I moved three weeks ago, and as of right now, I have only one unpacked box. Before today, at least half a dozen boxes still sat in our living room, backed up against the sun room wall with the boxed-in dining room table. When I moved, I immediately ran out of storage space in my bedroom, but even more so in my bathroom. So on Friday, I bought a boxed set of shelves at Target.
Back in 2008, when Christina from college and I moved in together, she and I built a similar bathroom storage unit — just the two of us. We’d been pretty proud of ourselves because we hadn’t needed to ask either of our boyfriends for help, and the thing turned out looking like it was supposed to. I knew deep down, however, that I’d played second banana in that project, and had with every similar one since. Kevin took the lead in building all of our IKEA purchases, and even helped me build my bed shortly after we broke up and he moved out.
I woke up this morning from a stress dream about this set of bathroom shelves and briefly, hazily, considered asking for Kevin’s help. I woke up a little more and shook the thought out of my head. I was on my own for the shelves and I knew it.
My roommate and I went out to brunch this morning, with her visiting friend (and former roommate, whose place I took in the apartment). Afterward I had the place to myself for a bit. I resigned myself to the task of putting together the shelves, since no one would be around to hear me swearing.
First of all, whatever possesses us to keep buying furniture we have to build ourselves? Does IKEA have some kind of lingering chemical in their products that leads us to forget what a pain in the ass the thing was to construct in the first place, allowing us to buy more later as needed?
That said, the Target shelves, while similar to IKEA’s, were much easier to build than I thought they’d be. I only messed up once and ended up screwing two tiny holes in the wrong end of one shelf, but it’s the bottom one and no one’s going to see it. I sat back and marveled at my own handiwork.
I built these shelves all on my own, and they are mine.
It’s a small victory maybe, but to me, it’s one more sign that I’m moving forward in my life. Moving out of my old place has had an extremely positive effect on me. I don’t think I realized how trapped I was in the old apartment — the memories it held weren’t always in the forefront of my mind, but they were present all the same. I lived in that one-bedroom apartment Kevin and I shared for six more months after he left it. I went a little nuts, but I didn’t know it until I was out of there.
Now I live in a bright, sunshine-yellow room and share an apartment with a lovely, kind person and I can’t explain to you how much better I feel for it.
It also helps that I’ve been insanely busy for all of August. In the last three weeks, I have:
- Seen Jenny Lewis live with Stef
- Enjoyed a visit from Rachel and Ryan, which included a trip to the Field, dinner at Crisp, lunch at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Portillo’s, and a trip to Eataly
- Joined Christina’s writers group
- Gone to two live lit shows
- Saw Shakespeare in the park with Travis, Alex, Becky, Andrew, and Leigh
- Grabbed Giordano’s downtown with my aunt, cousin, and cousin’s friend
- Attended a fancy pop-up dinner with Laura in support of the upcoming opening of a new cider bar in North Center
- Grabbed dinner and a show with Jaimi
- Met with the folks behind the webseries I’m writing for
- Took two Pilates classes with Becca and Stef
- Went to parties at Travis and Andrew’s as well as Kate and Erin’s
- Had brunch with awesome women including Hillary, Anne, Katie, Sarah, Adele, and Sonya
This week I’m lucky enough to see more live lit, go to book club, and take part in Christina’s writers group again.
My summer has been filled to the brim with quality time with women I admire and feel great being around. There are still so many more of them I haven’t seen enough of this summer and I look forward to fixing that. I’ve been keeping myself busy and full and happy, and I find myself so encouraged and inspired by the people around me. I’ve been writing more in recent weeks than I did most of last year, and I’m proud of what I have to show for it.
This time last year, Kevin and I were living together and we’d just gotten back from Colorado. We’d visited my college friends Doug and Chandra and their four-month-old daughter. I watched Kevin get along so well with my married friends, and I saw how good he was with their little girl. I came back from that trip thinking maybe he was coming around to the idea of a long-term future with me, and a day later he told me that being there made him more sure he wasn’t ready for any of it.
It was honest, and it hurt.
That was also the same time that, after months of job searching, I got hired for my dream job at a newspaper — only to have it fold days later and for them to have to retract their offer. It was a rough patch, to say the least.
Some days I feel like I’ve fallen backwards and I miss the way my life used to be. But now I have a job I love, and I don’t spend any time worrying that my boyfriend will never propose.
These days I’m afraid to date anyone longer than a month, because I can’t wrap my brain around letting myself feel too seriously about anyone again. My Single Summer has been rewarding in so many ways, but it’s also meant I don’t feel hurt anymore.
It’s been a good summer, though. That much is true.