04 November 2013

Finding home in happiness

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.

15 comments

  1. What a lovely post. So well written. I'm glad you've found home and happiness :)

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  2. You have great taste in furniture! I'm glad you don't feel kept and lonely any more.

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  3. Aw thanks! I have to give half the credit to Rich though, he has a good eye in a charity shop :)

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  4. You're a wonderful writer. - Leah, leahwise.com

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  5. Aw Kallie, I knew life in Astoria was tough and I'm SO happy to see you SO happy! Your place looks like it is coming together. I actually really like the bike on the credenza!! I want to hang my road bike up in my apartment somewhere but I need some way to easily mount it. Hopefully I'll be down your way before too long and I'll get to see you guys!

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  6. Thank you!! Please come visit soon, that would be amazing! Its so much better where I am now :)
    Rich just bought something last night to hang bikes in the office (but I agree it looks really cool there!) here's the link http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Leonardo-Single-Bicycle-Colors/dp/B000FGTTEW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383661893&sr=8-1&keywords=bike+wall+mount

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  7. I love all your furniture and I'm so glad that you found a place that you love + feel happy in!! xoxo

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  8. I lived in a two room studio, far away from my boyfriend, and friends all of last year. I recently moved into a two BR in a hip neighborhood, a 15 minute walk from my boo, near restaurants and lovely little dive bars, right on a park. My year of solitude went from strength and power to loneliness and sadness fairly quickly - I know exactly how you felt and am glad that we both found homes that we love and cherish.

    I'm glad you shared this post - I was starting to feel like no one else understood what it's like to be a commuter friend/girlfriend/person.

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  9. Good luck for your new living space! The furniture looks so retro, love them all.
    Can't wait to see the whole when you complete.

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  10. Exactly! I had wanted to "be on my own" forever and it really backfired.


    I'm glad you're much happier now too!! Being close to friends/boyfriends is so important.

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  11. I love your new place and you seem so much happier :)


    Maria xxx

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  12. summerbourne.blogspot.comNovember 5, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    This was the sweetest read. I moved to New York from Massapequa when I was 8, and I cannot wait to get out of this city! NYC might be the loneliest place in the world. Congratulations on your adorable new place and your newfound happiness! -Daniella :)

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  13. *to New York City from Massapequa, I should say.

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  14. I'm glad that you found the happiness you were looking for! I can imagine that it would be really lonely to live alone and hard to be away from your significant other. I don't think I would've even lasted as long as you did! Your new place is lovely, by the way. It's nice to see how well your two styles meld together.

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  15. Emily_RubySlippersNovember 8, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    I couldn´t comment at the time because I´m living an internet-free existence, but I loved this post when it went up. We talked a lot about this in the summer, and its exciting to see that we´ve both followed through and are so much happier (now if I could just get my blog in order)...
    You seem radiant in recent posts; it definitely seems to have been the right decision for you. Looking forward to a cheerful Happy Honey and Lark year!

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