Settling In

My neck. My back. Ouch. My back. Cut! We are stopping there. My back hurts.

I am definitely feeling my age more and more every day. I spent the better part of fourteen hours on Memorial Day piecing together two dressers, an office desk, an aquarium, and a guinea pig pen. It was likely the most physical activity I have done in over two years, so no wonder my body aches nearly a week later.

But why not just take your time? Why not just build one or two at a time? BECAUSE I WAS EXCITED, OK?! I know, I know. I sound absolutely insane. I was excited over building furniture, but I had a damn good reason to be.

I grew up in a rather chaotic household, which is saying a lot since it was just my two parents and me. Between my mom’s temperament and my dad’s heavy drinking, it made for a tense, loud environment. As a result, I almost always felt on edge. I sat in my bedroom or in the kitchen listening to them battle it out. Even if I escaped to my basketball court on nicer day, I could still hear them nearly a hundred yards away. The constant fighting engrained an uneasiness in my soul that never left. I expected the worst at all times or what little sense of normalcy I had would be stripped from me at any moment. I feared my neighbors or family members calling child protective services or one of my parents taking me with them if they ever split. My survival instinct kicked in, never knowing what could happen at any given moment.

Somehow, neither of those things happened during my childhood. My parents finally split during my senior year of high school. I went off to college about an hour away in hopes of establishing some consistency in my life. The hard truth was that that consistency still relied on returning to my childhood home during the winter, spring, and summer breaks for about one-third of the year. During my sophomore year of college, this same childhood home caught fire. So much for consistency, right?

Over the next five years, I got creative. I paid extra to stay on campus during winter break, and I luckily found summer jobs that came with housing. However, I never stayed in one place for too long. I jumped from dorm to dorm and apartment to apartment. This only validated that knot deep down in my stomach.

It was not until after graduate school that I found my first steady residence since the housefire. It was in a four-bedroom house with a college buddy who owned it. My friend bought the house in the middle of June 2015, and I moved in five days later. About two months later, another guy moved into the bedroom next to mine. That was the final setup for the next six years.

It was a nice setup. It was a two-story house with two bathrooms, a firepit, and an above ground pool. I had the second largest bedroom in the place. However, I still felt crammed. This is because when I moved in, I brought my entire livelihood with me. Literally, everything I owned was with me. I salvaged any prized belongings from my childhood home right after the fire. My clothes were spread between two bins. I did not have enough money to buy new furniture, so my desk, bed, and shelves were hand-me-downs. During those six years, this was how my bedroom remained. My clothes stayed in those bins. My walls remained bare. My furniture sat gathering dust.

About a month ago, with less than a week’s notice, my roommate informed my landlord/friend he was moving out and into a new apartment. A few days later sat an empty bedroom adjacent to mine. His bedroom door was typically closed, so I never really got a good look inside. Now the door sat wide open, and a light bulb went off (not the one in the room). I had an idea.

I asked my friend later that night if I could occupy both my bedroom and my old roommate’s bedroom for slightly higher rent. I was finally in a place financially that I could afford it, and I would be able to spread myself out a little. My buddy told me that he needed a few days to think it over because he was unsure if he was going to look for another tenant or if he wanted to remodel the room as well.

A few days passed, and I ran into my friend in the kitchen. He cut me a deal. He would increase my rent “slightly” for me to take over that room.

Over the next two weekends, he finished up the floor and painted the room. However, even with this excitement, I kept putting off my end of the renovations. I planned on purchasing some new furniture and tossing out all of the old shit I had laying around. I put it off and put it off and put it off. Oh guess what? I put it off some more. I repeatedly open up the apps on my phone to get some ideas. I filled my cart up. Then, I would either empty it or close the app.

I got to thinking about it. Here I was finally getting my wish come true in having my own little space to spread out. However, I procrastinated like none other. Usually, when I procrastinate, it is out of fear of failure or anticipating something bad to happen. Holy shit, that was it. I felt unnerved at the thought of finally settling in somewhere. I grew so accustomed to moving around, feeling uneasy, and always being on edge that I could not savor the fact that I did not have to feel this way for once. That is how engrained it was in my bones. I was so scared that I literally had my clothes in bins in case I had to move out overnight again.

That was not the case anymore. I could finally settle in.

-The Caring Counselor

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