I’m now officially moved into my little flat. Although all of my things are here, it still doesn’t quite feel like home yet.
I did not want to leave my house on the other side of town. I loved that place. I’d worked so hard to make that house a home, and I was very settled there. When I’m going through a tough time I have a tendency to retreat into my shell. I’m a real homebody and my home is my sanctuary. The thought of leaving the house that was so familiar and comfortable was almost too much to bear.
Not to mention the fact that that house was the home that I’d shared with Ross. Living there after he left me was a double-edged sword. On the one hand it was incredibly difficult. Every nook and cranny of the place reminded me of him. There were memories seeped into the very walls, and sometimes it felt as though I was living in a haunted house. There was actually one particularly low night when I contemplated trashing the place, so angry was I at the demise of my treasured relationship. On the other hand, living in the house made me feel somehow closer to Ross. Even though he wasn’t physically there, most of his things were. When I missed him I could go to the closet, open it and inhale the scent of his shirts. I could go and sit in the room where he keeps his comic books and just soak in the him-ness of the place. I feel a bit pathetic admitting to that, but it’s the truth.
So you can see why leaving was so very difficult. I had taken such pains to make that place a home, and when I’d moved in it was with the intention that I would live there for many, many years. It was heartbreaking to have to dismantle the sanctuary I’d build for Ross and I, knowing that I was heading out into the world on my own.
This week has marked a lot of firsts for me. This was the first time I’ve ever moved to a new place without Ross helping to settle me in. Each time I’ve travelled to a new home, whether it was to my new college room or the share house I lived in, it was Ross’s car that took me there. This also marks the first time that I’ve lived entirely on my own. I’ve always lived with family, or housemates or Ross. It’s daunting to live completely on your own, but it’s a bit exciting too.
For the first few days I was on a complete high. The idea of being able to set up my new flat exactly how I wanted was intoxicating. I let my imagination run wild. In a fit of inspiration, I leaped out of bed at two in the morning on my first night here to shift the furniture in my bedroom. I loved the fact that I could do that without any fear of waking anyone up, or upsetting anybody. I didn’t have to check with anyone before I claimed a cupboard or drawer. I could burn candles and incense whenever I liked. At mealtimes I was free to choose any new recipe I dared to try. I set the table with my best china and drank $4 wine out of the crystal goblets I got for my 21st. I was like a little kid who had been left alone in the house while her parents were away for the evening. There was a pure, childish joy in being alone. My introverted, homebody self was in heaven.
But on the fourth day it came crashing down around me. The novelty wore off and I was hit by a wave of homesickness and longing for Ross. The idea of being alone, all by myself for weeks, months or years was so overwhelming. The indefinite number of solo nights stretched out before me like a desert, and I had a massive panic attack while curled up on the floor of my perfectly-decorated lounge room.
When I calmed down, I realised that things aren’t that bad. Sure, I’m going to be alone a lot more than I’m used to. But I can handle that. As I mentioned before, I’m a pretty introverted person and I like my own company. This experience will strengthen me and give me a chance to explore some of my interests. I can indulge my whims and revel in being selfish for a while. I don’t have to answer to anybody, and I can just focus on healing myself and doing the things that make me feel good. This seems like a perfect opportunity to build a better relationship with myself. Best of all, there’s no need to be lonely. I’ve got my family just around the corner, and my friends are just a phone call away. I’m going to have to reconnect with some people that I’ve neglected, and foster my precious friendships. But I’ll find a way to make this work. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to do this. Eventually, I just might love living alone.