I’ve lived in the same apartment since before I was married. I moved in at the start of my last summer as a college student with three other girls. That was May 2014. There was a lot of shuffling around of roommates in the year to follow, but then I got engaged and they all kind of agreed wordlessly that they would leave and I could have the place. There’s more to that story, but this blog isn’t about that. During the year us girls lived there, it was kind of a mess. We each had different lifestyles, cleaning habits, decoration preferences, and work schedules. We’d all brought hodge-podge furniture from dorm rooms and garage sales; the apartment was a patchwork of futons, IKEA tables, and thrift store microwaves. Sometimes I look back on that year fondly, but mostly not. I’ve never done well with roommates.
So in May 2015 everyone moved out but me. There were still two months until the wedding and I had to live on my own for the first time in my life. I have abandonment issues (not seriously, but a little) and I’m an introvert, so it was a weird time. Most days I enjoyed it, but when the sun went down and I had to turn off the lights to go to sleep I often struggled with irrational fear. Most of the furniture was gone; the shapes and shadows were foreign in the dark. I also had a stupid number of spiders visit me that summer. Never had more spiders in the apartment than that summer. They knew I was vulnerable. I called Wyatt a dozen times to play exterminator, sometimes very late at night. Luckily he lived just a few blocks away.
After we were married and Wyatt moved in, we started the slow, weird process of making the apartment our own. We were gifted a surprising amount of very decent but old furniture from family. We purged in fits and starts, getting rid of pieces left over from roommates or found by dumpsters. We replaced thrift store finds with better thrift store finds. I discovered the joy of painting things white and hanging them on the wall in artistic groupings. Small shelves, crates, mirrors, sconces. I used my pittance of spending money on decor I saw on Instagram. Letter boards, geometric picture frames, art prints. The place started to feel different. I no longer looked around and saw how it had been filled with three other girls. The memories of conflict, misunderstanding, and mess began to fade, and it just felt like home.
All of this is to say — we’re moving. After living in these rooms for four years (that doesn’t sound like long when I say it out loud) we are packing boxes and trucking across town. We have a truly lovely situation waiting for us in Northeast with dear friends of ours. A duplex — the top floor for us, the bottom floor for them. A yard, a garage, a patio, a fire circle, a Little Free Library, and a burgeoning garden. Free laundry within our own four walls. Wood floors and windows on all sides. A walk-in closet. We are very excited about it and we can see few downsides, yet I can’t bring myself to pack. Yeah we put away the books and the winter clothes and the things I already haven’t touched in months. But next on the list are the things we’re going to notice. The things that will make the walls feel bare. The shadows and shapes at night will once again be foreign. The pretty things I carefully chose are going to be taped up in cardboard for weeks. Yes, they’re just shapes on the wall, but without them it’s not home.
So stay tuned for our next chapter. I’m sure I’ll do lots of overthinking about how to arrange the shapes on my new walls.