Note: self-pity sesh below that doesn’t actually deal directly with alcohol, but may very well be a contributing factor to my toxic relationship with booze.
I think something I really struggle with is the feeling of being untethered.
When I was 16, I left my regular public high school and attended an arts high school, where I lived in the dorms during the week, and went back home over the weekends. For two whole school years, I mainly lived out of a duffel bag. Every Sunday when my mom or dad dropped me off at the dorms, I’d unpack as much as I could, settle into my room, and greet my friends in the common areas. 5 days later, I’d pack what I needed back into the same duffel bag and waited until my either one of my parents came to pick me up for the 2-day stay at home. They were divorced by that time, and I had just started seeing my dad again after a 1-year absence, so those weekends were further split between the two houses. Rather, they were split between my childhood home and my dad’s barren 2-bedroom apartment.
From the day I graduated from that high school (nearly 10 years ago) to today, I have lived in… hold on, it always takes me a minute to count it…20 different places. Literally 20 places. Well, okay, it’s more like I’ve moved all of my belongings from one place to another 20 different times. I’ve lived in 15 different places (having lived at my dad’s place 5 separate times over the past 10 years).
In 10 years.
That number feels fucking insane to me because it is. Writing it out feels crazy. Averaged out, that’s a new place every 6 months. And it damn near feels like it. My time in many of those places was also split between my own space, and the space of a significant other (if I wasn’t already living with them).
And even though I’ve spent more time in some places than others (2 whole years with my ex-husband in an apartment in Denver) I have literally no concept of a permanent, stable housing situation. I’m always moving. Always going somewhere new.
In the next few years, my dad and step mom will be moving to Central America. The home my closest grandparents lived in is going to be sold or rented out within a matter of months. My mom and step dad have long since moved out of my childhood home, and will be moving to their cabin soon for retirement, too.
It hasn’t stopped in ten years and I’m growing exhausted. Growing up, there was nothing better than my own bedroom in my own home. It was always there. However, my entire adult life has been spent searching for that new sacred, safe space. I want to find it, but I never really have. It feels like moving is the only thing I know how to do.
Which is why it’s not a big surprise to me that right now, about 7 months into my time living at my dad’s place (this is the 5th time I’ve lived here, I’ll remind you) I am itching to get out and move somewhere else. It makes me feel crazy because I know it’s not what I need right now. I just want it, for no other reason than to go out and have my own place again (that I’d probably forfeit in a matter of 6 months anyway). Forget the fact that I live rent-free and am often fed on their dime as I put myself through school. In those moments of sudden urges to flee, none of that seems to matter.
Seriously. I don’t really think I know or remember what it feels like to have a stable, long-term place to call home. The closest I had was that Denver apartment with the ex, and even that place stopped feeling like a home several months before we finally moved out.
Sometimes, when I’m walking around the city during lunch, a thought flashes across my mind – it says, “leave. just go somewhere else. try again.”
It surprises me, but it’s not an unusual thought for me to have. I’ve been fighting with myself every single day to stay convinced that it’s okay to stay where I am for now. It’s okay. It’s what’s best, it’s for a reason. There’s literally no harm in my living with my dad right now, except for the fact that it’s a bit awkward to have boyfriends stay over. Even then, my dad hardly seems to be bothered.
But still, that thought streaks across my brain and makes me feel so uneasy. It happens every time I move somewhere new. And it’s getting harder and harder not to listen to it.
There’s really no other point to this than just needing to write it out. It’s painful because my lack of stability is one of the biggest things that led me to re-home my cats, and it’s the one thing that is making me feel incapable of keeping even a little hamster as a pet.
I just… really want a space to call my own. I need one. But as my life remains in a weird transitional stage, where I can’t really call my dad’s place my own and I can’t quite justify moving out yet, I don’t know how to do that. I guess I’ll have to try to find something that doesn’t hinge upon a specific place.
I just wish I knew where to start. I guess being sober is a good first step.