Two years ago when I moved from my mom's house to a teeny tiny bright white single-room apartment I had my own blank canvas to fill for the first time. To create cozy little spaces and tack my personality up on the walls and in every corner. I took inspiration from Swedish watercolor paintings, English rose gardens and girly-princess things in pinks, greens and pale yellow. There were little gnomes and bunnies peering out from behind carefully tended house plants, delicate mirrors and jewelry boxes overflowing with baubles. Every night I ate dinner on green or pink glass plates and drank my wine from dimpled pale blue cups made in the 1930's.
Signing that lease was so exciting, the anticipation of a new project, a beautiful idea. In this happy impulsive independence I didn't realize what I was getting myself into.
It was extremely lonely. When I put on my lipstick in the beautiful mirror with etched flowers I was alone. When I curled up in my canopied bed, meant to look like lying under dark trees in a forest, I was alone. Sitting on my couch tapping away at my keyboard and willing myself to be happy, I was alone. Every night to sit in one small room after work, eating dinner alone, walking to the gym to run alone, laughing at my favorite TV shows alone. None of my friends lived in the neighborhood and it was always an hour away to meet for drinks, always getting stuck late at work and cancelling, always exhausted and never really feeling right.
The apartment was barely big enough for two on the weekends when Rich would come and leave his socks in the foyer and throw his bag on the floor. Complaining that I didn't have hot water in the miniature kitchen sink and that my bathroom was too small for both of us to stand in front of the mirror. This was when I was the happiest. We would take the train for an hour to have dinner in Brooklyn with friends, we would walk up and down each block and look at the beautiful houses and gardens then stop for a beer or a cup of coffee. He mounted all of my beautiful things to the walls for me, hung like a little monkey from the ceiling to get the canopy up, got frustrated at my Ikea furniture while we put it together and helped me make the tiny studio into a sweet little nest for one, and sometimes two.
In the spring after it had been a whole year I was sad all the time from when I woke up in the morning until I went to sleep at night. Weekends weren't fun anymore, but a source of stress and anxiety. My apartment was exactly what I had envisioned, but the person living in there was a stranger. Who was this odd little ghost who never picked up the phone to call anyone, who never wanted to go anywhere or do anything? By then I couldn't even pretend to be happy enough to get dressed let alone write a blog post. Here and there I would find a little inspiration and try to share it with some semblance of false cheerfulness, but it just wasn't right.
After a miserable spring and summer living in that beautiful dungeon, fall rolled in and Rich and I found a place to call home together and its made all the difference. I'm so happy to make this place a home with the person I love, to live somewhere that is as much his as it is mine. Even an emergency wisdom tooth extraction couldn't take away the feeling of calm and happiness that's been wrapped around me like a hug. I'm eating regular meals again and riding my bike and taking an interest in all the things I love. I'm calling my friends to make plans and smiling while I wash the dishes. Its such a wonderful feeling to have someone to love and care for at home, and someone that loves and cares for me in return.
I don't care if he wants to keep his road bike on top of the credenza forever, I'd take that happy compromise over a beautiful but lonely existence any day.
Our first night at home.
Making the apartment a home with 60's furniture and fast bikes.
A few spaces in the apartment acquired nicknames like "the pit of despair" which started as a garbage closet and turned into a garden and "the batcave" where we keep our ever growing collection of beer and bikes. Don't mess with our lettuce!
Best of all, I get a kiss from my boyfriend and a glimpse of the ocean every morning.