Home Sweet Home

I haven’t been back home in about a year.

I haven’t seen my parents in six months.

And its kind of messing with my head.

This place is very confusing to me. I don’t understand the appeal personally, and that is why I’m going to write my senior Capstone about it starting in the fall. How I understand it is that people live and thrive in this land because of the tough and harsh qualities. The difficulty of forming a living out of the dry ground acts as sandpaper, smoothing out the edges of the heart and leaving behind a cultivated spirit.

However, when you just trying to simply survive, the sandpaper is just too rough.

Trying to really live in a place where you feel inherently uncomfortable is not easy. It is interesting, but probably not surprising, that quality of life improved drastically once I moved out of the dorms. I no longer have to walk down three flights of stairs to the “kitchen,” my arms full of ingredients, attempting to feed myself at midnight. I no longer have to share a space with another person, when all I want is to be alone and rest. I no longer have dishes and food stacked and piled on the floor since there is no storage space for them. I have not had any panic attacks since I moved out, for which I am thankful.

However, this weekend, I got a little upset. Renee, my May roommate, moved out to go home and I had the apartment to myself before Monday, when a stranger will move in. On Friday, I passed out at work due to an accident with some new medicine, and had an extremely bad headache the next day. I was resting before work on Saturday, when I get a knock on my door. When I open the door, wrapped in a blanket and looking very pathetic I imagine, I see three huge men telling me they need to clean out the empty room.

I did not know about this. (Apparently housing sent an email at 10:30 the night before, but obviously I didn’t see it.) I asked them if they could come back later after I left, as I was sick and resting. They said they could not. So left the door open to let them in, locked myself in my room, and cried.

Why did I do that? When I was alone at my Vancouver house, I let maintenance men in just fine. But now, it’s different. Unsuspected knocks on my door remind me that the apartment isn’t my home at all, just a place where housing lets me stay. Since 2014, I have moved living spaces five times and only been back to Vancouver once. I have no real place to call my own. All I wanted that Saturday morning was a place that was my own, that wouldn’t be intruded upon by unknown people and strange new roommates.

Last summer I lived in Hunter hall, which could be classified as its own separate circle of hell. My plants died there, I had panic attacks frequently, and I lost 15-20 pounds without trying. (I gained about 10 back as of last week.) When I went to the dean, he seemed sympathetic to my issues, but did not really understand. He compared my living situation to his time in RD apartments (definitely not comparable) and said that dorms aren’t meant to be a home.

Then where is my home supposed to be?

Luckily my boyfriend lets me hang out at his apartment a lot, and I do have some influence on the look and arrangement of the decor. But I don’t spend my nights there, or have my clothes, books, records, groceries, etc there, so its a little different.

I’m trying to forge a living out of a landscape characterized by refinement, when what I need is security. Most of my thoughts rest on my plan to move back north after school. (One more year!) Not to Vancouver, as there isn’t anything there for me to make a livelihood or continue my education, but somewhere. Somewhere where the weather doesn’t try to kill you or where infrastructure isn’t a deathtrap.

Maybe there I’ll find what I’m looking for. Security, comfort, something that feels like living.

One more year.

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