Well, hello there. I’ve been going through major blog withdrawal in the past few weeks as my posting here has been sporadic, at best. And believe me, it has not been for lack of inspiration or motivation. It’s been for lack of time. My last two weeks at work were a true test of my stamina — I clocked — wait for it — 175 hours in the span of two weeks. One hundred and seventy fucking five hours. I would wake up in the morning at 6:30, shower, head in to work, grab a granola bar from my desk drawer and work 15 hours through, often not stopping for a 10-minute lunch until 3 or 4 pm, and often skipping dinner entirely, until leaving at 10 or 11 and falling right into bed. And I was supposed to have my burlesque debut on the 11th, but there was no way that was going to happen, not when that was the day before my last day, and my last day was a major deadline on my major project. A project that, no, no one else could take over because my manager is inept and didn’t find someone to replace me until the afternoon of my very last day.
I was about to continue my rant, but let’s just stop. It’s riling me up. Instead I’ll bask in the fuzzy delight of now being on extended vacation. I left work around 10pm on my last day — I was the last one leaving the office, and it was weird — and took about 6 hours off on Thursday: slept in, went to a coffee shop, read some blogs, intended to post but then realized OH SHIT, I’m MOVING tomorrow. So I spent the afternoon and evening on Thursday starting to organize my shit. And then I spent all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday moving.
It’s a bit surreal — my own place, no roommate, just me and, of course, my girlfriend. Our own space, left to our own devices. On Sunday we borrowed a friend’s car and went to Ikea to fill in some gaps (you know, matching dishware, a floor lamp, kitchen table chairs, that sort of thing), and now we’re … almost set up. We’ve both got some unpacking to do, I’ve got some major organizing to do (my favorite part!) and then there will be, of course, the finishing touches (I want a pin-up gallery in the hall, she wants to buy some artwork from artist friends, etc.) but oh my gosh it is so amazing, this is our space, and it’s space that I can be at home in.
Home. I have a complicated relationship with home, with the very concept of “home.” I’m not sure I even know what it means to me. Home isn’t the place I grew up. My parents were both transplants to the town I was raised in, and for them, home was always someplace else — the Bay Area for my mother, and Boston for my father, though I suspect my father’s ideas about home are just as complicated as mine are. So although I spent most of my childhood in a town in upstate New York, it always felt transient to me. Then I was raped in my neighborhood when I was fifteen, and connecting my childhood residence to any concept of home became even more complicated. A year later, not having finished high school, I left upstate New York for Germany. I spent two years there (one year then, one year in college) and though I grew very attached to it in some ways, and in fact sometimes felt more “at home” there than I did in the town where my parents lived, I was still a foreigner. I’m not German. It’s not my home.
Then came college, and while I was there I often said that it truly felt like home. I had friends there who were (and are) like family to me; I flourished there; I learned how to be happy there. I came out there. It was there that I felt at home in myself for the first time since leaving childhood behind, I think. Going back every fall really felt like a home-coming, and when I returned to Germany for my junior year, I experienced homesickness for the first time.
But, well, college doesn’t go on forever, and can home really be a thing that was always intended to be temporary? And I don’t just mean my residency there was temporary. I mean that experiencing it as home was temporary, and I knew that right from the start. When I go back now, I feel nostalgic, and warm, and fond of this place that held so much meaning for me.** But I don’t feel at home there anymore, for obvious reasons. I don’t belong there anymore. My time there is irrevocably finished. So what then?
So I moved to San Francisco. And while I’ve known for a while — since before I even moved here, really, which I articulate a bit in my answer to a formspring question — that I see the city itself as a blanket notion of “home,” in that I feel I belong in the city itself, I haven’t yet found a particular space that’s my home, a space that I can just relax and open up and let down and exhale completely in. I’m an accommodator, I tend to acquiesce to my roommates’ preferences and requests and demands and habits, rather than sticking up for my own. And so I have prevented myself from having a home here.
Until now? With my lady I know I don’t have to accommodate her. I mean, I do, but she accommodates me, too. We compromise and negotiate and figure stuff out and I don’t have to have my hair pulled back and my shirt buttoned all the way up in order to do that. And I am so relieved. Already I feel like I can breathe better. Even though there’s so much clutter in our hallway from stuff that’s been partially unpacked that it’s suffocating, I can breathe better here than anywhere else. And it’s different from college, because not only do I have my own space, but I organize my own life. All at once. I get to be the way I want to be, live the way I want to live. It’s amazing.
So, what is home, anyway?
**Speaking of going back there, coincidentally, I am doing that this week! I have a college reunion, so I’m going back to visit my campus, and most of my friends will be there too. So forgive, again, the light posting until Sunday, when I leave Massachusetts for New York to visit with my folks.