You wouldn’t think it would make that much of a difference. Not til it starts to add up, anyway. And, over time, it does add up. Not for most people, at least, not as much, probably, but for me... well... it’s been quite a while, so the accumulation is a little more expansive than one might normally see over your average lifespan.
You see, everybody has their baggage... but, me, I’ve been carrying around boxes.
A lot of boxes.
I’ve lost quite a few along the way, too... You learn to become detached from things, after a while.
After all, they’re just things.
Next week, I’ll be turning 40. I just did the math, and I figured it out... I’ve moved 44 times since 1979. Yes, that’s right, I said FOURTY-FOUR TIMES. And those are just the moves I can remember. (The years between ’74 and ’80 are admittedly a bit fuzzy, but I know that time period comprises at least 6 of that number that I DO recall.)
I guess you could say my life hasn’t been super stable.
But, I might be getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.
It started with being adopted at a young age (though still significantly past the age of reason). In the few years prior, I’d bounced around “the system” a fair bit. I was a somewhat precocious kid, and I might have had a habit of telling foster parents, “You’re not my mother!” in ways that didn’t earn me any favors. That is to say, I wouldn’t have put it past me to do such a thing. Not sure, exactly, but I do know it happened at least once, and I can’t say it would entirely surprise me to learn that it wasn’t an isolated incident. Though, the pinball effect might just as easily have been due to the extremely f---ed up social services programs of Florida in the 1970s. Or maybe it was informal relocation tactics – semi-official evasive maneuvers to keep me one step out of reach from meddling blood-related predators who might have been trying to track me down at the time. Or who knows what else it could have been. But, whatever it was, it certainly seemed to be setting up a pattern that would continue to trend throughout the next 4 decades. Which is a little sad, really, considering, as well as I’ve come to weather change, I’m actually more the kind of gal who would much prefer to plant my feet somewhere and grow roots.
A free spirit? Me?
Well, maybe, technically, but only by effect of circumstance, and not so much by intent.
Working in Property Management for a number of years took a fair portion of the blame, as I began my adult life. Often times, it was a requirement of my job to live onsite where I worked. This was certainly nicer at times than others. It seemed the higher my rank, the lesser my comfort. Starting out as a business analyst for a database systems upgrade had me lodged snugly in a luxury Class A highrise alongside minor local celebrities like Kevin Garnett (at whom I’m still irritated for breaking my windshield with a water balloon thrown off the 14th floor), among others. A new post as Director of Leasing moved me to a second tier complex... still Class A, technically, but with much less luxury. Through a promotion to Office Manager, I was placed in your standard upper middle-class competitive market rate accommodations... nothing fancy, but a few decent amenities, and certainly nothing to be embarrassed by. My Resident Manager role was in more or less the same level of housing, officially, though more mid-level middle class... a much smaller facility, with
fewer NO real fringe benefits. Stepping up to Property Manager next took me into Section 42... *shudder* ...the less said about that the better. And, by the time I was an Asset Manager, I was in a mid-century slum that reminded me of the Joe Pesci movie, “The Super.” That seemed like a decent enough stopping place for a lateral move within the industry. I bundled together a comprehensive package of the skills I’d picked up over the years, and started consulting for real estate brokers with investment portfolios, thereby (thankfully) disassociating my housing situation from my employment.
Relationships were the next guilty culprit. I’ve have a history of taking up with men whose sense of fiscal responsibility was... let’s call it “challenged.” Twice was enough. But, in my bullheaded dedication to some misplaced sense of loyalty for those two individuals, I lost 12 years of my life, and more than a few living quarters. The first time, I can maybe get away with saying I was young and stupid. That represented a 5-year span, and 7 of the moves that happened during that time period left us scrambling out in the cold as little more than disenfranchised refugees. Once, I landed 38 miles outside of town, in a motel room rented by-the-week with a clandestine bin full of cats snuck in. (At the time, I had 2, he had 3... I think we farmed a few out to other locations, but for a little while there, there were animals, belongings and teenagers scattered amongst kennels, storage lockers and couches all across the Twin Cities.) The second time, I can’t even claim youth as a mitigating personal attribute... I guess I was just still stupid. No, not stupid... crazy. Or whatever other kinder, more euphemistic word people use for wearing blinders placed by some semblance of what stands for romance these days. Funny what thinking you have love on your side will do to your tolerances for intolerable conditions brought about by the actions of your partner, even if you didn't necessarily choose to go along with them . But, as some of us have to learn the hard way, love only weathers the troubles you share if it’s evenly distributed between you. And ours wasn’t. That time I gave up 7 years of my life, 3 homes, a business, a partnership, a family, and a best friend. Most importantly, though, for a while, I'd lost myself.
It’s been a year and a half since. Friends tell me how good it is to finally see me coming out of my shell again. My family has made a point to “thank” my current housemate for the positive influence he’s had on my life. I let them know that's an unfair assessment, and it offends me. I’m tired of people giving credit to the men in my periphery for who I am. I make my own choices, even the dumb ones. I’m my own person, even when I don't seem to be. If they feel a sigh of relief in who they see in me now, that's just me returning to the me I’ve always been. I’m the one who walks in the sun, finally, after more than a decade of darkness. The house elf I keep in my basement has nothing to do with that.
Though, he is good to come to home to.
What’s best about Minion is, he has no impact on how I present myself to the world, or on any part of what makes me tick, nor how I get through my life. He has no influence on my every day functionality, and takes no action that causes me to have to adjust that, other to accept me as I am, and let me be myself, with no requirements of me, which helps me most to be myself, and to appreciate him more. Between us, we understand, this is MY castle, and I am the Queen of it. All the other details we’re sorting out along the way as we come to know each other better, and get a feel for this place, for one another, and the space between us. As I look around, though, there is artwork on the walls, and paint on the tub, and curtains on the windows, and not a single box in storage. It’s been two decades coming, and I can’t say for certain how long it will last, but, for now, I’m going to enjoy it. This is my patch of earth. Here I can be still. I will dig deep, I will photosynthesize, and, finally, I will breathe.
LJ Idol | Season 9 • Week 3 - Topic: IN ANOTHER CASTLE
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