Letting Go

Saying goodbye to Tampa, to work, to my friends, these things will be hard. But saying goodbye to my stuff? Dear Reader, there is little else in the world I love as much as throwing shit away.

Hands down, the best part of moving is the opportunity one gets to purge. I don’t even think Husband and I acquire that much stuff in general, and yet there is always something that can just get the fuck out of my house. I have been donating stuff left and right–clothes, books, small kitchen appliances–and I keep finding more!

The last time we moved, from three bedrooms to two no less, I didn’t get this exact opportunity, so I am going hog wild (except kinda the opposite of a hog). I am sort of utilizing Marie Kondo’s KonMari method, but to be honest I haven’t read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve just read articles and watched some YouTubers try it. Sidenote: If you ever need to clean, but you don’t want to, watch a YouTuber organize something. Motivation will come swiftly. (Brittany is my favorite.)

My favorite part of what I understand of the KonMari method, and probably the most popular part, is the concept that the things you keep should “spark joy.” You hold everything in your hands and you assess the feelings that thing stirs in you. If you truly feel joy, you keep that thing. If not, bye bitch!

Too often we keep things because we think we should, but we don’t utilize them properly or at all, and they end up causing us anxiety and taking up space that could be better filled by something we love or maybe nothing at all–empty space itself deserves more credit, I think. Imagine looking into your closet and thinking “I love everything in here!” That’s #fuckinggoals or whatever the kids say.

In order to do this, though, you have to be able to say goodbye to things. And in the case of KonMari, that might literally mean saying “goodbye.” Kondo suggests speaking directly to items and thanking them for their service to you in order to let go. Does this seem crazy? Yes. Does it work? YES. I guess Kondo considers stuff to be alive? I would be lying is I said I didn’t feel bad when I knock down a teddy bear, but that’s because it has a face. And yet, when I think about my stuff, especially the stuff I really treasure, I guess I kind of do assign human characteristics to it. Those things that have impacted my life carry their own stories and trigger specific emotions, and really isn’t that all any of us do anyway? We’re just walking, talking stories, after all.

There are a number of things I’ve read about being in the book that I am sure I disagree with (I will wear baggy sweats to bed or out on the town, I do not give two shits, and she can’t convince me I need to wear something “elegant” to bed because I know I’m going to sweat overnight and be a “hotmess” in the morning either way), but I do think Kondo’s heart is in the right place. She wants you to value your things so you can value yourself. Sometimes it’s really tough to love yourself, so you have to start somewhere else, somewhere easier. And it’s really easy to love a shirt.

I’m decluttering to make moving easier, of course, but ultimately I want to shift out all the bullshit in my house because I want to cultivate an environment in which I can thrive. I want to be creative, but I can’t do that around clutter. Messiness makes me anxious, and having access to the things I need lets me jump headfirst into tasks. Kondo promises right in the title that tidying up will change your life. Our big move, surely, will be life-changing, but clearing out all the nonsense will be a nice boost too.

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The Journey

So, I failed. I didn’t get my latest Vacancy post out on Monday, which is a huge personal bummer, but at least I have a good excuse: WE’RE MOVING!

The last week has been a whirlwind. Husband has accepted a job in a new state, we’re resigning from our current jobs, working with a realtor to sell our house, securing an apartment in our future home city, boxing up everything we own, donating what we don’t want, getting some much-needed landscaping done, and trying to do it all in under three weeks so he can start ASAP. (Also there will be cat wrangling. Lord, give me the strength.)

While I did write Vacancy during NaNo, every part needs a handful of edits and some holes filled in before posting (and really it needs much more than that, but to be fair it’s free reading for anyone on the internet so grammatical and continuity errors will exist, and overall it’s not going to be my best and brightest work). I didn’t get to those edits last week, so I didn’t have a post this week. It sucks, it feels like a massive failure, and I’m sad, but it’s a reminder that while I’ve been pretty stoked with how I’ve been planning out and getting writing done in general, I’m far from mastering the planning process. Thankfully I did not see through a post idea for how to make a plan for your blog or novel last week L O FUCKING L.

So I’m planning to get Vacancy out next Monday and fingers crossed I can swing it even with setting up and shutting off utilities and boxing up my life (including the lovely nest I just showed you all) and being overwrought with anxiety about nothing in particular and everything all at once.

But really I’m quite excited for our familial journey. When Husband and I met, I moved in with him right away. We moved from that apartment to a second apartment in Columbus, OH, then we moved above someone’s garage in St Petersburg, FL on a whim with everything we owned including two cats packed into a two door Dodge Stratus, then we moved to an apartment in Tampa, then our first house, then our second house, and we’ve been quite comfy for quite awhile, so it’s probably time for the next great adventure. To be honest, I think we’ve both been getting a little antsy.

So here’s to the adventure, eh? I’m sure loads of fucky things will happen, and congrats because you have a front row seat.

Also, you won’t find out how they get the chandelier back up in Moonlit Shores Manor, but that’s because Lorelei doesn’t see it, and it’s magic anyway, not because I won’t be posting.

I Moved In

My Husband and I met on the internet as many an internet-people do. We went on two dates before I began spending long weekends at his tiny apartment. We were meant to be, you might say. However, the state of that tiny apartment when we met wasn’t saying that. Let me describe it to you.

He slept on what we affectionately came to call the “crack mattress.” I wasn’t particularly well-off for at least half of my childhood, or at least I thought, but I was clearly doing just fine as I’d never known anyone to not have a box spring and a frame under their mattress. Husband had neither. Nor did he have proper sheets. But he did have a down comforter that he never washed until I came along (and subsequently ruined long before I finally convinced him to throw the smelly thing out–who knew you couldn’t launder goose feathers? Also, who, in the modern day, requires an animal be murdered and plucked clean in order to sleep?)

All his shit was strewn around his bedroom. Even the drawers that should have contained the shit that was strewn around were strewn around. He had one real piece of furniture–a scuffed up chest of five drawers–and not a single drawer was in place. It stood, hollowly looking out over its own innards as they recklessly lay about 80% of the bedroom making it basically impossible to cross the room from the crack mattress at its entrance to the closet at its back. But honestly, I found it reassuring that one could not easily cross from bed to closet as that was its own nightmare.

To be fair, the closet wasn’t Husband’s fault. At least, not the architecture. That closet would have existed in its utterly terrifying state regardless of who inhabited the apartment. He certainly didn’t make it better, but it was hard to make it worse (he persevered). Typically we think of closets as shallow rectangles or boxes. This was, instead, a long rectangle that ran insidiously down along the wall with an entryway (the door had long been removed) at one end and a single lightbulb hanging just inside. So you’d step into a small, acceptable, almost normal space, but then if you glanced to the right, the horror of the void would stare back at you. For some reason, the closet was a very narrow, very dark hallway to nowhere. Except maybe Hell.

Husband kept garbage bags full of clothing, mostly and inexplicably Hawaiian shirts, back there. The bags were tied off. I don’t know if they were clean or dirty when they went in. There were all washed when they finally came out.

Additional furniture came in the form of a massive, leather beanbag, an entertainment center that he referred to as a “family heirloom” because his family severely misuses the word, and that is literally all I can remember. The apartment itself wouldn’t have held much more than that anyway. We would acquire a futon months later after the beanbag was unceremoniously used as a litter box.

He knew how to cook one thing, and not well, and had a special appliance (his only appliance save for a microwave that hummed at exactly an F#) just for making it. I was very afraid of eating raw bacon when he eagerly made me a bacon and egg sandwich in this appliance, his coveted sandwich maker, but I did–FOR LOVE. I didn’t do it without complaint, though, and he sites this experience as why he cannot possibly learn to cook now as I permanently ruined his fragile ego.

His bathroom had been cleaned exactly one time, in the interim between the previous apartment’s tenant and himself. It’s important to note that the fixtures were ancient and at one point in our relationship while [redacted] in the shower together, he leaned against the back wall and four of the tiles just crumbled in on one another. The landlord’s fix for this was exactly as you’d imagine.

The apartment itself was next door to the complex’s laundry unit which was kind of convenient if not particularly quiet. It was also a “garden” apartment which is just a fancy way of saying “mostly basement” which meant the only windows were at almost-ceiling height. One evening during a rainstorm when we were watching a pirated movie on Husband’s laptop, our two cats started meowing intensely in the bedroom, we went the two steps into the room to find water somehow gushing in from around the closed window all over the carpeted bedroom and our belongings. By the time it stopped, the carpet was a mushy mess and everything we could salvage was stacked up in the living room/kitchen space.

But this is the place I decided to move into to be with Husband. We lived there for about six months before moving to an only slightly less shitty and slightly more expensive apartment. That place had bedbugs. Still slightly less shitty.