How many things can we say are ours completely? We are told time is borrowed, experiences shared, and even God is collectively “Ours”. This maddened me, I became an insomniac over the thought of never having anything be truly mine again. I had skipped first grade in elementary school and perhaps never learned to share very well. But, I began to have an itch for something that was personal, mine. Something to hold close to my heart and take pride in. I was a magpie, I collected small and beautiful objects and wouldn’t let others in to see, to enjoy, to feel. I believe baking became a characteristic of this growth, this yearn, this gut-want for a sense of accomplishment that came from one’s own and personal doing. It was something i had missed out on before.
“Before” will always a very specific moment in my life and if you could cut me open like a tree, you would see four years of strong growth, knots in my grain, and some rot where self-doubt and jealousy ate at me like termites.
The week between Christmas and New Years is blurry and sits in the small corners of my mind that are usually reserved for insecurities and small, insignificant jokes. They come out at the wrong time, make me feel awkward when I dwell on them too long or when I try to express them to others. That liminal, in-between week meant a 20 hour drive, two hundred and fifty dollars just spent on food. Maybe a hundred in gas. I don’t know, I lost count. I lost count because I was listening to my own voice singing in the car and to the sound of the air conditioner and the tongue stick to the roof of my mouth when I forgot to drink water and just kept talking, talking, talking to fill the inevitable void of asking, “Where are we going?” Because we knew to follow the I-10E for 550 miles, but we didn’t know what to call it all, all those moments that came after the before once the car pulled into the driveway of my new apartment I got for myself. Once we bought the furniture. Once we moved the sofa bed up two my second-floor apartment. Once we had sex and tried to have sex. Once we said goodbye at the departure terminal. Once it all came crashing down at 11:02 on a Friday morning when I was drinking coffee and couldn’t figure out if I wanted to cry or move the bed to the opposite wall.
I want to write about it all, all those moments. To savor them, to cherish them, to try to dissect some more meaning from them and make them seem important to me on more than one level. Like a biblical literalist, I want to extrapolate all the meaning I can from the psalms of his body and his words and each look that meant something and didn’t mean something all at once.
And a large portion of me doesn’t want to talk about it at all. It’s private and I am still figuring it all out. To say, for the first time in four years, “I’m sleeping alone tonight.” isn’t easy, but nothing has been for a very long time.
But I am the magpie I grew to become and I have collected secret, beautiful things and secret, beautiful moments all my life. And I finally got to have them, have them all to myself. And I am proud of this space, this home I created for myself. This studio apartment in San Antonio, Texas. In a portion of the giant, giant state they call Hill Country. On the second floor, across the street from a woman whose bumper sticker says she “Loves Her Midwife”. I am proud to show it off. I am proud to have it as my own, and I am happy to share it with you all today. I took these photos over the course of one day, and I tried to capture the beauty of every moment I had. To cherish it, to appreciate it. To resolve a new sense of self that wasn’t found through any other means but my own, here, in this little apartment of mine.
My New Apartment… (see below for details)
1. Ikea Måla Easel and a silk scarf I picked up in Italy at a flea market | 2. My favorite Birkenstocks (sorry I ever made fun of you, mom) | 3. First editions of Mastering of the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2, lots of glasses, and a cast-iron deer head from Founder’s Crossing in Bedford, PA | 4. Missoni journals, and papers for letter writing (I’ll write to anyone who asks) | 5. Ikea PS 2014 book shelf. Notice all the Joan Didion, Judith Butler, and Simone de Beauvoir | 6. A small figurine my mother got me of a baker, she has confidence in me enough to suggest quitting work and going to culinary school | 7. An old birch box that held coffee once, a handblown vase with dollar-store flowers, and my daily essentials of iPhone and Timex | 8. Breakfast in bed–handmade ceramic mug from Bedford, PA, a Hammond’s cookie dough bar, and some potassium | 9. My favorite place these last few days has been my bed. I’ve had that decal for four years this coming Valentine’s Day | 10. I’m a little Lodge-obsessed in my kitchen