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Thirsty Camel, Fresh Out of Straws


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
This post has been brought to you by an association with the online writing community forum, LJ Idol.
If you have enjoyed this entry, please feel free to speak your piece, share the love, and pass it on...
                                                                                                               ...and thanks for stopping by.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 1st, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)
Awww. This sure explains why we haven't seen much of you since Season 8 finished.

I'm glad you're back-- to us, but more importantly, to yourself.

And thinking of you being shuttled around as a child is just heartbreaking. You came out of it an amazing person, but despite those challenges, not because of them. You did and do deserve much better. *hugs*
Apr. 1st, 2014 01:20 am (UTC)
Actually, I've never really written much of anything in my journal besides Idol. I probably should, because writing brings me my greatest creative pleasure, and it is sometimes fun and occasionally cathartic to tell the stories of my life, but Idol is the only thing that has ever given me the discipline to make myself sit down and do it. But, it's good to be back, it's great to be among friends, and it's best to be writing again. Thanks for reading!
Apr. 1st, 2014 01:48 am (UTC)
I like it!
Apr. 1st, 2014 01:50 am (UTC)
:-P Of course you do... that's your job! ;)
Apr. 1st, 2014 12:20 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're coming out of your shell. It does sound so very annoying to have people give the credit to people who aren't actually you, though! :/
Apr. 1st, 2014 01:33 pm (UTC)
You said it! Thanks for reading.
Apr. 1st, 2014 02:59 pm (UTC)
I loved learning so much in this entry. I could relate to some of it too!
Apr. 1st, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
Well, thanks for reading... I don't think I intended it to have any educational value, but I'm glad it hit you well, and I'm not sure if I should apologize or congratulate you for being able to relate, but, whatever works!
Apr. 3rd, 2014 12:43 am (UTC)
Good for you. May your true self shine on.
Apr. 3rd, 2014 05:31 am (UTC)
Thanks. It feels good. And I plan for it to.
Apr. 3rd, 2014 12:45 am (UTC)
Wow... all that moving. I hear you about all the boxes!

I am glad that you are feeling more settled, finding yourself.

I moved a lot in my teens/20s, but now I average around 2 years per place I live.
Apr. 3rd, 2014 05:30 am (UTC)
I've never lived anywhere longer than 5 years. Maybe in another 6 or so I can say I've changed that. (*fingers crossed*) Maybe I've just had ridiculously long teens/20s! ;) Thanks for reading.
Apr. 3rd, 2014 02:53 am (UTC)
Moving is hard and I hate it and try to avoid it even when it would be helpful. 44 moves in 40 years is just unthinkable to me, though I know it does happen (especially to kids in out of home care).
Apr. 3rd, 2014 05:32 am (UTC)
To be perfectly honest, it's pretty unthinkable to me, too... I was pretty much blown away by the numbers. (I actually created a spreadsheet to sort it all out, cause I'm just THAT anal.)

Thanks for reading!

Edited at 2014-04-03 01:18 pm (UTC)
Apr. 3rd, 2014 05:05 am (UTC)
Cheers! to that..finally being yourself..may things turn better as you dwell and grow in your own castle...:)
Apr. 3rd, 2014 05:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'll drink to that!
Apr. 3rd, 2014 09:38 am (UTC)
44 times is amazing! I hate that I've only moved twice so far D8
Apr. 3rd, 2014 01:11 pm (UTC)
Heheh... the grass in the other castle, eh? Nice! I hate that I've never really been out of the country (I say Canada doesn't count), so I get where you're coming from! (Though, I have been to all but 6 states.)

Thanks for reading!

Edited at 2014-04-03 01:19 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - witches - Apr. 4th, 2014 12:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 3rd, 2014 09:40 am (UTC)
Well, the early part of my life was nowhere near as... eventful... as yours, and my number of residences is not even close to yours, but I understand how it is not to live in the same place. And it was never by my choice--a family with wanderlust, financial issues, work, etc. For a long time, I never owned more than four or five boxes of stuff, just in case.

Not moving... now that's scary.
Apr. 3rd, 2014 01:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, I TOTALLY feel ya there... yeah, like I say, you eventually become completely disconnected from any major attachment to this couch, or that armoire... after a while, it's surprising what you feel you can get by without. And, as much as I would like a bit more stability than I've had, I do figure, even if I wasn't actually MOVING, I'd still have to find some way to keep moving, if that makes sense.

Thanks for reading!
Apr. 3rd, 2014 10:20 am (UTC)
I've had people in my life always praising the men in my life when I did something good and diminishing me when I did something bad. I also felt offended by it. But no matter what people believe, I have to agree with you, we are who we are and it's not for them to decide. It's nice to see you're doing good. And I'm convinced you're doing it on your own.
Apr. 3rd, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I’m sure that just getting the stillness to settle my heart and nerves after breaking away is the greatest factor in me being able to return to who I am, and that didn’t happen overnight, but, there are certainly people in my life I would have to thank for helping to provide that stillness, including the very good friend who took me in and let me stay with her when I didn’t have anywhere else to go, as well as the emotional support of my family and community, so, I can’t really say I did it entirely on my own.

My main contention, though, was with the assignment of characteristics that are a direct reflection of my personality to the addition of someone else in my life… that I take issue with, obviously.

I find that it’s only after you’re comfortable with yourself that someone who compliments you comes along, not the other way around. I was comfortable with myself when my last long term housemate showed up in my life, but he strung me up so tight he twisted me in knots that made me almost unrecognizable, and after he let go, it still took a while to undo the mess. The sigh of relief is that once again, through the passing of time, I’ve loosened up enough to feel my own sense of freedom, and it was only once I got there that someone else stepped in. And this time, I’m not going to let myself be pushed into changing who I am. Cause I like me, just the way I am.

Thanks for reading!
(no subject) - crazypuce - Apr. 3rd, 2014 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Apr. 3rd, 2014 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 3rd, 2014 10:45 am (UTC)
If the castle makes you happy -- I hope the castle lasts as long as possible! Happy photosynthesis :) Really loved reading it!
Apr. 3rd, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! :)
Apr. 3rd, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
You've definitely been toughened up in ways you shouldn't have to be. So glad you're finding a place (and people!) where you're finding comfort and belonging.
Apr. 3rd, 2014 01:48 pm (UTC)
That’s what it’s all about, ain’t it? It’s good to be tough, though, as long as we can remember to maintain a soft center, which is in and of itself a life lesson to be learned. (I say to one tough, but not hardened gal I’m sure knows plenty well. ) Thanks!
Apr. 3rd, 2014 07:01 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you've gotten the place you want to belong now. :)
Apr. 3rd, 2014 07:16 pm (UTC)
Me too! Thanks much!
(no subject) - jem0000000 - Apr. 4th, 2014 09:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 3rd, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Kevin Garnett is a minor local celeb? Seems pretty famous to me.

Glad to hear you are doing well...I would NEVER think of you as anything other than the queen of whatever castle you are hanging your hat in.
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )


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