(featured photo by Tyler Corbley)
This Saturday I single-handedly hauled all my belongings into my tiny Honda Civic and drove off to Manayunk. I don’t have a lot of things – at least not furniture wise. So right now, the room is kind of… barren.
(Yes, that is a little ball of Nova Dog on the bed there.)
Also I don’t own a chair.
It took a lot of mental strength to do this, honestly. Things at Mommom’s just started to feel like home. I don’t know what happened, but after my Aunt Lizzie passed, everyone came together. My uncle was always around the house, and even my parents stopped by on the regular. It felt good and safe there. I was being taken care of – I’ve been feeling like an oversensitive child lately.
But I’m 23 and I drive 50+ minutes each way to my job. So when my old roommates said our room was open again, I decided it was probably time for me to be a big girl. Initially, I was excited. I couldn’t wait to get extra sleep and be around friends every day. But Saturday morning, I felt sick to my stomach – probably from misdirected anxiety. I almost threw up a few times and I couldn’t stop myself from shaking. As much as I liked the idea of being independent and closer to work, right then in that moment, all I wanted to do was be surrounded by my family. Maybe this was my way of coping with all the loss in the past few months. I couldn’t stop crying – it was like there was a wad of steel wool in the back of my throat and chest. I wanted to stay right there.
When I finally started to load my car, seeing my old room so bare made me sadder. It just started to feel like home. That was a big deal for me, considering the house I grew up in wasn’t even a home to me.
They say that home is a feeling, and they’re right. Hearing small, familiar voices downstairs, laughter between Mommom and my brother, seeing my shitty paintings on the walls and the post-card concoction I made – it’s not the room or the things in it, it’s the feeling the place gives you.
I’m not unhappy with my decision. Not in the least. I gotta say though, being here does bring back memories and makes me miss Tyler more – but I like it here and my friends are wonderful. They took me out to dinner last night, then we came home and watched Blue Planet from BBC. Not only is it incredibly interesting, but it’s a great series to watch while inebriated. It’ll soothe you right to sleep.
Today we went grocery shopping, cooked, and then I took a cuddle-puddle nap with the dogs. (Here’s a fabulous view of Leo’s butt.)
The feelings I’m experiencing right now kind of remind me of my first night in my dorm at Jefferson. But I was so busy the following weeks, I had no time to think about anything else. And before I knew it, my dorm was more my home than anywhere else. I often forget how adaptable I am. Sure, at first I feel every emotion like a ton of bricks to the face, but I’d say I have a pretty malleable soul.
My advice for anyone moving into a strange place (or not-so-strange in my case) would be to:
- Have a friend help you move, and maybe stay with you the first weekend. It’ll give you a sense of comfort to have someone familiar around and supporting you. (This wasn’t really an option for me – these dogs are my only friends.)
- Keep goodbyes brief and light. Dragging things out can make them feel heavier than they really are. A friendly “bye, I’ll be back soon!” makes everyone feel better. Hugs are a must, though.
- Bring things that make you feel comfy. I definitely didn’t do this, but I really didn’t have a lot of options since I was moving all my shit myself. Even if it feels stupid, seeing that box of polaroids or poo-emoji pillow might make you feel a lot more at-home when you walk into your new room.
- Don’t be too afraid of over-packing. While I’m 100% for living minimalistically, I always do this thing where I under-pack and end up going back for things. Thinking “oh I’ll be fine without this” or “I can come back for this.” You’re better off having everything you need right off the bat.
- If you’re the anxious type (particularly at night), anti-anxiety tea does wonders. My personal favorite is Yogi’s honey-lavender Stress Relief tea. Not a big fan of the rest of their teas, but this one is a must-try if you suffer from anxiety. I’ve heard Celeste has good sleepy-time tea too.
- Give yourself a routine! Keeping busy is number 1. If you did yoga back home, find a place to do yoga near your new place. Find a gym, find an art store, find a coffee shop to do work in – building a routine will make things feel more like home very quickly.
I miss my brother and Mommom and my space heater (the room here is FREEZING.) But I can always go back. Adulthood is strange – you end up having homes everywhere. And it can split you up a bit – make you feel a little splintered and lost. But that’s all a part of growing, I guess.
Take care of yourselves – and feel free to share your moving experiences in the comments!