October 29, 2014
In my previous blog, I identified my list of healthy coping mechanisms, with singing, writing, meditation, and friends being the most effective of these tools in maintaining my emotional and mental stability. My anxiety is still with me on a daily basis, but now only rises to physically paralyzing levels once per week. I’ve realized that the less time and energy I devote to my survival skills, the more uncontrollable the anxiety becomes. I’ve had far less time and energy recently because, whether wisely or not, I have decided to move into a new apartment and I have been house hunting the entire month.
So, I have another big confession: I love the HGTV show House Hunters. My obsession began in the late 1990s and my devotion has diversified as the brand expanded to encompass House Hunters International and House Hunters Renovations. Yes, I’ll scream at the television as the home buyers weigh their options. Yes, I’ll roll my eyes when the husband makes a predictable joke about his wife commandeering all of the closet space. Yes, I’ll feel mania when the wife insists on only seeing homes with double granite sinks in the master bath. Still, these shows bring me palpably numbing pleasure, especially when depression or anxiety rumble uncontrollably in my body and psyche. I feel deep satisfaction watching people begin a new chapter of their lives by hunting for the home which best represents their identities. Unfortunately, house hunting in the real world lacks the glossy veneer of reality television.
Two years ago — the last time I was house hunting — I was an emotional mess. I didn’t have a job, or discernible passion, or career-minded clarity. I was in debt, I couldn’t afford anything I needed, and what little money I had I was spending on unhealthy, misdirected vices. My boyfriend at the time had just moved away to pursue his own goals on the other coast. He had severed himself emotionally from our relationship while I was still holding on for dear life. I had rented and paid for a cheap sublet online, sight unseen, and not surprisingly the place turned out to be utterly terrifying. The apartment’s previous subletters must have spent their days numb and shuttered, leaving behind splatter-stained curtains, shattered glass in every corner, and thick grime on every surface.
A good friend saved me from my housing nightmare. He is the leaseholder on my current magical, light-filled studio and uses it as an income property. Since the studio was vacant at the time, he offered to let me move in without charging me a security deposit and while also deferring a month of rent. My friend not only saved me from my hellish housing fiasco but also indirectly assisted in saving my life. This slice of housing heaven has turned out to be my fountain of respite and renewal, a healing space where over the course of two years I have rediscovered my voice while ridding myself of my vices.
As I turn the page on a new chapter of my life — sober, aware, present, instinctual — it only made sense that I search for a new place to hang my hat. My mom likes to present her apartment as my home away from home. My father invites me to his home specifically for holidays, and often reminds me of the easy access to the Jacuzzi. But neither place actually feels like my home. Home is where I choose to be, and where my passion is stoked. I feel home inside me, not around me. Home travels with me. Home is comfort. Home is safety. Home is singing. Home is love. Home is more than just a reflection of who I am, or who I want to be, it is me.
I am seeking a new understanding, a new beginning, a new home, a new me.
And a washer/dryer in the unit, please.