Adaptability is a good trait to have, but I worry I’ve been too adaptable, as in not allowing myself to feel at home (even in my own home).
I left Chicago to attend college in the Midwest, far enough away from everything I’ve ever known. Technically, Chicago is in the Midwest, but it’s pretty much the opposite of small town and rural living. My desire to spread my wings and figure out who I really am, was invigorating.
The energy I felt being able to roam wherever I pleased, surrounded by trees and open space, while still having enough people around to not completely lose myself was exactly what I needed.
Granted, bad habits are hard to break (especially when they work) so I struggled to not fill up all my time with activities and stressors. I felt safe on campus, but not safe enough to readily open up to complete and total strangers – even though we were the same age.
This is why it hurt so much when I opened up to someone, even sharing a home, only to be betrayed in the end. I know people who have had far worse roommate experiences than I did, and I guess I took the amazing experiences I’ve had for granted. Still, the hurt persisted for quite some time, as I chose to face my feelings rather than dismiss them.
My final home for my final year of college was tainted. Looking back, I did exceptionally well adapting to such a toxic environment, even managed to push through my anxiety and take ownership of my right to the apartment I was paying for!
Dealing with the effects of multiple traumas (getting hit by a car, becoming ill multiple times, living with someone who didn’t value my life, etc.) took a lot of time, though there is no time limit for grief nor trauma.
I had to learn to take charge of my own space, because I shrunk myself for the sake of harmony. I was genuinely shooketh that shrinking myself to allow someone else to feel secure didn’t work. Though I admit that was the first (and LAST) time I lived with someone like that.
I considered living with other people, but I realized that I need to be alone. To truly grow, I needed a space to call my own. The apartment hunt was…an experience. I finally found my sanctuary and after a few months it’s really coming together.
Even so, I wasn’t allowing myself to feel secure in this home I’ve made for myself. Seeing Chicago again helped me shift perspective. I came here for a reason and that reason hasn’t changed. I simply needed time and patience to learn to manage these new adult/post-grad life stressors.
I have finally found peace by admitting that I WAS NOT OKAY. By admitting that I was not taking care of my physical health by neglecting my environment and its role in nourishing me.
I know that I have homes with my loved ones, but also where I am right now.
I highly recommend watching Carole and Tuesday on Netflix. Obviously, I make no money with this recommendation. It’s just that this story of two young girls who create their own home with one another as they pursue their dream of being singers is truly inspiring.