Whatever you are going through, even if it’s threatening to rip out the foundation you stand on, life continues to move.
People keep working and talking and eating and sleeping. The only thing that matters in a bubble is you, and what you think of your own situation. Other people can be road maps or beacons along the way, they can point you in the right (or wrong) direction, but when it comes down to it, we have ourselves and maybe something outside of ourselves, too, call it nature or god or the universe. Or maybe you don’t believe in that, you think we were formed for no reason and are hurtling towards nothing. I’ve felt that at times. But when shit gets rough, I need to believe in something.
As creative people, we need space. We need time to breathe, think and be alone. Yesterday was rough. I’m still trying to figure out where/how to live on my own once our lease is up in this apartment in July. I am totally going to miss having space. In this situation, I will find perhaps that I am in the opposite situation—crammed into a space with other roommates I don’t know, trying to navigate being around more than one person every day and night for the first time in ten years.
There’s a part of me that just wants to pack up all of my stuff and hit the road. There’s a wanderlust I’ve had since I was little, the feeling of already having lost it all or let it go—every time I left home, my parents would throw away all of my things. When I hit the road, I had only what was on my back. I often lost that when getting shipped back, too. I learned to lose things.
In the last ten years, I’ve become anchored to my stuff. When I lived in my grandparents house, I realized that all the stuff they’d collected during their 80+ years of life now meant nothing to anyone. It was just taking up space in the house we were trying to live in. As I packed it all up, I came to the conclusion that too much stuff is a burden. I got rid of a lot of my stuff after I moved, mostly because it had been rotted with mold, but also because I was just tired of shlepping stuff around everywhere.
The biggest anxiety I’m having right now is where I’m going to keep my musical instruments and computer. In order to save enough money to find a place of my own, I’m going to have to sublet, sleep on couches and pack light. It’s probably going to suck. I’m not going to have space like I want it, for a while. I said I would talk about autonomy, and whether or not it’s something we can all have at once in this society. Maybe this ties into that.
I had a thought the other day, about how so many people come into the library starved of resources. No place to live or sleep, no food to eat, no family resources or friends. They are horrified often when they find they can only use the computers for an hour. And I wondered the other day if it would be possible–as I was driving through West Oakland, taking in the graffiti and disheveled people leaning against houses and buildings, aimlessly wandering–for all of us to have a space of our own, health care, a job in society that made us feel we were included.
Is it possible for us all to have a space? Or in order for society to function, do we need to continue splitting things between the rich and throwing scraps to the poor here and there while the middle class shrivels up altogether, barely getting by until they just can’t anymore.
I tell you what. I don’t see a huge difference between me and the people wandering on the streets. The biggest difference I find it that I am holding on to this part-time library job and the freelance assignments I cobble together. But soon, I will be drifting, too.
When I was 21, I had a real job in San Francisco. I had lived in the tenderloin in a piss in the sink hotel where you paid by the week. I had lost my $800 a month space in the sober living house (crammed in a room with five other girls) out near San Francisco State due to having some beers at a party. I found a room in between Hayes and Fell, a big spacious room with a hardwood floor, for $800 a month. Since I earned about $1800, I didn’t think that was a big deal. I had no car, I had no expenses, really—I lived on crackers and TV dinners and sardines in a can. I had no insurance, no instruments that worked. I had a tiny little computer and some furniture I’d had since I was a child stored away in my parents rented house out in the ‘burbs.
I was excited to have my own room. I shared a bathroom at the end of a long hall with three other people. I filled my room with movies and bought my first TV with a VCR.
The excitement of having my own room wore off rather quick…
I was lonely.
My ex popped back into my life. I remembered how much I loved him, how he was my best friend. He found me a place, and the landlady said she would only rent it to use if we moved in together. So we did. We married a year later and lived together until now…
He put down a deposit on his own place yesterday. I hiked to the top of a giant hill and smoked a cigarette. It tasted like shit. I called a friend who used to sponsor me in AA about 9 years ago and told her I was sitting on top of a hill smoking a cigarette for the first time in two years. You aren’t smoking if you don’t smoke another one after this and you leave that pack where it is, she said. Don’t you sing, she said? And aren’t cigarettes a million bucks now? Imagine how much you can buy instead if you don’t continue smoking. Remember how hard it was to quit? You could buy a pair of boots with all the money you’d save from not smoking.
She made me laugh. I left the pack on the bench and dragged my dog the rest of the way through the hike. The view of San Francisco and the entire Bay Area was to die for. It felt good to hike.
I don’t know how things will work out. It’s hard to just get through each day as it comes. I feel like all my happy endorphins have been wiped away. I just want a room of my own where I can write like a motherfucker and get it all out.
I pray I get it.