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1.16.2012

this new need. a home.

last night i stood with my fingers poised on the doorknob listening for the footsteps to recede into the room furthest from my own.

i hadn't even realized he was home.

the roommate.

just as i'd been about to open my door, i heard the shuffle of his feet and so paused, hand in the air, breath in throat, waiting

we've entered into a dance, both of us, without ever speaking of it or agreeing to it, with no words at all, we've found a way of living in which we shuffle step, one around the other. never occupying the same space, interpreting the music of closing doors, running water, the sweet hum of the kettle.

i'm not proud of this, this way of living. this absence of hello's or how are you's. this passing as strangers on the street. and we are, we're strangers, tied together only by the loose bond of mutual acquaintances and similar schooling. he had seemed the best choice to fill the third and largest room.

and he was. he is. he's fine.

it's not really about him, you know?

this three-room apartment, this once castle-in-the-sky, this once playground-of-open-space, endless flooring, and hudson views, it's--well, it's not enough now.

priorities have changed. values have shifted.

i want my own space. i'll take a closet, if i have to, but i want it to be mine and mine alone. i want to build a home. i want to recognize all the smells, know the hair on the bathroom floor. i want to be sure of who to blame for the over-stuffed and over-ripe garbage (yes, me). i want to be sure the nicks and scratches littering my favorite bowls were the product of my careless fingers--and until the possibility that they were caused by the man i love, by our growing children, well, until that possibility is more than just  hope or passing thought, let me live alone.

i want to know that the next time i share a space with someone the impetus will be love.

this new need is so immediate, so strong. startling, really, in just how physical it is.

i was talking about it at work when another girl said, oh, you're moving, do you need a roommate? in her defense, she had caught the tail-end of the discussion.


no, i replied, taking a deep breath and smiling slowly. i want to live alone. 


alone, why would you want that? 


i gave her a little laugh, oh you know...


the oh, you know was my kind way of saying if you even have to ask, it's not worth explaining. 

perhaps it's age, perhaps it is shifting wants and needs from this thing called life, perhaps it's just part of my makeup. perhaps it's part of my fierce need for independence, product of my believe that space is charged and sacred.

who knows for sure.

all i know for now is, let me live alone. let there be a new adventure, a new experience. for the first time in all my years of new york city living, let me lay claim to a space, let me build a home.

43 comments:

Ana Magdalena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

I feel the same exact way. This describes it perfectly. I love your writing!

Sam | ashore said...

Meg,

I live in a little studio - first with my boyfriend and now with my sister - but the space has always felt like mine. Shared between a person who might as well be me.

I was talking to someone recently and said "I don't think I could ever got back to having a regular roommate". It sounded silly being so young. But I've started to build a life for myself - with my own dishes and my own mugs. A home, a self sufficient home.

I never want to have to rely on someone else for that. Or have it not feel like mine.

The Childlike Empress said...

oh my i know this feeling so well!
to save on money i rented out my living room to a friend....not a particularly great friend but someone i know and got on okay with.
and now that she lives with me i realised that i have nothing to say to her....NOTHING.
we can spend all day in the same apartment and now say a word to each other...i try to only move around when i know she will not so as to avoid the awkward silence.

she was just away on holiday for a week and i relaxed and felt at home in my home again....then last night i heard the keys turn in the door and i knew that it was over...

i'm so glad that i'm not alone in this weird situation that has developed.

Franziska said...

Well, I moved out of my parent's when I turned 25 and lived in a lovely little apartment with my bestest of all friends for an awesome year and then we realized we needed space and now I live there blissfully alone - and my best friend lives in the same building two floors below. My home's my haven and I'd rather never go on a vacation ever again before moving out or in with a roommate!

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

smiles,
Franziska

communikate. said...

Oh man.. the hair that belongs to someone else.. shudder.

My husband and I lived with a bunch of strangers in a bunkhouse at a rafting company last summer. After living "alone" for seven years it about drove me over the edge. The waiting to use the shower, the snot rockets in the shower (sick) and the mess. It was a low point. Low point I tell ya! :)

I hope you find the perfect place for you, Meg. You deserve it.

Alex said...

I have lived alone, for the first time, ever since I moved to Houston a little over a year ago. And let me tell you, it's WONDERFUL. It's liberating. It's "grown up." To have a space that is all your own feels so free.

Anna said...

I could have written this. (Though probably not as eloquently!) I live with 2 roommates in the UWS and savor those weekends when they go out of town. Need a studio, now.

becky said...

This resonates so much with me that it is scary. I know exactly what you mean. I haven't moved away from home, yet, but I need to. (The first commenter, here, who said: "This is exactly how I feel about living with my parents at 22" provides my narrative. Doubley so because I am 22 today!) I feel it every day. This want of space to stretch and move. This longing to recognise architectural veins as my own. I sometimes don't think I will ever be brave enough to do it, to live alone, to become at peace with myself and my company enough to go it completely alone. But I hope I will. And I hope I will this year.

There are so many beautiful lines I take from this. So much spirit.

I hope you find it, soon. That place to call your own. That place to build your life externally.

Brissa said...

i've had roommates for the past five years. there is nothing i love more than being the first one moved in or the last one out because that's the only time i'm truly alone in the apartment. there is nothing like having your own space.

Alice said...

Totally get it... Living alone is just so amazing. Starting at 19, I had studios and always lived solo and I loved it. When my now husband and I moved in together, I actually cried about it. And not in a happy way. I was so sad to give up my sweet little home that was all mine. I've gotten over it but every once and awhile I'll stumble up a particularly cute cottage or studio on pinterest or in a magazine and I literally get a twinge in my heart. Ahhh... to live alone again!

Maria said...

I've never thought of living alone, but you make it sound so perfect and simple. I feel as if once I graduate from undgrad and go on to bigger and better things I'll love living alone.

Miss Flying V said...

I know how you feel! I've lived with roommates before, and now I've moved in with my boyfriend but we still share the rent with another guy who lives in the third room of our apartment. He's a great person, but of course we're also longing for the day when we can afford to live alone and enjoy our own space. But, we know that day will come and enjoy life as it is now, there's a time for everything.
I wish you luck with the moving, and finding your own "space"! xx

theoxfordcomma said...

This 'dance' happened to my roommates and I last year - they decided to end it by trying to break down my door screaming obscenities at me because I didn't want to spend all my time at home with them. I moved out pretty quickly.
Good luck finding that little place of your own, it'll be so special!

Shaylynn;) said...

Every single morning my roommate across the hall listens to The Twilight Series on tape.

I kid you not, I nearly disolved into tears.. thinking about how badly I wanted to live alone. i was thinking an island in the middle of nowhere at that point.

m(elanie) said...

Some people just need more independence and solitude and "mineness" than others. Me? I'm one of those that cling to it.

There are many advantages to having roommates. But having a space that is all your own... nothing like it. I love sitting on my couch in my living room and looking around at all the pretty things I've collected. And knowing that they are exactly where I want them to be (not necessarily "up", but, you know...where I put them..).

Good luck with your home building little lady.

Malin said...

I totally understand how you feel..

I 'only' have one room-mate, and before I had five, so I should be happy. However, to only have one is hard, because there's only the two of you to carry a conversation, and you know who made a mess in the kitchen, and who never cleans up after herself. The weekends the roomie is at her boyfriend's place are my favourites.

I can't wait to one day have my own place, where I decide where the mugs go, and where all the mess is mine... It's okay if it's small, I don't mind!

Hope you find somewhere nice, that won't kill your budget!

Eliza said...

Hi! I just found your blog and am newly following. I love the way you write, it's truly beautiful and wonderfully expressive. It's very inspiring. I lived alone before meeting my husband and it was the best decision I've made. So many people did not understand, but if it's what you decide, I vote you go for it - it's glorious and precious time by yourself. :) xoxo, eliza

Maria said...

This line says it all:)

"the oh, you know was my kind way of saying if you even have to ask, it's not worth explaining."

Talia Christine said...

I lived alone before I met and married my husband. It was beautiful. Just me and the cat. It was an important part of my life.

It also makes me appreciate sharing and living and loving the space we live in now. We live in.

I still kind of marvel at that.


Talia Christine
http://taliachristine.blogspot.com

Erin {pughs' news} said...

I've never lived on my own. I moved out of my parents' place and into an apartment with my fiance. Now he's my husband and we live in a noisy house with our two busy boys. I totally get the desire to have a space that is just yours... even though I'm past that now. I hope you find the right home for yourself soon, Meg!

Anonymous said...

I've been there, with a male roommate also, a friend who dissolved into a roommate and then into a ghost in the house. I would rush home from work so that I could eat dinner in piece, on my bedroom floor. You WILL have that space sometime soon, and you will love it.

Emily said...

I so hear you after living in an apartment with three other people. So when I moved to DC, I decided to get my own place and it has been so great to finally get things for my own space and know that they won't be ruined by someone else. However, I don't think I have ever known such lonely times and have had to make an extra effort in my social life to make sure I don't get too down. I definitely recommend the experience but I have realized that there are certain tradeoffs.

Meghan said...

Best of luck Meg! I couldn't imagine dealing with anymore roommates-been there, done that all through college. And I'm sure we could all share some horror stories, or at least some really disgusting stories. I now live my boyfriend and I am so glad of that. I forgot what it felt like to have a roommate, instead of someone that you really want sharing a space with you. Thanks for the perspective- I'm going to give him a big hug when he gets home!

katilda said...

ah, you speak my thoughts! i've always been a big fan of sharing space until one day a couple months ago....i just woke up fighting mad about having to share my space and my stuff. Nesting? not sure what you call it. time to mooove!

MandyJean said...

I understand this so completely! I have a space in the basement that holds all sorts of things in their original boxes(expensive dish sets, kitchen equipment, my sewing machine...) that I don't want out around people I live with. I don't ever want them out for that reason- if there's a scratch on a dish, I want to know exactly where it came from.

Sometimes, no matter how great the people you live with are, you just need your own space.

debbiecutieface.com said...

I lived alone in New York City last summer. It could be either incredibly lonely or incredibly gratifying to have a space all to myself. Having a roommate can be so hard, but so is living alone. I think everyone should live alone at least once in their lifetime.

Jennifer M. said...

I completely get where you're coming from. I have never really been financially stable enough to live alone (darn economy!!) but that is definitely my preference for sure.

Your Mr. Roommate sounds like a very awkward roommate I had about 10 years ago. She and I totally did that tiptoe dance where we never really saw each other, but things were always moved or in different spots than where I/she had left them, so we knew each other was there. Totally awkward. Totally ulcer-inducing. I wouldn't recommend living that way. It's hard enough living with someone you enjoy!

So yeah... as soon as I can afford to... I definitely plan on NOT having another roommate until I get married. I, too, long to have my own space, build my own home, etc. I think it must be a girl thing (or perhaps an introvert thing?).

Ariel said...

I so know what you mean! It's so important to have a space that feels like it's YOURS. Being "home" and not feeling at home is the absolute worst.

Maureen said...

I feel ya girlfriend. I lived alone for two years and it was so wonderful. When I got married, we also moved across the country to a new place that was ours together. Not me moving into his or him moving into mine. I don't know how I would have felt about him coming in to my beautiful wonderful home that was all mine. It was such a special time in my life to look back on. I hope you find something. I am a firm believer that everyone should live alone for some part of their adult life. You will learn so much.

sophie said...

i am going through the exact same thing! my lease is up at the end of August and i can't wait to take the plunge and live on my own. i know it will be much more expensive, but its a price i'm willing to pay.

Leighana said...

this is written so perfectly. you really know how to express yourself clearly.

yes, being alone is wonderful. space is sacred.

Lisa @ Tales of a Young Housewife said...

I just have to say--you have such a way with words! It's beautiful, really. Just found your blog & am lovn' your posts!

Lottie said...

I know how you feel.

I am not a horrible or unsociable person, I just know myself and i can't really live with people, epsecially strangers.

I can cope with my family in the family home and it is familiar and the old habits and patterns come flooding back.

But otherwise my little rules, habits, way things are done have to be mine and I find it hard to accomodate anothers.

But then I found him and I can't live without him now even though sometimes his habits drive me to distraction they would be the things I missed the most.

Soon Meg you will be in the same palce with all the chips, stains and marks made by your little family and all the memories that got you there.

Love your writing again Meg, it's beautiful.

{Sorry for my rambling post}

Little Tree Vintage said...

it's funny when you tell people you want to live alone, no one gets it...i too would love to have my own place and people look at me like i'm crazy...nothing wrong with some solitude every now and then!

Amanda Blair said...

This is exactly how I feel. It just feels like time at almost 27, to finally live in my own space. It's for so many reasons but I think the most pressing one for me is like you said, I want to build a home. I'm so tired of the informal ways of living that come with the early 20's. I want roots, a couch that I bought and dishes that I picked out for more than just being cheap. I too feel like it's essential to my survival.

Anonymous said...

I feel this way almost every day.

Public Admittance: Today, I wrecked everything in the bathroom closet. I pushed almost every cold/flu pill container, cotton swab, or flosser onto the floor. (That closet has been progressively getting more disorganized because my roommate refuses to acknowledge it). I just wanted to see if anyone would do anything about it.

I know I'm going to clean it up tonight. Sigh.

Krysta said...

I absolutely loved living alone (especially in NYC where the moment you step outside you never really feel alone). I am one of those people who thinks that everyone should live alone at least once in their lifetime.

Mai Pai said...

I love living alone. Do it if you can.

amy said...

oooh meg, trust me. living alone is one of the biggest, bravest and most special life changes you can make. I didn't think that could be true--its not one of the big milestones folks talk about, you know? but when i packed up my little car and moved across the country to denver by myself, i didn't have a choice but to live alone, really. and it has helped me gain independence, freedom and bravery in a way i never imagined.

best of luck in your journey.

lene b said...

thank you for putting words to my feelings. the chipped bowls. exactly one of the many reasons why i want to live alone. and i think you're right. it's the age. i hit 25 too last year, and that's when it came.

ryannkelly said...

thank you for putting to words what i can not! i feel the exact same way.

michal said...

For nine long months, my belongings lived in boxes while the essentials and I bounced from temporary living space to dreary temporary living space. And, with those belongings, my sanity was lost to me. As a twenty one year old, I felt like looking for single-tenant apartments was anti-social of me, like I was depriving myself of some great experience only to be had in this short frame of time. But one day I stumbled upon a tiny little apartment whose rent was twice what I was already paying, and I fell hopelessly in love. I didn't have a couch, or a kitchen table, or even a vacuum for god's sake, but having my own place seemed too important to let that preturb me. The first day I lugged my things-my wonderful things-up the stairs and into this empty space, untainted by traces of other life inhabiting it, I felt like I could really breathe for the first time in my short adult life. Couches and tables and vacuums will come, but having a place for my spice rack where no one will move it or complain? That's a feeling that just can't be beat.

This inappropriately long comment is all to say that living alone, at any adult age, is so conducive to self discovery and self love. So liberating. So... Well, just do it. You'll never be happier.