roommates isn’t really anything close to the end of the world, and I’m so fortunate to have friends who don’t gaulk at the idea of living with someone with no actual source of income. Yes SSDI helps and will cover my expenses, but its low enough that I on my own wouldn’t get approved again for an apartment. And they don’t – as far as I know – fret about the unpredictability of my condition and me not having a solid timeline for when I will be working.

So, I’m looking forward to the days after we’ve all gotten moved in and settled into whatever space we decide on.

I’m looking forward to having people to talk to when I just need to say something out loud to get it out of my head.

I’m looking forward to trying out something that’s outside of my comfort zone.

A.


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