When he left, I thanked him, shut the door, sat in the middle of my new living room floor, and promptly bawled my eyes out.
I wiped snot from my nose and felt ridiculous and childish--but also relieved. Because of the quick turnaround time of my move and because it's damn near impossible to find apartments that allow dogs the size of small horses, I took a four-month furnished sublet that turned into a seven-month furnished sublet, arriving with one Jeep-load of belongings. In the recent months, I have been ashamed by how much living in a sublet with other people's things was wearing on me. Every time I mentioned it to anyone, they'd shrug and say something like, "Yeah, but you have everything you need, right? What's missing?"
Which sounded rational, sure. After all, I've had a *furnished* apartment--a really nice one, actually. I've had a place to stretch after my runs, and a hot shower to use after yoga class. I've had a place for Henley to look out the window, and even an alley contained enough to throw a ball in. I've had a place to read, a place to sleep, a place to write, a place to binge watch TV on my laptop. I've had internet, AC, kind neighbors to let me in when I locked myself out during my first week in town. What's missing?, indeed.
I learned over these last seven months just what I can do without. I can do without an oven--the sublet had a gas stove and I never did muster the courage to try to light it. I can do without a dishwasher--this one just didn't get my smoothie glasses clean. I can do without my mixer, my serving platters and my kombucha supplies--though I did nab my juicer the last time I was home. I can even do without any semblance of my own sense of organization in terms of closet set up--though the shoe rack in the front closet nearly got tossed into the street a few times.
But I need a frame wall filled with pictures of my people. I need the hodge podge of art and trinkets I've collected on my travels to remind me how big the world is. I need the odd rummage sale dishes that make me smile with their quirks and wonder about their history. I need to be surrounded by a vibrant storm of colors--my colors--that reflect back to me what I want to look out for in this world.
What was missing were the things that make me feel like I'm home. What was missing were the things that make me feel like Bobbi. And, perhaps most pressing, what was missing was the courage to acknowledge that I have been yearning to carry those things with me into this new world, even if I couldn't yet articulate why.
I need the framed letter my mom wrote me when I was 17, the one that proves on paper that no one knows or loves me more than my family. I need a damn shoe rack that actually fits all of my flipping shoes, and I need the most beautiful Bobbi-colored blanket that my dear friend Krista got me for Christmas one year in college--it is itchy in the most beautiful and familiar way. I need my fancy throw pillows because they make me feel like a princess, and I need the journals of mistakes past because they remind me that I am human.
My girl's got her choice of windows, to be sure.
Sometimes I think the only way I learn about myself in any progressive way is when I look back on a particularly cringe-worthy meltdown and ask myself, "What the $@*! was that about?"
Sure, that was the relief after weeks of dealing with the dozens of annoyances and tasks that come with moving addresses, starting and stopping utilities, and coordinating a move in the city.
But if I really ask myself what was at the core of those tears, that was about needing my roots even when I'm flying high on my wings. That was the result of pushing down my feelings and not acknowledging them as valid. That was about finally admitting that I have not, for one second of the last seven months, felt truly settled... until I was again, covered in snot on a empty living room floor. My empty living room floor.