“How terrible to live surrounded by the stark, sharp, hollowness of things that simply were enough.” – Patrick Rothfuss
Two and a half years ago I moved into this apartment. I did not choose it.
This apartment is part of a housing subsidy for the mentally ill. I qualified because my depression had been so nonfunctional that it caused me to be homeless.
I was grateful to get it.
However, my sisters, in an utterly misguided attempt to help a homeless woman with a mental illness, had put most of my belongings into a storage locker for me so I wouldn’t lose them while I was homeless.
They effectively turned my belongings into a physical reminder that my stuff had more value to my sisters than I did. And so as much as I longed to just never see my stuff again, I had to let my sisters get it out of storage because they were paying a monthly fee for it.
They moved my things into my new shelter. An apartment I didn’t choose. They unpacked a few boxes that day before they left.
I didn’t unpack anything else for 2 months after they left and then I flunked my first inspection because I didn’t unpack. So I unpacked. MOSTLY.
I left 3 boxes – one with all of my pictures, one with a bunch of kitchen stuff and one with I don’t know what. I have never opened it. And clearly I don’t miss it.
Before this time, I was very particular about the space where I lived. I always decorated and surrounded myself with things that I loved. Things that mattered to me.
But those things that I used to surround myself with belong to a different me. Those things, in boxes now, represent a lot of emotional turmoil for me. They didn’t belong to me anymore. They belong to my sisters, who paid for their continued existence. Just like this place where I live doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to the depression.
I have enough. I have shelter and furniture and safety. I eat food. I have enough.
I used to have things that were a delight to me. I used to have a home.
I want a home. I want to be able to take delight in the world that surrounds me. I’m thinking about how to make that happen.
I do not picture myself throwing out everything in the apartment in a great purge. Although it sounds rather delightful.
I think I need to throw some things out and make friends again with others. I think I need to allow myself to decorate this apartment. To let it be a home.