We did it. Well, I did it. But for some reason having you guys to write to makes me feel like I have a team of supporters who are with me every step of the way. But I moved into my apartment! I have a little basement room in a building in Ridge-Wick. That’s not a real place, but i’m nestled right in the space between Ridgewood and Bushwick. If Ridgewood and Bushwick were hugging each other, I’d be the sweat between them.
My neighborhood is awesome. There’s a mixture of children screaming and laughing, running through the make-shift sprinkler that is definitely just the fire hydrant. Men arguing over a game of dominoes on the street, aroma of Marijuana and Puerto Rican food constantly permeating the hot July air. It’s Brooklyn. And I love it. I found MY deli, which if you’ve ever lived in New York you’ll know is important. The falafel wrap there is perfection. There’s a good coffee spot a block away from my train, great grocery stores, a REAL thrift store (none of that hipster vintage bullshit), and a playground with a long row of swings.
However, when I first got there, this appreciation for this space was not present. I was discouraged, lonely, and scared. I packed up all my bags at Elijah’s house and ordered us an uber to transport my stuff. Once we got there we opened the door to an empty, dark, basement room. There was no bed, only a lonely coat hook. The room was a physical representation of my mood the past week. I just put my stuff down and felt the tears rise.
I wanted to take a “before” photo, and not publish this until the “After” was taken and my space looked much better. But I remembered the point of this blog was NOT to make everything seem perfect, but to show that this stuff is difficult. So the “after” photo will come soon, trust me.
Elijah and I dropped off my stuff, and got on the train to go to target. I needed a mattress protector, sheets, and pillows. The target I arrived at also had a Trader Joe’s the floor below. It was basically my new favourite place. Once inside the home decor section, I realized how much Target suffers when it’s not given the typical department store real estate that its other red and white siblings are in other parts of the country. For a massive city, everything is smaller in New York. So my selection was sadly slim compared to the online version. Go figure. I realized how expensive it was to SLEEP! I paid $20 for two cheap pillows, when at other Target’s there were $4 options. I wouldn’t stop complaining about the pillows until I got home and slept on them. I spent almost $100 on that Target trip, and could feel the tears threatening to show themselves once again.
Once at my “home” we set everything up, showered, and went for food. The deli was our first choice, and it was the best one. We also bought some beer and decided to go up the roof to eat our dinner and discuss the day. And as we listened to my music, we fell silent and just watched the sky. We heard the cars go by, the ever-present sound of sirens, the conversations and heated dominoes debate. And I started to feel a little more at home.
Every night our tradition formed, deli, Guinness extra stout, rooftop. And I love this routine. My room is starting to feel like a safe haven again, and I have more ideas for it to become much better. I have a vision for the type of space I want to create, and I’m excited to get there. I want to buy plants, and lights, and have a space to create and relax. The bike and A/C unit that was blocking the sunlight has been moved, so my room is brighter now. My outlook is also brighter. I’m off to buy some cleaning supplies for my bathroom, and get some quarters for laundry. I will never complain about doing laundry in my house for free again.
I guess I also wanted to address how something might not feel like home at first. I desperately wanted to go back to Elijah’s. His roommates felt like my roommates. His home felt like mine. But I came to realize that it had become a safe place. My partner was there to come home to, or to see every day. I was hiding behind it and not forcing myself out. Even when I first got here, he was with me every night. I never had time alone. To sit in my space and put my energy there. Only once I began to sit there alone, going through my routine, facing the lonliness, did I begin to feel better.
If you’re about to move away from home for the first time, know this; you will be lonely. After the first initial excitement of a new place wears off, you will feel alone. But you need to push through. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to feel comfortable in your new space. And that meant me leaving and stepping into the weird intimate space between two Brooklyn areas. If I can, you can. Trust me. And a few sunsets will help soften the blow.