13 April 2011

My Gypsy Soul

I'm moving again, 15 times in 23 years. This will be my 16th move since I left my parents house.

Every move I've made except one has been an upgrade, about living well on a budget; about experiencing more than one perspective and not getting too attached to anything; about realizing and accepting where ever I am, there I am; about not being responsible for one piece of earth, but immersing myself in the beautiful parts of it.

I've lived at antithetical spectrums of comfort, and I know for certain, I am capable of happiness or escape. Home is whereever my love has air to float and silence enough to illuminate my smallness.

Not all of my moves were centered around peace, but progressively they lead to it.

In college of course I had a different address every year, first the dorm, then the Towers, then to Oakland, and then Greentree. The first time I lived alone, evaluating empty space, hearing the beauty of planned silence, was Bridgeville. Alone felt right.

I left blizzards and break-ups for sunshine and solitude. In my post graduate school move from Pittsburgh to Summerville, I lived with my sister, then on my own so briefly before I opted for the rent free relationship with George in Mt. Pleasant.

George and I moved into the condo in West Ashley before Abbey was born.
Her birth prompted the move to the pink house, lasting 3 years.

Then the New Jersey debacle, Hopewell, lasting only 1 month, while 8 months pregnant with Jake, without question the move that altered my perception more than any other single living situation. 3000 square feet of a Norman Rockwell painting on an eclectic street near the swanky town of Princeton and the least happy I've ever been in my adult life.

I felt enormous, bloated, trapped, hollow, desperate, and alone. Not the alone of my youth, but an alone in my bones, my muscles, my veins. I was sharing my space with Jake, and I was suffocating from the weight of the New Jersey winter air. Nine months pregnant, I chose homelessness and left as quickly as I arrived. I felt no shame, no need for explanations. My dreamy New Jersey home was every lie I ever told, the turning point, the collapse.

Returning to Charleston, I sought pity from my sister, again. Abbey and I stayed in her spare room just before Jake was born.

Next we tried and failed at owning a precious red brick cottage in Byrnes Downs. Leaving there, in a big freedom move, I landed at the beach, a condo on an island.

In a groundwork laying situation for the cataclysmic events that were to become my next experience I moved back to the neighborhood with the pink house. We chose a little yellow bungalow on the lake. While in the post death fog, I set the kitchen on fire in that house. The landlord thought it might be best if we didn't continue our relationship. I was only there for 10 months, and I brought ghosts.

Not without realizing the lake move was by divine design, I surrendered and let fate carry my J. Crew Peace bag back to the beach, a condo on a secluded little island on the river with a dock and a pool. Three years in paradise, I called it our healing place, but even there we moved. I started on the marsh side, but within a year I moved across the street to the deep water side in a deal that actually saved me money.

Change and movement, far from frightening, keep me in a place of faith. I don't try to hold on so tight anymore.

It's time to move again. Abbey knows it. The owner wants to sell. I've been working on my temporary PhD. in the rental market. And we waited patiently for alignment, the rush of fortune and certainty. Everybody expresses what features are important to them, a pool, a neighborhood, a view, our friends.

The condo at the edge of the river, 3 blocks from the beach, with a pool and a dock, for yes, less money, will do. I sometimes think I'm a criminal. I must be a con artist or maybe a sorceress. I'd rather the magic than the manipulation.

Abbey surged with excitement as she reduced her possessions for the move. Purging is part of the addiction. Moving this often requires a minimalism and detachment, selling anything of value and converting it to something ideal for our new space.

It's fresh, an extra spring day, an extra morning hour, one more view, no homework, an empty bag, and an insatiable appetite for what's next.

I won't have the last box unpacked in my new place before my curiosity searches for what might have been.

The universe has opened up for me, again. I'm trading the sunrise from my bedroom balcony, for the sunset from my living room deck. I'm trading an island trail, for the entire beach. I'm trading river and marsh, for river and ocean. And my friends, the Spahrs, will be 2 blocks away.